How to Cope During Times of Uncertainty
When we are faced with challenging times, it can be really hard to know how you will cope with the uncertainty of the situation.
All too often, we go into action-paralysis and put our lives on hold until the situation either passes or reveals its true nature.
At the same time, our life is passing us by.
No one is coming to make this situation clearer for us. This is something that we need to address ourselves.
In this podcast episode, Gillian Duncan, Clarity Junction host, coach and author shares her advice on how to cope during times of uncertainty.
Hello and welcome to the Clarity Junction podcast.
Today I would like to chat about how to deal with uncertainty that crops up in our lives.
There are always going to be times of uncertainty throughout life, and some of these events will be more challenging than others.
At the time of recording this podcast, we are, as part of the human race, going through a period of uncertainty.
At the moment, we are living through a pandemic. A wild spread of a virus that can infect all humans and, currently there is no vaccination.
In order to slow down the spread of this virus, we are all told to stay at home and take part in a period of isolation.
This is a new situation for us all, and what makes it all the more challenging is the uncertainty that surrounds this time.
In this episode, I will not dwell too much on this current pandemic, but discuss that we all have to face uncertainty on a daily basis, and what we do in this time will reflect on how well we cope with our everyday challenges in life.
My name is Gillian Duncan, Positive Life and Wellbeing Coach, inspiring women to live the life they truly want, and I am delighted that you are here with me today.
There will always be times in our lives when we face a period of uncertainty.
Perhaps you are waiting to hear the result of an exam you have sat, or you’re facing redundancy. You may be in the process of moving to a new house, but not know when this move will take place. Perhaps you are recovering from an injury and don’t know how long this healing process will take, or even if you will heal.
These times are all unsettling.
You may not know the outcome, and even if you do, you may not know how long you will be living with this uncertainty forming a shadow over your life.
You feel stuck in a time warp and can’t seem to move forwards.
Yet the minutes and hours still tick by, the world still revolves, and you are still living your life.
But it’s not your best life.
You are just getting by day by day, and that’s all you aim to do.
It seems a waste of those precious minutes, hours and days, yet you can’t seem to move your mind to change course.
Your focus is fixed, and nothing can distract it.
It’s like having an enormous weight dragging your mind and your body down, and you just can’t shift it.
So why can’t we shift our mindset? Why can’t we let things be and accept that these issues will be resolved in their own time, and we should just place them to one side until we can actually do something about them?
Well, as you know it’s just not that easy.
Often one aspect of uncertainty is linked with other major components in our life. Just like a cog in a wheel, if you are missing one, then the rest of the system will not run smoothly and may not even be able to work at all.
For example, an anticipated redundancy will have a deep impact on your income, and you may begin to worry about how you will afford to pay your bills. The redundancy may not be confirmed, and so you are unsure of whether you need to start looking for another place of employment. You may be wondering if you will need to move to a different area to find a job, and this may have knock-on effect to your personal and family life.
If you knew the clear outcome of your employment status, you could start taking action, but as it is, you are in a state of uncertainty and surrounded with confusion, doubts and fears.
So, just how do we cope in uncertain times like these?
Well, my first piece of advice would be to plan for a worse-case scenario. Ok, so I know that doesn’t sound too positive, and perhaps more like a defeatist attitude, but hear me out.
If you plan for the worst to happen, you will be taking those steps to face your biggest fear, and by starting to look at a ‘Plan B’, you are giving yourself some piece of mind that you will be prepared should the worst happen.
If the situation turns out to be in your favour, then great, but if not, you know where to turn and what to do, at least to your best knowledge at this time.
So, for example, you are waiting for an exam result and you are really unsure as to whether you’ve passed or not. What will you do if you failed? Will you re-sit? When will you do this? At what cost? Will it set you back on your career steps and for how long? What can you do in the meantime to build your career outside of the certification, such as additional work experience, perhaps?
If you are looking at facing redundancy, then you really need to think about looking at getting your finances in order. Go through them and be sure that you are aware of all income sources and debts that you have, so that you can truly work out the impact a redundancy would have on your finances and how much you need to live basically for a time while you look for another position.
This is also the time to sort out your resume and start looking for other positions. Sure, your current position may be safe, but there is no harm in looking and trying to set up interviews while you wait to hear the fate of your current job.
Taking these action steps is not easy.
The steps that you have to face in times of uncertainty never are.
Uncertain times mean that your normal, everyday life has become impacted by another external influence which means that you need to come away from what you currently know, be knocked from your comfort zone and be exposed to the unknown.
This in turn ignites fear in your soul.
Change is happening. Change triggers fear.
It’s how you cope with the fear that makes the difference to how you cope and proceed in these times.
By facing the fear and starting to organise a ‘Plan B’, you are not sweeping away the reality that your life is changing. You are facing up to it and taking action steps to limit the overall impact that it will have on you.
You are taking an unknown, potentially negative situation, and turning it into one that you have more control over and creating a more positive outcome from it.
You are taking action. You are regaining some control of the situation.
Sure, it’s hard but, in turn this action-taking will help ease you mind.
For the moment, so many of us, worldwide, are in lock down. We are not able to work, earn an income, see our families and friends and for some, have problems trying to work out where the next meal is coming from. This list of problems only scratches the surface. This situation has affected everyone on so many levels.
These are indeed uncertain time, and we are unsure of when this lock down will stop or when our way of life will return, especially as countries face economic recession.
This all sounds too much to bear, and for one person it sure is!
So that’s why you need to break it down into manageable steps.
Write down everything that is affecting your life just now and decide from the list what you can take actionable steps over.
If you can do something about it, then start to do it. Start putting an action plan in place.
Don’t just sit, do nothing and wait for someone else to do it for you – that won’t happen. You need to sort your own situation out and face your own fears.
If you really cannot do anything about it, then give yourself permission to remove the worry over it. Worrying will never help the situation. Being stressed and anxious will only feed your fear and have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.
While I realise it is easier said than done, if you have an action plan in place for the things that you can control, and permission not to worry about those you can’t, your focus will begin to shift away from the worry and the fear, and start to work on the positive action plan.
You mind is created to solve problems and as you are presenting it with a new path, it will endeavour to focus where it’s power can be used best, rather than aimlessly jumping from one worry to the next.
Don’t waste your energy focusing on a path you can neither control nor change.
Keep your energy tuned in to your own affairs and focus on being in charge of how you can make the situation the best for you. Keep aware of your dreams and goals in life and find ways in all situations to take steps towards them.
Times of uncertainty are truly challenging, but that’s not to say that they must dominate your world completely. You must always work with what you have and make that work and grow for you.
So, start looking at the situation more closely. Face your fears and start making that ‘Plan B’. Begin to take action on the things you can control and remove your focus on those you can’t.
By doing this you will cope more positively when faced with any times of uncertainty in your life.
That’s all for this episode.
My aim to reach out and inspire as many women as possible, so I would love it if you could help me by spreading the word!
Remember to hop over to clarityjunction.com to find out more about our membership for women who want more from life!
Thanks for listening.
Bye for now and keep being awesome!
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