7 Tips for Tolerating Uncertainty During the Pandemic
These are unprecedented times. No-one could have imagined a global pandemic on this scale. All around the world, people’s lives have been immeasurably changed — some to a catastrophic degree.
People are losing their livelihoods and their lives. Families that have lost loved ones are in mourning. People have lost their jobs and are at risk of losing their homes. Small businesses are closing down; many never to reopen. It’s a truly devastating situation.
And in the middle of all this uncertainty, the new school season is upon us. Even in Canada, where the numbers have been staying fairly steady, many parents still aren’t feeling confident about sending their children back to school. In many parts of the US, parents are terrified.
In the US, more than 5.5 million people are infected with the Coronavirus and more than 175,000 people have died. In hard-hit American communities, parents — and teachers — don’t know what to do, come school season.
A lot of people are angry about the situation and they’re taking out their frustration on their loved ones. The rates of domestic abuse are rising all over as people lash out at the most vulnerable in their families.
Some people are taking out their anger on strangers, assaulting others in public places for no good reason. It’s clear that they’re displacing their frustration onto innocent bystanders. It’s also clear that these attacks are utterly futile, as tensions are heightened and the perpetrators feel no sense of peace or relief, afterwards.
Some people are insisting that Covid-19 is a hoax perpetrated by political opponents. Unfortunately, many of these deniers are ignoring safety guidelines and then falling sick with Covid — some only realizing the truth when it’s too late.
Some people are turning to alcohol or drugs to self-soothe. Some are overeating. Of course, this will only temporarily dull the pain and it will create additional problems down the road.
Everywhere you go, almost everyone is anxious. Almost everyone is scared. No-one knows what to expect. How do you carry on with your life in the middle of all this uncertainty and confusion?
One thing you can’t do is control the situation. You can’t deny it and you can’t wish it away. You have to face the situation head on, because nothing else will work.
Most importantly, you have to acknowledge that you’re feeling stressed. It’s not a sign of weakness to occasionally feel scared, unsure or even overwhelmed, these days. It’s just part of being human.
Once you recognize that you’re struggling, the next thing to do is be kind to yourself. If you’re having a hard time for any reason, you need to cut yourself some slack and silence that inner critic in your mind.
Then, there are a number of simple things that you can do to feel better, even in the middle of all the craziness.
Here are my seven tips for dealing with the uncertainty during the pandemic:
- Gratitude and appreciation: it’s always helpful, when things are hard, to remember what you do have and be grateful for it. Reminding yourself of what you appreciate in your life will provide you with a much-needed sense of balance.
- Perspective: when it all starts feeling like it’s too much, it’s important to take a step back and see the big picture. If you don’t feel like you can do this on your own, go and listen to the experts — reputable journalists and scientists who’ll help you to put things into the proper perspective.
- Mindfulness: when you’re feeling really scattered and out of control, you can take the time to breathe, get centered and tune in to your feelings and needs. You’ll find that it helps a lot.
- Acceptance: as much as you might hate what’s going on in the world right now, you can’t make Covid disappear. You need to accept the reality of the situation and pay attention to the public health guidelines for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. Denial could make a bad situation that much worse.
- Good self-care: when you’re feeling stressed, you need to take the best possible care of yourself. Stress makes you miserable and it lowers your ability to fight infection. Good self-care decreases your stress. Make sure you get enough exercise, proper nutrition and good-quality sleep. It will help your body and your mind.
- Talking to people: sometimes, you need to reach out to your loved ones or to a trained professional to talk about how you’re feeling. Having someone listen to you and understand what you’re going through is very comforting. Hearing wise words of advice is very helpful.
- Treatment: if you start feeling like you really can’t cope, you might be experiencing clinical depression or an anxiety disorder. If you’ve tried all of the above and nothing has helped, you might need more in-depth treatment from a qualified health-care professional.
This pandemic isn’t going away any time soon. In the meantime, it’s essential that you take the best possible care of yourself and your loved ones. Try these seven tips and I’m sure you’ll start to feel better right away.
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