We’re at a strange crossroads in the lockdown process. In some respects, things are getting easier for us: restrictions are gradually beginning to lift and a sense of familiarity is returning to our daily lives. In other ways, things are becoming increasingly more difficult as the future is now more uncertain than ever before and there’s the added fear of a second wave.
During the height of the lockdown, there was comfort in the knowledge that we were all experiencing the same restraints, but as things start to shift back to a ‘new normal’ we’ve lost our sense of control.
Here are our tips to manage this uncertainty and maintain a level head as we move in to this next phase.
It’s ok to feel like this
Firstly, this heightened feeling of uncertainty is completely valid, justified and to be expected during this time. After all, we’re living through a pandemic and things are likely to feel out of our control. Initially, try to work on accepting the worry, stress and fear that may be taking hold. It’s completely natural to feel like this, so acknowledge it and allow yourself to feel these difficult emotions. Try writing down how you’re feeling; it’s a good technique to help you process and make sense of what’s going on inside.
Positivity is key
Positive thoughts are a great tool for muffling the sound of the negative emotions you’re experiencing. By consciously choosing more positive things to think about, you’ll be able to refocus your attention away from the negative noise. On those days where the negativity is louder, this will of course be difficult, but persevere. Think of 1 positive thing that has happened that day or focus on an upcoming activity that you’re looking forward to. Having something positive to focus your attention on will help ease the stress of uncertainty.
Control what you can
When grappling with uncertainty, it can be helpful to really grab hold of what we can. Establishing routines, spending more time on activities than you usually would or even developing new exercise regimes will give us the feeling of control that we’re craving and missing out on. Structure is key, so sticking to plans and routines will keep your mind on what’s in front of you, instead of what’s out of reach.
Accept what is out of your hands
Like a lot of advice, this is easier said than done. Acknowledging that we can’t control and change everything will go a long way in helping us to manage our negative emotions. Acceptance is a big step towards regaining peace of mind. Our in-built desire to know everything and be as up to date as possible will only add further stress. Try and limit your exposure to the news, and instead allow yourself a set amount of time each day to catch up. This will stop you from endlessly scrolling through news feeds and worrying about eventualities that are out of your control.
Avoid the ‘what-ifs’
One of the worst things we can do is to torture ourselves with ‘what-ifs’. We can’t tell the future, so you need to avoid these scenarios as they can lead to catastrophising. We have no idea what direction things are likely to go in, and there are so many different possibilities that could occur. Spending time worrying about the endless eventualities and trying to work out resolutions will only fuel our fears, so use this energy to calm yourself down. Asking ‘what if’ will only take us to a place we don’t need to go.
Look after yourself
Throughout the entire process of lockdown, self-care has never been more important. Taking time out for ourselves for self-compassion and not letting stress derail our healthy routines, will help to limit those feelings of losing control. Be sure to set aside some time each day to do things you enjoy, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Read a few pages of your book, have a long bath, practice yoga. Do something that is just yours.
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