Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Before the pandemic, I thought I was in control of my life and all the events leading up to now. But I felt the world collapse with the pandemic hit. Like many of us, reality struck me hard; living with unaware and invisible threats interwoven in this universe that we share collectively.
What is uncertainty?
Uncertainty is a state of unknown or unexplored; a state of doubt on what the results might be. This emotion is associated with fear in the human experience.
For example, think of a situation that you faced where you had no control of the outcome, such as moving to a newcountry. For myself, when I first moved to Canada from Colombia, I had no idea what the school and classmates would be like. I had no idea what my host family’s cultural background would be. After a few weeks, I found my way into a new culture, ready to explore, learn and grow, not only professionally but as a total human experience. I welcomed and immersed myself with all the new challenges and barriers that could have faced.
As I process the new “normal” lifestyle, I found that we can discover a middle ground. Similar to our world today, how we knew our life to be and now, the new reality that is emerging from living through a pandemic.
Can we reconcile with peace when everything we know is gone?
Essentially, human nature is designed to push away change or anything that is out of your comfort zone; but can we become good at accepting change? Can we be open to change in a more skilful way?
Here are a few ideas:
• Recall past experiences to help you adapt to a new situation in your life, like finding a new job, moving to a new neighbourhood, changing schools. Remember what worked for you back then and apply those skills to an unfamiliar situation.
• Have a ‘tool kit’ for change, such as your family and friends. Use this ‘tool kit’ of people to lean on when waters get tough in life.
• Start changes on a small scale; trying something new or unfamiliar for the first time, can be scary. By building on small victories, you can gain confidence to embark on larger changes in life.
• Consider having a backup strategy if your job gets compromised with the new set of rules from the pandemic. Explore your strengths. Consider a second income. By nature, having a plan b is always a good idea.
• Broaden your perspective when the world rapidly changes to avoid fearing the worst. Imagine a worst, best or probably scenario and contemplate their pros and cons. By doing so, we are empowering ourselves to not fall to the circumstances that surround us.
• Make a list of the things that you can control; list the external factors that are out of your domain. Similarly,make a list of the things that you can manage. By focusing on the latter, you will gain a sense of getting grounded and achieve confidence to move forward.
• Focus on self-care by tending to your physical, mental and emotional needs; this will help you better manage life stresses that surprise you. For example, eat healthy meals, and keep a regular bedtime routine. Also include time for physical activities and social connections to make a difference in your daily life to better cope with stress.
• Be aware of what you are holding on to. Are you in a painful abusive relationship? Are you experiencing emotional distress? Are you over-using substances?Are you exposed to constant bad news on social media? Be aware and alert, so that you can recognize these signs. Take a pause and investigate on how you can replace these coping behaviours. And if needed, seek professional assistance and support.
• Be vigilant of the downside of clinging behaviour.Assess how much energy it takes away from you. Review its worthiness to continue to hold on to this behaviour.
• Embrace creativity whenever you are presented withsomething new. At first, this new situation could be frightening. But after its initial resistance, you can look at it under a new lens and a myriad of new possibilities is exposed to tackle this new challenge.
• Remain adaptable and flexible, like tree branches that endure storms, rain and wind to survive the forces of nature. In the same light, we can endure pain and discomfort if we remember to remain flexible even when you are most uncomfortable.
• Create a schedule for activities that make you happy: sewing, crafting, yoga, meditation, board games, watching a funny movie. So many options to explore – have fun with it!
• Befriend the present moment to find stillness in the middle of the chaos. This internal mechanism that we are equipped with is accessible at anytime, if we stop for a moment. Stillness comes in many ways; listen to relaxing nature music, sit and do nothing, eat quietly and mindfully, meditate on your breathing, swimming or a silent yoga class.
We can all find different ways to overcome uncertainty where chaos and peace can co-exist despite the unforeseen worldwide life events. When we remain connected to our inner-life force we can empower ourselves, not only to survive but to find inner peace in the mist of an uncertain, everchanging world.
“Change is the only constant in life.”
- Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher
The following material is provided for educational purposes only. Use at your own discretion. If you have a health problem, medical emergency, or a general health question, you should contact a physician or other qualified health care provider for consultation, diagnosis and/or treatment.
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