Ella Donnison: 5 Ways to Cope With Uncertainty

As we continue to work our way through the pandemic, the impact of changes in how we live and interact within our communities can be deeply unsettling. Ella has some great tips to help you feel more in control.

monkey sat on a tree stump

Uncertainty is close to home at the moment. As human beings we crave to know all the information as soon as we can. Sometimes I think, is it healthy? I have always struggled to enjoy the present and ‘not focus on the future’, but throughout the pandemic, I feel like this is the only way to have some sort of control.

Over the past year, it has felt like the word and the rules are changing constantly, with all this anxiety and uncertainty about what the future potentially holds, it’s good to remind yourself of ways to accommodate this.

Here are 5 ways to cope with uncertainty during hard times:

  1. Try to stay in the here and now – I really struggle with this one! Instead of focusing on your long term plans and goals or what the future according to covid may bring, take a few minutes of your day to relax and reflect on what you’re doing at that very moment. Try to stop your mind drifting – a good way to do this can be through practicing meditation or mindfulness –
  2. Try to find a routine – one of the hardest challenges throughout lockdown was the lack of structure to my days. To feel more in control and less worried about the changes in the world it’s good to find a small and easy routine that helps you enjoy the present moment. For example, getting up at roughly the same time on weekdays and going for a short walk (This is so much nicer now the weather isn’t baltic!). It can be hard to make a routine so here’s some extra tips! –
  3. Connect – the lack of social contact in the past year has been hard for almost everyone. Not knowing when you will next see someone is daunting, but social media, phones, and of course Zoom can help. Telling people how your feeling can reassure you that you’re not the only one. I think I saw this most in the first lockdown – everyone was in the same boat and despite being unable to see each other everyone seemed to be a little bit closer.
  4. Take action for things you can control – while a lot of things remain outside of our control, instead of worrying, it can be positive to refocus your mind on actions within your control. For example if you’re worried about your health you can control the actions you take to increase your fitness. By focusing on what you can control it allows your mind to take a break. This is such a help for me especially at university!
  5. Challenge the uncertainty! – whilst life has changed and is full of unexpected events, this is not always a negative thing. Opportunities have arisen this past year that I would never have expected. For example, without so much time at home I wouldn’t have been able to walk my dog most days. Uncertainty can help us to learn to adapt and overcome challenging experiences and can actually be positive, so if you can, try to embrace it!

Feelings of uncertainty will not last forever, and we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. These tools and ways of thinking can stay with you to help in any uncertain situation in the future.

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