Pretty much everyone on the planet is dealing with uncertainty right now. And while it’s for a pretty awful reason (the coronavirus pandemic) there is something comforting about the fact that we’re all in it together. I’ve seen a lot of ways humans are connecting with one another through their phone or laptop screens and it’s heartwarming.
It doesn’t take away from the fear however. The fear of uncertainty. How long will this continue? What will happen after? How will our lives change?
So today I thought I’d put together some ways we can cope with this feeling of uncertainty. Nothing on this list will totally eradicate the fear you’re feeling and I really don’t want to sugar-coat the situation, because it’s hard. But I hope these ideas can make it a little less hard.
Try the worry list exercise
I talk about this exercise a lot, but it bears repeating because it’s the one I go to when I’m overwhelmed or trying to ease anxiety surrounding uncertainty. The first step is to write down a list of all the things you’re worried about.
Now, next to each worry I want you to write the answer to the following questions: “What can I do about this?” and “What can’t I do about this?”.
The aim with the first question is to give you back a sense of control. You can make an action plan for addressing your worry. The second question is designed to help you see which worries are fully out of your control. If you can’t do anything about a worry, try your best to let it go.
Every time it pops up in your mind, remind yourself what you can’t do about it and imagine it floating off like a balloon into the distance, then distract yourself with a new task (reading, playing a game, washing the dishes, anything) and focus your attention on that.
Reflect on when you’ve overcome adversity in the past
While the situation we’re currently in is unlike anything we’ve experienced before, we have overcome adversity before. Take some time to reflect on difficult things you’ve overcome in the past. Remember how you felt when you did overcome it. Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of this person, what would they say to you now?
If emotional resilience is something you’re keen to build, listen to my podcast episode on building emotional resilience, there are lots of suggestions here to get started with.
Focus on what you can control
There’s a lot right now we can’t control. But, there are still things we can control. We can control our routines, adapting them to our new parameters. We can control how we connect with others, how we spend our time and how we find any extra support we need.
For me, focusing on my routine and becoming more intuitive to my self-care needs has been an essential part of dealing with uncertainty. I may not know how long this will go on for, but I can figure out how best to spend my time while we’re here.
Become more mindful
Mindfulness is so helpful when it comes to easing anxiety and can be incredible in situations like this. If you’re able to go outside, really relish the feeling of sun and notice how nature’s growing around you. If you’re indoors, listen to some soothing music, close your eyes and focus on your senses. Use aromatherapy to engage your sense of smell, really take in the taste of your food.
Experiment with meditation or mindful movement (like yoga or Pilates). Do whatever you can to root yourself in the present moment to try and quell worries about the future.
Uncertainty brings with it a lot of fear, and that fear can be paralysing. And while I think it’s totally OK to allow yourself to feel that feeling, keeping moving stops you getting stuck for too long. When I say keep moving here, I don’t mean literally (although of course, that helps) I mean with your day-to-day.
Find your new normal, keep learning, keep communicating. If you can’t do your normal job right now, consider what else you can do. How can you keep your brain and creativity active?
Do the best with what you’ve got
This is the phrase I find myself coming back to time and time again. All we can do is the best with what we’ve got. Only allowed one walk a day? Find a new route and enjoy every second. Can’t get outside? Start a new hobby or read that book you’ve always been meaning to. Trying to homeschool the kids? Remember, you’re not a teacher, you don’t have all the resources they do – do your best with what you’ve got.
And soon, we’ll hopefully all have a lot more.
That’s all I have for you this week, I hope the pointers here have been helpful. I’d love to know how you’re getting on, do reach out over on Instagram, I’m there most days sharing on the grid and in stories.
I’ll be back next week with a podcast about Instagram photography and choosing the path of least resistance, and a blog sharing some new routines that are helping me stay balanced. Until then, take care.
In my first audio course, you’ll learn everything I know about overcoming overwhelm. With lessons on self-awareness work and practical techniques, you’ll come away with your own overwhelm action plan
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