We have been talking a lot about feelings of uncertainty on our social media channels. It's a scary feeling to not know what's coming next... but there are several great ways to deal with that feeling! Kristi Pikiewicz wrote this fantastic blog for our other site DiggingDeep.org, so we wanted to share it with our Shadow's Edge community as well!
When you go to the grocery store, can you be certain you will remember everything you need? When you set an appointment, can you be sure traffic will cooperate and let you to arrive on time? Few things in life are absolutely certain. And uncertainty causes anxiety – you worry about being late or you worry about forgetting something important.
Now imagine you’re uncertain, not about the grocery store or an appointment, but about health and security and the future of the planet. This kind of big uncertainty brings a whole new set of scary questions: What limits should you expect on your everyday lives? What will the future look like? Will you and your loved ones be okay? Here in 2022 we’re living with a new level of anxiety. Here are four ways you can work to manage it:
#1 - Self-Care
Self-care seems selfish. But it’s the only way you can stay strong enough to help those around you. Slow down. Find predictable “chunks” of your day that you can keep, including things like daily self-care or a weekly sit-down conversation with a family member, friend, or therapist to talk through your story. Meanwhile, create ways to remind yourself to stay in the moment rather than catastrophizing about what might be. Maybe that’s a 5-minute meditation before getting out of bed or a sticky note on the car steering wheel reminding you to breathe. Make sure your self-care coping mechanisms are productive in the middle- and long-term and not just temporary solutions like another glass of Rose (occasionally, that’s fine too; no judging). Whatever it is, give yourself the time and space to take care of yourself.
#2 - Knowledge is Power
The more you know, the more you can plan accordingly. Even if knowledge doesn’t allow you to take any concrete steps, just having this knowledge itself can make a things seem less terrifying.
#3 - Choose Your Sources
For almost any challenge you can imagine, there is a horror story online. This means that when you’re searching for the information recommended above, you’re likely to find things you wish you hadn’t. You can find anything you’re looking for. Much of it will not be true. Remember: Not every worst-case scenario is you. Ask your doctor for recommendations or visit authoritative sources like CDC, NIH and hospital websites to learn about COVID, chronic conditions, serious disease and more.
#4 - Permission to be a Whole Person, Not Just Anxiety
When the anxiety of the unknown impacts your everyday life or that of someone you love, it can be hard to look past immediate challenges and remember all the things that make you, you. You are so much more than covid or your job or the things that seem to be going wrong — these challenges are small details of the “whole” person you are. And you still have dreams and aspirations. You can still make plans and have fun. Whenever possible, try to leave the hard stuff behind to do “normal” things that you did before. Spend time with friends, take the dog to the park, and if you are able, enjoy a walk in nature. Doing activities you love will remind you that these are the things that truly define you and in fact, these are the certainties you can count on in life. After all, anxiety doesn’t get to call all the shots!
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