Best Year Yet, Lesson 4: Find Calm

We all have times when life happens, dynamics change, stress increases, and the universe feels like a whirl-wind of wacky.



Cross country move? New job? New city? New relationship?


I remember when I started the practicum section of my grad school.

I wrote this at that time: This means that in addition to all the other things I do, I also work for free as a counselor a few days a week to fulfill graduation requirements.

And actually, I am not complaining about this at all. Two weeks in, I am confident that it is an insanely invaluable experience that will cause a ton of personal and professional growth. Right now I love the clinic I’m in, the peers I’m going through the process with and supervisor that I have. Like… I really love it.

But two weeks ago all I could think about was that I already had a super full, busy life without adding this new element.

Day one I knew that it was time to adjust.

Here are 5 little steps proven effective in my life to keeping you from becoming batty when a major change comes your way.


1. Shift Your Perception

My graduate program has not continually been time-consuming, and that is currently changing. It will take a lot of my time from here on out. Instead of resenting that and being like “OMG it took so long to get here and now I am SO busy,” I’ve decided to look at is as something that will contribute to my career and ability in ways that are hard to even imagine… and for this, I am über grateful.


Any shift toward positive, appreciative, accepting, and loving will always serve you well. 


2. Shift Your Focus

If you do not identify what is most important, you will inevitably sacrifice it for things that are less important.

I decided that not every single thing that was currently getting my attention could continue getting my attention. This required a shift in focus. I decided not to focus on the consulting side of the business right now. I can work with a few people, but it is not the time to promote that side of things or search for new clients. Come summer, I can re-evaluate. As I move into internships and toward graduation, I can keep re-evaluating. I decided that in addition to practicum, the blog should continue to be a priority because A. it’s growing like whoa right now and B. it is my creative outlet and means so much to me. It is important to me to know I am contributing something to the world. I get a lot of fulfillment here.


3. Self Care

Without self-care you will go bananas and not be able to do the things you are focused on quite as well. Balance is key. For me this week this has meant a lot of yoga, a really late and silly girls’ night out, a long run, a mani-pedi, eating really well, and a lot of prayer and meditation.

You have to take care of you. What ever makes you calm, relaxed, and thankful for the life you have will get you through seasons of major change and major stress.

Now of course, my mind wanted to tell me that I didn’t have time to get a mani-pedi or go to yoga before practicum everyday . . . but as I do these things, I find I have more time. Which brings me to. . .


4. One by One

I know it seems like opposite day, but the less I rush and the more I relax, the more time I have. When I am frantic, rushed, and pissed the hell off at everyone slowing me down, the days fly by and nothing is done, but as I’m positive, thankful, calm and complete tasks one by one it seems as though I get everything done with time to spare. It never fails to shock me, but it always works.


5. Goal Set

Once you are calm and thankful, realize new seasons in life make way for new goals and accomplishments.

My very smart boyfriend and I were discussing goals last night. He is getting a PhD in motivation and performance, basically (by that I mean industrial and organizational psychology) and was explaining that goal-setting:  A. leads to greater effort B. directs effort and attention C. positively effects levels of persistence and D. causes you to seek the assistance and knowledge needed to accomplish the goal. Sometimes talking to him is like having a debate in class (which is how we met, by the way) but it got me thinking that I need to add to my resolutions and intentions for the year now that I’ve had a change in focus. To read a little more about goals click here.

Also, as your business, education, career and relationships grow, you are going to find yourself accomplishing goals. It’s only February, but I am close to my goal of blog hits per month for the year, so I’ve decided to go ahead and increase that number. #wootwoot



I feel compelled to add that, it’s important to let yourself feel crazy for a minute sometimes. Even during the midst of taking care of yourself and doing what you know to do, there will inevitably be moments of feeling bananas. That’s okay. Get alone. Take a walk, cry, scream, punch a pillow… whatever. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes. We all do. Sit with the feelings, experience them, and accept them. Do not judge them as good or bad, right or wrong. It is just the way you feel and that’s fine. Tell yourself you are sorry you feel bad. Breath deeply in and out until you feel yourself relax. Let it go.

Life is hard sometimes, but you can do it. :)


Here’s to taking on new challenges with confidence and grace.




Amanda Frances

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