19th January 2021

LIVING WITH UNCERTAINTY DURING THE PANDEMIC

Uncertainty

Living with uncertainty is hard as human beings crave certainty about the future like we crave for food, sex and love.  However, we can never know what the future will bring and the only thing we know for certain is uncertainty.  Learning how to live with uncertainty is the way we can support ourselves and is the only security.  The harsh truths of life are uncertainty, impermanence, change and death.  Embracing these truths is essential for freedom.

Acceptance of what is

Acceptance and not resistance is the way forward. Learning to accept the situation does not mean it will never get better. It just means that this is how it is at the moment. For example if you are finding that your marriage is proving to be very challenging. Instead of criticising your partner accept your own feelings of frustration and upset and find other ways to let go of your feelings. This does not mean that you won't feel disappointed and sad about your circumstances but when we acknowledge our own truth it can help us to move forward.

Practice feeling feelings

Rather than trying to avoid feelings learning how to manage them is much healthier so we can learn to build a muscle of tolerance and telling ourselves “I am afraid, I don’t know what the outcome will be but there is nothing I can do at the moment to resolve this problem other than what I am doing."  The worst case scenario isn’t certain to happen but rather an over-thinking mind is creating a frightening story which you believe will be the future.

Focus on what you can control 

There will be many things that you can control such as what time you get up on a morning, what you eat, cook, how you occupy yourself during the day etc. Establish a healthy routine during the day and include movement. Staying in bed and living your life from bed and remaining in your pyjamas is not healthy.

Suspend expectations.

Having expectations of what should happen leads to frustration and disappointment if things don’t work out as you would like them to. When you allow for many possibilities you give yourself more options and prevent being attached to a certain outcome.

Watch the thoughts you feed yourself. 

Thoughts are neither good nor bad but it is the emotions that we attach to our thoughts that determine how we feel about a situation. Becoming aware of thoughts as they happen, particularly negative ones and how these negative thoughts can feed anxiety is very important. In a previous blog I have written about managing anxiety. Learning to breathe well, change negative thoughts into positive ones, meditation practices, regular exercise and taking up hobbies or other interests can be beneficial to coping with anxiety.

Improving self-care

We are continually being told by the government that the greatest contribution we can make to the world is ourselves. In other words we need to invest in ourselves, making sure that particularly during this time we are healthy in mind, body and soul. This means that we eat healthy food, maintain exercise, schedule a call with a friend, listen to an inspiring Ted Talk video, watch a funny video, have a nap. Maintaining our energy and positivity is important.

Start empowering yourself. 

Often we can feel powerless and trapped in narratives that leave us angry, helpless and trapped. We want someone to rescue us from the situation. However, rescuers tend to give us permission to avoid taking responsibility for our own lives.  When we can stop wanting to be rescued we can focus on the outcomes that we desire and then focus on what we can do to gain from the difficult situation that we find ourselves in. Finding meaning, hope, a sense of purpose, what we mean to other people can help to ground ourselves when the world feels frightening and uncertain.

What have you always wanted to do? What do you yearn for? How can you make a life that has its rewards and benefits right now. Live your life. It is the greatest gift that we have particularly during this pandemic.

Appreciation and gratitude

There are many things that we already have which are important to appreciate on a daily basis. Often we only appreciate what we have when we lose that something.  Appreciating things such as sunset, sunrise, food, our home, fresh water, fresh air, kindness, hopes and dreams, creativity, conversations, family time, hobbies, learning, to name but a few.  Cherish what you have, it can make a difference, maintaining a positive attitude towards ourselves and our life.

May you live these moments of turbulence and uncertainty to the best of your ability and if you are struggling to do so reach out for support.

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