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Embracing Change in Uncertain Times

In times of change and uncertainty, managing oneself becomes a crucial skill to navigate the challenges and maintain emotional well-being. Uncertainty can arise from various sources, such as personal life changes, global events, or economic instability, and it can trigger feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear. However, by adopting a proactive approach and implementing effective self-management strategies, individuals can weather the storm and emerge stronger. Here are some strategies to manage self during uncertain times:

  1. Cultivate Mindfulness and Presence: Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment without judgment. It can help reduce anxiety about the future and bring a sense of calm. Engage in mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to centre yourself and stay grounded in the present. When you are in the present moment, worry about the future or rumination about the past, cannot exist in that space.
  2. Establish a Routine: In times of uncertainty, maintaining a routine can provide a sense of normalcy and control. Create a daily schedule that includes time for work, exercise, leisure, and rest. Sticking to a routine can help reduce stress and improve productivity.
  3. Set Realistic Goals: Uncertain times can make long-term planning difficult. Instead, focus on setting short-term, achievable goals. This can help you maintain motivation and a sense of progress, even when the future seems unclear. The goals don’t need to be big. You might want to simply focus on one thing you can do for yourself.
  4. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and recognize that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed during uncertain times. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your feelings, treating yourself with kindness, and avoiding self-criticism. Extend the same compassion to yourself, that you readily give to others.
  5. Stay Informed, but Limit Media Consumption: It’s important to stay informed about what’s happening in the world, but constant exposure to news and social media can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Set boundaries for your media consumption and seek out reliable sources of information. A great way to do this is setting a 10 minute limit on using your phone. Put a timer in place as a self-imposed boundary.
  6. Connect with Others: Social support is vital during uncertain times. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups to share your feelings and experiences. Virtual connections can also provide a sense of community and belonging.  Moreover, it is not the big moments or events that provide meaning, sometimes it is the fight over who is having the last Tim Tam. Cherish the laughter and joy of these moments as much as the others.
  7. Focus on What You Can Control: While uncertainty can make you feel powerless, focusing on what you can control can help reduce feelings of helplessness. Concentrate on your actions, attitudes, and responses to situations rather than dwelling on external factors beyond your influence. If you are a person that likes to write a to do list, check the list thoroughly. Is the item on your list a “you” problem or some-one else narrative?
  8. Engage in Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This can include exercise, hobbies, reading, or anything else that brings you joy and relaxation. Often, the excuse we use for not putting oneself first is that it is selfish. We somehow think that we can run efficiently and capably on an empty cup. When we fill our own cup, we are focussed on building personal capacity.
  9. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If uncertainty becomes overwhelming and impacts your daily functioning, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Therapy or counseling can provide strategies to cope with stress and anxiety and improve daily functioning.
  10. Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability: Uncertain times require flexibility and the willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth and be open to new experiences and perspectives. Building tolerance to uncertainty is a difficult notion for some. Lean into the uncomfortable feelings that are bound to surface and ride the anxiety wave. The better you are able to surf the anxiety urges, the greater inner resilience you are growing.

Often the basics of well-being are neglected or become less important. Getting enough sleep, having 3 healthy meals a day and some form of exercise such as walking assist in regulating mood and maintaining a minimum wellbeing balance.

Moreover, when we get overwhelmed in the moment and our nervous system is activated, we are not able to find our “wise” mind and we become stuck in our emotional or logical mind. 

By implementing these strategies, you can manage yourself effectively during uncertain times and maintain your emotional and mental well-being. Remember that uncertainty is a part of life, and by developing resilience, you can navigate through it with strength and grace.