Dealing with Uncertainty
With the election this week, it has brought forth many different emotions in myself and my clients. Anxiety, worry, doubt, depression and of course, uncertainty. As the results continue to trickle in anxiety may be heightened as we don't know what to expect and what will happen. In times of uncertainty, worry and anxiety tend to flourish and we may find ourselves "filling in the blanks" that is, telling stories about what could happen and often this is a negative outcome. This is a common response but one that can lead down a rabbit hole of increasing your anxiety and leading to more issues with your mental health. It can also lead to catastrophizing, looking at the worst possible scenario which isn't helpful either. So how do you manage during this difficult year and one full of things out of our control and jam packed with uncertainty?
1) Really tune into what you are feeling, where are you feeling the emotion and allow yourself time to sit with it and not push it away. More damage comes when you avoid it and never deal with it, allowing yourself to feel your feelings is the healthiest thing you can do to move through them.
1) Talk about it! Finding others you trust and really open up with what is going on with you can be the release valve to let those feelings out and better cope. It can also help you feel less alone to know others are feeling the same way you are.
2) Take it day by day, the more you start making predictions and looking ahead the more it can be anxiety provoking. Focus on what you need to do to get through each day, each hour and each minute if an hour is too hard!
3) Engage in self-soothing activities to calm your nervous system: this can mean some self-massage of your arms and shoulders, cuddling up with your pet with a warm beverage under a blanket or it can mean just placing one hand on your heart and doing some light tapping. Leave your hand there for a while and tell yourself “I am suffering right now, this hurts” and remind yourself you can make it through.
4) Go to bed earlier, getting enough sleep can help fuel you and decrease irritability. If you have trouble sleeping, turn off all screens 1 hour before bed and try some essential oils to help you relax before sleep.
5) The best way to release anxiety is through movement, do what you can to move more each day. Take the stairs more often, walk around your block or do a yoga video on youtube. Do what you like to do so you will stick with it.
Life is not filled with guarantees and you will continue to face many moments of uncertainty.
The important thing is to do what you can to remain positive and deal with what is, not fill in the blank with potential negative outcomes. Remember to trust yourself, you’ve overcome difficult things before you can overcome now as well.