Coping in Uncertain Times

How are you coping in the current environment?  Everyone will have their challenges that come with a pandemic and the restrictions we need to adhere to and some of us will cope better than others

We are in times of change, and whilst the world figures out the ‘new normal’ in a Covid‑19 we need to understand ourselves and our responses to what is going on.

Do you remember what you were doing this time last year?  No-one could have predicted such a life changing event.  However, here we are. 

With restrictions differing from country to country, state to state and even locations within states, it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. One thing is clear, that we need to adapt and adjust as this pandemic develops.

So how are you coping in these uncertain, changing times?

We know there will be a ‘new normal’ but we don’t know what that will look like.  Leaders in different countries and states are navigating unchartered waters and whether we agree or disagree with their approach, we have to adjust to what is happening.

So let’s have a look at how you can do that.

1. Remember that you adjust to uncertainty everyday

You may not have realised it, but you do. No-one knows what tomorrow will hold and you cope with small changes in your life everyday eg: you run out of bread or milk, the train or bus is cancelled, you’re stuck in traffic and you can’t pick up the kids, get to the meeting on time, the hot water service blew up, the power company cut your power accidently etc.

Remember that you have adjusted in the past, so you’ve got the ability to do it.  We just need to practice that ‘adjusting’ muscle and build it up to cope with bigger uncertainties such as Covid-19.    The Australian Health Department has some good resources to help strengthen your muscles to adjust during Covid-19.  

2. Look at what you can control

Humans like predictability, structure and routine.  We’ve been thrown into new ways of working, or for some, not working at all.  This is a big adjustment, recognise this and allow yourself to work through how you can get some control back in your life.

Are you moping through each day and feeling sad?  Do you have a routine? Set up a daily routine, like you had pre-Covid-19.  Get up at the same time each day, have a morning routine, breakfast, shower, exercise?  Whatever it is for you – make it a routine that you do each morning.

If you’re still working and working from home – with or without kids at home, set up structure and routine around working and home schooling the kids. 

Schedule in breaks – if possible, go outside and smell the air, hear the birds, feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your cheeks.  Do something that emulates some sort of routine like you had before the restrictions were in place.

3. Evaluate your situation

Are things really as bad as you think they are?  Are you making assumptions and then catastrophising about what ‘might’ happen?

In times of uncertainty our subconscious mind can become very active and influence our decision-making processes. 

  • Check in with yourself. 
  • Write a list of the assumptions you’re making (or have made recently)
  • On a scale of 1-10 write a number that conveys how confident you are that this will happen
  • In the next column identify what level of risk you think that this won’t happen
  • Now evaluate what’s on your list and how much you believe it will or won’t happen.

Look at what you’ve written down and notice if there are things on that list today, that you wouldn’t have thought of a year ago?   

Have any of these assumptions come true? Are there any on there that you want to reconsider your scores? IF, you believe these assumptions will happen, what is within your control to mitigate or minimise any disruption on you?  What can you put in place to help you?

4. Self Care

During times of change we will have set-backs, that is normal.  But it’s how you handle those set-backs that is important.

Recognise where you’re at and if you’re not at your best, work out what strategies you can do to lift yourself up just a little bit. 

What is one thing you can do that you can control today? 

Think of one thing that you can make a decision on today.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it just has to be something you can control eg: when you get up, when you go to bed, what to wear, what time you’re going to have a shower etc.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure, do “box breathing

Breath out for 4 seconds (empty your lungs)
Breath in for 4 seconds
Hold for 4 seconds
Breath out for 4 seconds

Practice this when you are overwhelmed and increase it to 5 seconds, then 6 and see how it helps you rebalance. 

Review your assumptions – are they helping or hindering you?

Change your focus by 1 degree and see things differently – look at things from a positive frame
(see table below).

The more you do this the more you build your ‘memory muscle’ to look at things from a positive perspective   eg: is your cup half full or half empty?

Focus on what you can do that you wouldn’t have had time for before.

​Getting outside is important, especially if you don’t have a garden to sit in.  Get outside and feel nature around you. 

Most importantly – reach out if you need help – there are options available. 

Talk to someone close to you, family, friend, neighbour
Call a help line (see links below)
Speak to your doctor

Remember there are some great organisations out there that you can reach out to – see the links below.  You can also engage a coach or hypnotherapist to help you.

Stay safe

About the author

Helen Luxford is a Leadership Coach, Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner.  Helen’s passion is helping  stressed professionals turn overwhelm and uncertainty into calm and confidence in 6 weeks or less.

Helen is an experienced Executive and HR Leader.  Helen combines her corporate experience with her qualifications and skills in coaching, Neurolinguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy to provide tailored programs for her clients. 


Helen is the co-author of Amazon best-selling book, Heart Centred Leadership.


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