One of the consequences stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the amount of uncertainty that has been thrown on us all. Students are uncertain about how their studies will be impacted. VCE students are uncertain whether they'll be able to attend university next year. There is uncertainty amongst those currently employed, and whether they'll be employed in the coming weeks and months. There is uncertainty amongst those who have tragically lost their jobs, and when they might be employed once again. We are also uncertain whether we should make plans for the future. For those in Melbourne, we are uncertain when lockdowns will end, when we will be able to go outside our homes for more than 1 hour, and, when we will be able to travel to see loved ones.
This uncertainty has also crept upon myself in recent weeks and it definitely is not a pleasant feeling. So, I thought I would share just a couple of strategies that I have been implementing everyday to avoid any anxiety caused by the feeling of uncertainty.
There is so much going on in the world, and although I am paying attention to the news (occupational hazard) I am only focusing on today. I have a list of daily goals and what I have to achieve, and this is my focus. I try to avoid thinking beyond the next 24-hours. The main benefit to this in my opinion, is that it is a grounding technique. It makes me actively focus on the present and appreciate the moment. At the end of the day, and after my focus being devoted to the completion of necessary tasks, I am able to reflect on what I have achieved. This strategy also allows me to focus on the little things.
Only focus on what you can control, and avoid wasting your energy on what you can't control. This is definitely easier said than done. This strategy to some extent requires you to physically pull yourself away from thoughts that might lead you 'down the rabbit hole'. Any time you start focusing too much on something you can't control you need to actively tell yourself to not think about it, and refocus your attention on the task at hand.
Things you can control include: your mindset, your worth ethic, and the way you look after yourself. It's important that you focus on your health and wellbeing, by eating cleanly and taking regular breaks so you don't burn out. You can control what you achieve each day whilst at work and studying. And, you can control your mindset, you can implement mindfulness and meditation strategies that can help ease stress and anxiety.
Job uncertainty is one of the worst parts of the current climate. At the moment, there is very little job certainty for anyone, in any profession. Although you might not be able to control whether your contract is renewed in the coming months, or how many redundancies your company requires, you can control your worth ethic. If you are worried about 'job uncertainty' make it your mission to put yourself in the best place possible. Focus on your role, and focus on doing it to a high standard. Although this does not aid or remove the 'uncertainty', it can place you in a better position. Instead of wasting your energy on something you have no control over, you are putting your energy into making sure you perform to a high standard (and, hopefully maintaining a competitive edge).
I know I have already written about it, and although it is not directly related to 'uncertainty', mitigating stress and anxiety associated to 'uncertainty' can only be done when you are feeling physically and mentally well. Looking after yourself is so important. So please recognise when you need to take a break, reward yourself often, eat cleanly, and try and get some daily exercise into your routine.
The level of uncertainty in our lives at the current moment is definitely not ideal. But there are small ways you can reduce the levels of anxiety and stress associated to 'uncertainty'. I hope the above strategies prove helpful.