It's been a heck of month or, really, a year. After what we thought was a rough 2019, 2020 came in like nothing we've ever seen before. So when I stumbled across "I Am In Control Day" on a list of monthly holidays, I was intrigued. I've felt absolutely out of control for the last few weeks.
I'm a control freak, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm an Enneagram 8. I was labeled "assertive and aggressive under stress" by a personality test. I know it, I own it and I use it to my advantage.
But lately, I've felt completely out of control. So, today, March 30, on "I Am In Control Day," I am reclaiming my control.
Yup, this day is real. Here's the back story. After President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981, there was, understandably, chaos. And at some point during that chaos Secretary of State Alexander Haig said (among several other things) "I am in control here.” That statement was remembered and has led us to today's holiday.
Need some control back in your life? Here are a few ways you can take control back in this crazy, unpredictable life of constant unknowns.
Control what you say. Words are powerful, so as you are looking to control your environment, particularly in this season, choose them carefully. Techniques like counting to ten before answering the 72nd time your toddler asks you "Why?" are pretty useful. You can't take your words back, so control them from the start.
Control what you observe. In the world of 24/7 news and constant updates on everything, create some ground rules on what you want to know, see and hear. Do you really need to watch every press conference about the coronavirus? Is your time best spent following the news on twitter? Probably not.
Control what you eat. Just say “no” to the corona-15. This isn’t about dieting. This is about being in charge. Placing parameters on what you eat can help you regain control in other areas of your life. Often, controlling your diet can help everything else fall into place. Have you ever wondered why it is that when you start eating better, you have the desire to exercise more? Try it.
Control what you get upset about … and for how long. This season is stressful. Your PCS may be suddenly up in the air, your spouse may be months late coming home from deployment and your children may have started summer break three months too early. But you don't have to spend weeks commiserating over that. Set a timer, be upset and then move on. You don't have to get over it, but you do have to move on to the next task and, as they say in Frozen 2, do the next right thing.
So today, March 30, 2020, I encourage you to claim control over your day. Let's celebrate all week. What are you going to take control of?
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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.