I’m not afraid to admit it – I like being in control.
In case you didn’t know already, though, recent events have revealed that if there’s one thing we DON’T have in this life, it’s total control.
Global pandemics, natural disasters, and unexpected tragedies have a way of reminding us of this fact. The truth is, we were never in control to begin with. Even when we felt like we were, and everything was going to plan, there was always the chance that something outside of our control could come and turn it all upside down.
Nothing is guaranteed.
For many people, feeling powerless can be a trigger that leads us to seek control of our bodies by restricting calories or participating in some other forms of disordered eating.
Having some sense of agency in your life is essential to your mental health and wellbeing. During times like these, when our lack of control becomes more obvious to us, it’s important to remember the things we do have power over, so we don’t reach for control in ways that are harmful to ourselves or to others.
We can make sure we’re making good use of our control by 1.) recognizing the limitations of it and 2.) exercising it in small, healthy ways.
To emphasize the fact that you probably have a lot more control over your life than you may realize, here’s a list of 50 things you (generally) can control, other than your diet:
Your Mental and Physical Health
1. What time you go to bed
2. What time you wake up
3. How much water you drink
4. Which vitamins you take
5. How much exercise you get per day, and what you do to exercise
6. How much effort you put into preparing your meals
7. How much time you spend scrolling through social media
8. Which accounts you follow on social media
9. How often you reach out to friends to catch up with them or to see how they’re doing
10. How you show kindness toward your roommates
11. How you show your family you love them
12. What you do to take care of your pets
13. How much time you spend video chatting or talking on the phone
Your Faith, Spirituality, and Relationship with God
14. How often you pray and meditate
15. The disposition of your heart and mind throughout the day
16. The level of intentionality you bring into your day
17. How you practice gratitude
18. Which parts of your life you give God access to
19. How often you read Scripture and other spiritual books
20. How you practice humility, patience, and self-control
Gaining Knowledge and Learning New Skills
21. Which books you read
22. Which blogs you subscribe to
23. Which podcasts you listen to
24. Which videos you watch
25. How much time you spend learning to play an instrument
26. How much time you spend developing your cooking skills
27. Which new hobbies you adopt
Your Career and Professional Life
28. How you spend your time during the workday
29. How you treat your coworkers
30. What steps you take to achieve your professional goals
31. How much time you spend working on your side hustle
32. How you manage your time and tasks
Contributing to Your Community
33. What you do to help a neighbor in need
34. How you use your money to help others
35. Which of your natural gifts and talents you use to make the world a better place
36. Which stores and restaurants you buy from
37. How much time you spend doing things for other people
38. How you choose to unwind and relax at the end of the day
39. What you do to take care of yourself
40. How you spend your weekends or days off from work
41. How much time you spend journaling
42. What you incorporate into your morning ritual
43. What you do before you go to bed
44. How you create joy in your day
45. How often you water your plants
46. Whether or not you make your bed
47. How often you do laundry
48. What you do to keep your space clean
49. What art you make and/or display around your house
50. How much time you spend outside (at a safe social distance)
There are always going to be things outside of our control, no matter how much effort we put into trying to control the things we can. I hope at least one thing on this long list helps you feel a little more put-together today.
In times of uncertainty, I understand the temptation to turn inward and attempt to control your own body – especially since we live in a culture that worships thinness. But doing this will only take away your control even further.
Ultimately, you can make peace with your own limitations by being a good steward of the gifts you’ve been given and surrendering everything else, trusting that you are in good hands.