We have all experienced rapid and unexpected change but nothing quite like the uncertainty that comes with living in the midst of a global pandemic. Concerns for finances, career, physical health, mental health, and the well-being of our family remain high. Here are a few tips for staying calm during times of uncertainty.
Identify What You Can Control
By this time, we have come to the realization that far less in our life was within our control than we realized. Most of us were living with a false sense of security. We can’t control our past, our future, or what other people think, feel, believe, or decide. We can take strategic actions to increase the odds of achieving our goals, such as doing the best we can at school and work, but we still can’t control the outcome.
Now that we are over the initial shock, let’s look at the bright side of things. The pandemic has highlighted what we can control, which is where we must invest our energy. This includes our:
- Mindset—anxiety may be high, but you can control your self-talk and mindset
- Response—you can choose to rapidly react to new changes or take the time for critical and conscious thought
- Wellness—fitness, what you eat, your sleep routine, your mental and emotional health are all within your control
- Language—your choice of words and the tone you use when speaking is always a choice
- Time—how you invest your time is entirely up to you
- Spending—now is not the time to be hasty with your finances
One of the ways to positively shift your mindset is to focus on what you have to be grateful for. For best results you must be consistent, so create a daily gratitude routine. For example, you could create a gratitude journal by writing down 10 new things you are grateful for each day. This is an excellent way to start or end your day or adjust your focus when you begin to feel anxious. If you have kids make it a family affair by naming something you are grateful for at each meal.
If you are having a difficult time identifying things to be grateful for, start small. Take a “time to smell the roses” approach focusing on little things such as your delicious breakfast, the vibrant green leaves of your plants, the internet that keeps you connected, and the other daily things we often take for granted. It will be easier to find sources of gratitude as time goes on.
Adapt Your Plans
You aren’t alone if you are still waiting for things to return to “normal”. However, the pandemic is far from over and even as businesses begin to open, nothing is as it was before. It’s time to accept that even once the pandemic has passed, that a “new normal” will be implemented. For example, many companies will continue to allow employees to work from home. So, it’s time to adapt your plans. One by one, rethink every aspect of your life and what you had planned over at least the next year.
Sticking with the same example, it may mean it’s time to set up a more permanent home office other than the kitchen table. Many who are unemployed are taking this opportunity to go back to school, launch a new business, pursue the career they really want, focus on their health, and finally do the things they never had time for before. Adapting will provide you with a greater sense of control and open you up to opportunities you may not see if you continue with your original plans.
Many of us are still limiting our time outside of the house as well as our real-life interactions with those we don’t live with. This lack of social interaction can leave us feeling lonely, even if we live with friends or family. Being constantly connected doesn’t count, as we must prioritize quality interactions. This means less texting and more phone calls and video chats. There was a huge wave of Zoom calls when social distancing first began, but the commitment to remaining engaged has fizzled out a bit—so it’s time to reengage.
There are countless health benefits to remaining socially active. To enjoy the calming benefits, prioritize quality, not quantity. Identify a friend or two who you always feel good after talking to. This feeling must be mutual. Ensure that while you both take time to express your stress and anxiety, focus on other topics too.
In addition to your uplifting inner circle, check in on older neighbors and family members you may not typically stay in contact with. If you are single, now is the perfect time to meet someone new through online dating. Whether single or coupled up, explore online methods of meeting new people—like joining an online book club.
Create Space And Time At Home
While we must remain social, the increased time at home with those you are social distancing with may be a little too much time together. As much as you love and respect one another you each have your right to personal space and private time. Work together as a family or household to ensure everyone has the space they need to thrive. This might include creating a schedule of group meals and daily activities, including personal time. It may take time to find the right balance, but you can create a routine that works for everyone.
Also, be sure to set healthy boundaries for yourself and respect the boundaries your loved one’s place.
Limit The News
Whether it’s the local, nationwide, or global pandemic updates, the heartbreak of the ongoing racial injustice, politics, or any other negative news—we must be informed without allowing it to consume us. This is easier said than done, especially in the current climate.
Regain a bit of balance by setting aside no more than 2 hours a day to listen to and read the news, preferably not before bedtime. Be selective with your new sources identifying a handful of trusted sources. When it comes to reading online articles, particularly on social media, set a timer if you must so that you don’t fall down the rabbit hole. When you need to, take a day or two away from the news to regain some peace of mind.
Finally, we must be the change we want to see in the world, so set aside blocks of time each week to research, volunteer, or actively contribute to positive change. Yes, you can contribute to positive change while social distancing. Start by reaching out to non-profits to see what type of support they require, much of which can be performed digitally.
Make Time For Wellness
Staying calm during times of uncertainty means that you must take both a proactive and reactive approach to wellness. Wellness is not just one thing and there is no one-size-fits-all wellness solution, so you must identify what works for you. Here are a handful of wellness options:
- Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy whole foods to limit stress and comfort eating
- Keep alcohol to a minimum, especially in times of stress
- Get at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, even a brisk mask-on walk
- Stand and stretch at least once per hour while working from home
- Incorporate yoga or meditation into your weekly routine
- Identify stress-relieving at-home activities such as an Epsom salt bath
- Spend at least a few hours a week doing a hobby like reading, arts and crafts, playing a musical instrument, or listening to music
- Explore your options in online talk therapy which is available 24/7 at increasingly affordable rates
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and consider using Holmes Organics CBD oil tincture to soothe your mind and body.