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  • Larry Deavers, LICSW

Taking Control Through Structure

In this time of so much uncertainty, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, defeated and anxious. Left to our human tendencies, we typically focus on the worst-case-scenario and our minds can begin dwelling on what is beyond our control to the point of exhaustion. When we feel this sense of helplessness, we can give into allowing our emotions to dictate our thoughts and actions. When we give into this, it most often results in our actions being dictated by how we feel at a given moment, which starts us on a downward spiral of feeling out of control.


One of the most challenging aspects of the COVID-19 crisis is the chaos it has brought to our normal daily routines. One important way of getting a handle on your emotions and sense of control is by creating structure in each day. By implementing routines to help manage your activities, you can make them more manageable and accomplishing those tasks are more easily done on your terms. You are better able to take on your challenges at your own pace by taking the initiative to anticipate what’s coming next and plan for it, rather than procrastinate, ignore it and feel victimized by it. Establishing structure empowers you to set the time, the circumstances and the attitude to face unpleasant activities more confidently.


By incorporating many of your daily activities into routines, you are able to make better choices and more easily face any challenges that occur. Routines help you focus on what you need to accomplish and minimize distractions, such as distracting thoughts, self-defeating actions and mental or emotional barriers. Specifically, a routine helps eliminate the “But, I don’t feel like it!” argument we sometimes have with ourselves.

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