Dealing with the unknown

Guest blog by Calgary Counselling Centre

 

Over the past couple of months, we’ve heard words and phrases like “unprecedented” and “uncertain times” in the news, social media, and all other forms of communication. These words are repeated so much because they are very true – we’ve never experienced anything like what we’re going through right now. We’re experiencing a collective sense of anxiety and unease on a global scale. Our lives have been altered and each of us is struggling in a different way. Whether it’s the person that has lost their job, the parent that is trying to juggle work and home-schooling their child, the person living on their own and feeling lonely, or the person that has lost someone they love. We each have a story of how COVID has impacted our lives.
 

Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the pandemic for all of us is the unknown. We don’t know how long this is going to last and when things will go back to normal, go back to what we’re comfortable with. Consistency, routine, predictability – we thrive on these things and right now the things that we can predict are in short supply.
 

To cope with the uncertain, we need to be deliberate with our thoughts and actions and make choices that prioritize our well-being.
 

Recognize and accept what you can and can’t control.
 

There are many things in our lives that we can’t predict and have control over. This is especially true during this time of crisis. We need to make a choice in how we approach these situations. Accepting that what you are feeling is normal can help alleviate some of the discomfort and uneasiness we feel. It can also help to make a list of the things that are and things that aren’t in our control. Here are some examples:

What you can’t control:
• The thoughts and actions of others
• How long the changes the pandemic has brought will last
• How others treat you
 

What you can control
• Your thoughts
• Your reactions to situations
• How you treat other people

Focusing your time, thoughts, and energy on what is in your control can give you a sense of empowerment, even in the most unpredictable of situations.
 

Look for the opportunities.
 

Even in times that seem the darkest, there is hope and there is opportunity for growth. Look for ways to grow and improve your life in this time. Spend time reflecting on the parts of your life that you enjoy and how you can do more of that, and the parts that aren’t working and what you can do to change it.
 

Find ways to give yourself a feeling of accomplishment, even if it’s small. Check things off your to do list, clean out a room in your house, walk a little farther than you did yesterday. A sense of progress doesn’t have to come from huge tasks to be meaningful.
 

Be deliberate in looking for the positives.
 

In times of stress and uncertainty, it can be so easy to fall into negative thought spirals and allow the worry to take over. We need to consciously choose alternative ways of thinking. There is a quote from Fred Rogers where he said:
 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
 

We have the ability to choose this attitude and focus on the positive, loving, wonderful things that are still happening around us.
 

Our current situation may be frightening and frustrating, but if we make the effort to harness our ability to be resilient, we can come out the other side of this, stronger and more at peace.
 

It’s okay to feel anxious, uneasy, angry, or whatever you’re feeling right now. If you’re struggling, we can help – learn more.


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