In the Midst of Chaos, Put FIRST Things First

A supplement to an article titled “In the Midst of Chaos, Put First Things First ” published in the July/August edition of OfficePro magazine, written by Dr. Sonia M. Alvarez-Robinson.

When you find yourself in a chaotic situation at work or at home, try these 5 strategies first: 

  1. Find Your Locus of Control
  2. Investigate Your Fears
  3. Reprogram Defeatist Thinking
  4. Seek Healthy Support 
  5. Take Time for Self-Care

Find your locus of control

  • Discern what is within your control, what you have partial control over, and where you have little or no control
  • Release yourself from things outside of your control – let them go
  • Choose how best to respond and put a plan in motion to act when the time is right

Investigate your fear

  • Distinguish between fear that is imagined and danger that is real
  • Acknowledge and address fear that is based on “awfulizing” 
  • Use focused breathing and meditation to calm the fear-center of your brain

Reprogram defeatist thinking

  • Remind yourself what you are good at, proud of, and optimistic about
  • Jot down positive reflections of your day, of yourself, and your aspirations each day
  • Gently quiet negative voices so you can hear messages that build confidence and positivity 

Seek healthy support

  • Don’t get distracted by the illusion of social media – follows and likes do not equate to healthy support
  • Have a few key relationships with people you trust who can give you the support, affirmation, and guidance to grow through a chaotic situation
  • Find a select few coworkers who you consider your “tribe”

Take time for self-care

  • Make sure that your physical, emotional, and spiritual battery is charged enough to power you through the challenge
  • Take time to focus on your wellness in the ways that fit best with your life
  • Stocking healthy snacks, taking 10-minute outdoor break, starting the day with a 20-minute yoga routine, spending lunch time dancing to your favorite music, and letting yourself sleep in on the weekends are just a few examples of self-care you can implement today 


OfficePro Magazine is an award-winning publication from IAAP. Each issue is filled with useful content, special offers, and association information.

About the author: Dr. Sonia Alvarez-Robinson is a consultant, coach, and educator in Atlanta Georgia.  She has dedicated her life’s work to building resilient individuals and organizations. For more information visit

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