Coping with Change and Uncertainty
With so many changing rules, with us out of lockdown, and experiencing big personal changes, the Coronavirus has certainly brought much change and uncertainty to our lives.
"Uncertainty is exhausting"
Our brains thrive on logic, yet we've lived many months now, where the rules keep changing and there has been much uncertainty and fear. We know from neuroscience, that we like certainty, so change can be unsettling and exhausting for us. And especially so, for those of us prone to anxiety.
So here are a few things that were captured in our carer community during the lockdown;
Managing our anxiety, as some friends and the general public seemed to be more 'relaxed' around us.
Having tricky conversations - "no it's not OK for our kids to have a playdate yet" to "please could you wear a mask?".
Managing feelings of resentment that for many of us, our lives are still on hold.
Managing pressure from the people we support.
Managing our own guilt and anxiety over any decisions we are making on behalf of the person we care for - especially if they can't have a say themselves.
Simply accepting and coping with the constant flux of change.
It can feel like a lot of responsibility.
Three tools to navigate change and uncertainty
1. Focus on what we can control
Give our mind a break from 'what ifs' by focusing on things we have control over.
Things we can control may include;
Making a conscious choice (and sticking to it), about how much time we spend online looking at social media
Choosing a beneficial morning routine that works for us. Perhaps a walk or meditation. Or just simply a cup of tea in your 'good mug' in our favourite chair before we start the day
Arranging a social get together (online if needs be) which we're comfortable with (and being clear with friends) - rather than reacting to other people's invitations and expectations,
Check out James' blog on how carers were coping, and their top five tips - which include taking control!
2. Challenge how we feel about uncertainty
For example, when faced with uncertainty, do we imagine a 'worst case' scenario unfolding?
This is completely natural. By planning for the worst we can achieve a sense of 'control' through a feeling of being prepared.
Having a 'What If plan' has value, but don't let it define your thinking. Get it done, saved and shared, but then move on and consider a positive 'what if'.
If we only focus on the negative, our mind will seek and find evidence to 'prove us right'.
However - this will be at the expense of noticing the positive 'stuff'. By visualising a positive outcome, we can see more of the good stuff, which will support our mood and mindset.
3. Focus on the present
A popular technique within our caring community, is mindfulness. Pausing and calming our minds. The only thing that is known is the present. In the present we can't worry about what may or may not happen. Practising mindfulness gives our minds and emotions a valuable break.
There are several ways of doing this - even when we 'have no time'.
And to get you started, here's a short video, we posted on our YouTube Channel:
Our blog "How to care for yourself, when there's no time to care for yourself" also includes how to do a Sensory Mindful Minute!
We also have some simple mood boosting techniques, we may enjoy.
In our life as carers, it can feel like so much is out of our control - pandemic or no pandemic! Meaning that tools like these are valuable to us, throughout our caring life. Do give them a try.
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Both introduce wellbeing techniques through short video tutorials. Let us know in the comments or in our community, what your favourites are!