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Calming the Chaos

Calming the Chaos is a podcast by Licensed Mental Health Counselor Tracy Kenela. She uses profound and often humorous stories from her own life to illustrate how chaos can show up, and how emotional it can be! Anxiety, depression, fear, worry, shame and overwhelm can be managed using a variety of simple tools, skills and techniques. Tracy uses her experience as a counselor and her own personal work to provide you with hope…as well as some simple coping techniques, support and encouragement... that will help you move toward a more peaceful and enjoyable life.

May 3, 2020

Episode Title: “The Gift of Time” Interview with Julie McInnis, LMHC of Chrysalis Counseling Services

Intro: Julie McInnis is the founder of Chrysalis Counseling Services and works with clients who have trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), and also does clinical Supervision for new Counselors.

We’ll listen as Julie talks about how the COVID-19 Quarantine has affected her and her counseling practice, and find out how she, as a psychotherapist, copes with the chaos of adjusting to a new way of life, both personally and professionally.

1. How are you doing therapy sessions in The COVID-19 Quarantine?

  • Telehealth sessions in her kitchen / dining room
  • Visiting her office to clean and water plants. “I miss my office!”
  • Tip: Julie keeps the image of “The Chrysalis” in her mind: A Chrysalis is the holding environment for a butterfly, and is a place of transition. She is holding space right now for growth, while keeping a vision of what is to come, and what is new. So the image of the Chrysalis is much like the world we live in now!
  • TIP: Thinking of The COVID-19 Quarantine as a blessing, “The Gift of Time” as an opportunity to do self-care, to hold, and to grow. “Things are happening in the Chrysalis,” and “It may take some time,” and “I hold a vision of growth and what is new.” (Very optimistic reframing!)


2. Story #1: A positive experience during the new world of COVID-19 can help create positive emotions, which can calm the chaos in your mind.

  • Giving to strangers in need can create compassion and “being human,” or “re-discovering your humanity.” It can also give you some appreciation for what you have.
  • Taking action where you can, and connecting with your humanity can help you feel better…even when you are tired or grumpy.
  • Calming the Chaos Tip: Remember to use what you have (like maybe use oak leaves for toilet paper?)


3. Story #2: A “not so positive” experience during the new world of COVID-19 can help you become aware of important information about yourself and your world, and help you make adjustments to calm the chaos in your mind.


a. When there are new processes and procedures (such as the ones at the grocery stores) because of COVID-19, you may encounter the following:

  • Being told what to do by management or other customers
  • Feeling like a child
  • Needing to learn new rules and processes
  • Having to make decisions quickly (so you can move out of the way of others)
  • Being publicly shamed, or told that you aren’t moving fast enough
  • Feeling panic
  • Feeling disempowered
  • Doing something new that results in a physical injury (Julie injured her shoulder)
  • Not having access to medical providers that are “non-essential.”


b. Bottom line: more physical and emotional pain or chaos can happen in the process of adjusting to new procedures in the world.


4. Here are some ways to use “The Gift of Time” to Calm the Chaos during The COVID-19 Quarantine:


  • Practicing humility in the midst of new processes and procedures
  • Becoming aware of the times where you can stand in your own power when following new rules, processes and procedures in the world
  • Encouraging yourself through making decisions from an empowered place
  • Sharing strife with others
  • Acknowledging emotions and talking through them with trusted friends, family members and colleagues
  • Practicing mindful awareness (a balance between being overly careful and careless) especially when negative thinking gets higher due to the “collective angst” that is present in the world today
  • Considering any adjustments as opportunities to shift and change your thinking using reframing (for example, “I’m safe at home” as opposed to “I’m stuck at home”)
  • Viewing the glass (or the coffee cup!) as half full, as opposed to half empty
  • Appreciate your own privilege
  • Noticing “Negative Biases” and understanding that our brains are primed for the worst
  • Noticing your emotions and being okay with them when they show up
  • Meet others…and yourself….where you are at
  • Focusing on what you CAN do
  • Make a list of the ways YOU cope during COVID-19


5. Here is Julie’s List of ways of Calming the Chaos during The COVID-19 Quarantine:


  • It’s okay to break the rules
  • It’s good to have a structured routine that is also flexible
  • Find ways to accept reality and yet be encouraging
  • Meet and accept emotions when they arrive, and notice any resistance you have to doing this
  • Try Yoga…when other people tell you what to do, it can take the decision-making pressure away
  • Try mindful walking (notice the colors, birds and other sounds, smells outside)
  • Learn to Meditate…and try it with a friend!
  • Maintain connections with friends, family and colleagues
  • Enjoy eating without shame
  • Accept the self-care method(s) that are right for you


Julie has a positive view of the “Post-COVID-19 Quarantine” that includes:

  1. Restructuring her schedule so that she’s not on the road as much
  2. Using the time not spent traveling to help more people
  3. Giving to others – sharing with others
  4. Helping others
  5. Telehealth some of the time, but enjoying being helpful in person
  6. Valuing her self-care, her time, her family of choice, her clients and her colleagues


Thank you Julie, for sharing your knowledge with us!


Listen to “Calming the Chaos” Podcast by visiting, or visit my Website: at

On my website, there’s a link to a mindfulness CD I created called “On This Day.” This CD teaches you how to practice mindfulness in less than 10 minutes throughout the day. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and increase clear thinking in times of chaos.

You can purchase the CD on Amazon at or in digital format at


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Thanks for listening, and take care!