I like uncertainty. I like that feeling when you are watching a suspenseful movie or making a small gamble on something, like ordering something weird/new on a menu at a restaurant you’ve never been to. It feels exciting while you’re waiting for what is coming next. I’ve learned that these small uncertainties don’t usually affect me long term. Unlike the current situation we’re all in, we’re well into almost a year of dealing with Coronavirus and I’m starting to get sick of the uncertainty. Anyone else?
Our brains normally make decisions based on our past experiences. For example, if that new item I ordered from the menu was trash, I (hopefully) won’t do that again. However, when the future is uncertain or we’re experiencing something NEW, we can’t rely on past experiences to inform us. Most people currently living on this planet have never lived through a global pandemic before, so there is no experience to call on for decision-making. This current uncertainty is relentless, long, and we’ve got no reference. So, how do we make it through?
Build your tolerance:
Build you tolerance for these longer uncertain times by remembering how easily you’ve made it though the simple shorter uncertainties. Face it, every time you drive to work it’s a risk and an uncertainty. Every time you try a new recipe or restaurant, it’s risky. Pay attention to the small uncertainties you are living through every day that you typically gloss over. This can help build self confidence for this bigger, looming time.
Here’s a way to do that, go through each of your five senses, focusing on three sensations you’re experiencing. For example, what are three things you can feel right now? Three things you hear? When you start worrying about the uncertainties of the world, you can interrupt your thoughts with this routine. It can help ground you in the present moment and the certainties that do surround you.
Learn to focus on what you can control:
Rebecca Sinclair, Ph.D., a psychologist says this: “An unwillingness to experience anxiety or an intolerance to anxiety can often lead to additional suffering,” Sinclair also says, “That’s what we see now with people constantly googling, checking the news, or stockpiling supplies: it’s trying to fight uncertainty in ways that ultimately increase anxiety or create cultures of fear.” Instead, step back, unplug and focus on the things you can control — like your work, family time, and daily routine.
Keep a Schedule:
If you’re like me you’ve had to switch up a lot about work, childcare, personal goals, etc. so your schedule is a mess or non-existent. Work hard to get one in place! A schedule can help reduce anxiety and increase sleep, all things that are needed to help us stay feeling sane in uncertain times. Don’t focus on a schedule that is normal for everyone else. Focus on one that works for you and what you are going through in that instance.
Use your support system:
A support system can be made up of a variety of people: co-workers, friends, family and neighbors. Use them to bounce ideas off of, go for a walk, to help you with a project or to take a break. Most people have such a hard time asking for help or to take a minute to themselves. It’s ok to use your system/network. You may even be surprised at how much people want to help each other.
Sticking Through the Uncertainty with Flesner Wentzel Law Firm
So tell me what you’re practicing to help you keep your calm during uncertain times. It has been a long haul of not knowing and I want to know what’s helping you get through. These 5 things plus cussing seem to be doing the trick for me. Follow along with all of us at Flesner Wentzel Law firm on Facebook.
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