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Monday Moment: Three ways to get through uncertainty

Emma Grey

Sometimes there’s an influx of uncertainty in our lives, and that’s what I’m grappling with at the moment.

Several important personal issues are up in the air and will be for weeks, probably months. I’m also waiting on news that could either be a wonderful turning point in my career, or might not happen at all.

There’s a real sense of ‘not knowing’. There are a heap of ‘what if’s’. It’s too early to be worried. It’s too early to be excited. Nothing’s tangible. It’s maddening!

So to bide my time and instil some patience, here are three ways you can help yourself through a period of uncertainty.

Back yourself

We each have our own story of surviving difficult things. I’ve been through ‘stuff’ before. Separation, divorce, job uncertainty, health scares, parenting worries—and I made it through every single situation.

Even though it’s hard, and even though we fall in a heap sometimes, the reality is that we’re often more resilient than we feel. We have to be in order to pick up and go on, as we all have done many times.

So now, when uncertain times hit we can draw on that experience. We’ve not known what to do before. We’ve made mistakes before. We’ve been out of our comfort zones, many times.

It’s not about us knowing what to do, or having all the answers. It’s about knowing we can adapt to whatever comes.

Self care

There’s a lot we can’t control and there are some things that we can. We can choose to focus on the ‘controllable’.

Exercise, eat well, sleep early, ask for help, meditate or relax. We can’t wave a magic wand over a situation coming at us, but we can boost our capacity to cope with it in very simple, effective ways.

For me there are three things I know I need to do for myself in order to function through these times. I have a regular fortnightly lunch date with my best friends from school; Andrew Johnson has become a close friend on my phone with his meditation and relaxation apps; and I run—not from the situation but with my Team Bliss running group every single Sunday morning. Something I’ve done for nearly two years now and I swear by it. Plus there’s always the Deep & Meaningfuls (D&Ms) that follow afterwards over breakfast and coffee.

Find something that calms, relaxes and makes you feel good. Don’t give it up.

Distractions

We have a choice between stewing over ‘what might happen’ or using that time to do something worthwhile. Life doesn’t stop just because we won’t know an outcome for a few days, weeks or months.

But we can plan things. Meet up with people. Go to movies. Hire a box set of DVDs. Read novels. Make cakes. Write a story. Climb a mountain. We can do anything that makes now meaningful and fun, and distracts us from the agonised waiting game.

If you are doing all of these things, and you’re still stuck in ‘worry’, remember these stats, (according to a study by Dr. Walter Cavert).

  • 40 per cent of the things we worry about never happen
  • 30 per cent of our worries concern the past
  • 12 per cent of our worries are needless worries about our health
  • 10 per cent of our worries are insignificant or petty

This leaves only 8 per cent of our worries that are really worth our time.

At the end of the day, would we really want everything all planned out with no surprises, ever? Life would be fairly boring if everything went to plan…

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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