Life for many at the moment is unpredictable. Our usual routines have needed to become flexible to enable us all to adapt to the changes around us. We can no longer foresee what will happen this week or next week with the announcements, decisions and restrictions placed on us.
While that may seem like a somewhat negative observation to make, it is giving us all the opportunity to be resilient, to think creatively and welcome white space back into our lives – even for just a short while. While change on this scale may be hard to accept, we all have two choices: to accept or resist the change. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we need to agree or be okay with it, but it means that rather than spending our energy and time resisting the change, we can begin to create new routines and coping mechanisms.
Which leads me on to the topic of this blog post – just exactly how can we deal with all of this uncertainty?
Strategy 1: Focus on breath work.
Take a moment or as many as you like during the day to just stop. Take a moment for yourself in order breathe deeply. As Gabby Bernstein says in some of her guided meditations: “Breathe in deeply, exhale completely.” Just a minute or two of focusing on your breath will allow you to come back to the present moment and become grounded again. It’s easy to get caught up in your thoughts and the what if’s but focusing on the breath allows you a moment of reprieve from all of those thoughts.
Strategy 2: Move your body by exercising daily.
Depending on the current restrictions, you may be in lock down, isolation or working from home (or if you’re an essential working, it may be business as usual – to some degree.) Whatever your situation, it is important that you continue to move each day. Exercise benefits us on a physical, emotional and mental level. Through exercise our bodies produce and release dopamine and serotonin which in return can provide a much needed mood boost. Whether it be going for a walk, doing some strength training, yoga, Pilates, dancing or a HIIT session, the possibilities are endless. If you’re not able to go to your local gym, attend a PT class or a studio, there are many great app’s and videos available online for you to use.
Personally, I use 8fit (for my strength training, HIIT workouts and resistance training) and Downdog (for yoga.) Both offer a large range of different classes depending on your level of fitness. Please note that I genuinely use these apps and I’m not promoting them for advertising purposes.
Strategy 3: Practice gratitude.
Our brains have a built in negativity bias. While we may not be able to eliminate it completely, we can train our minds to search for the positive in situations over time instead. To begin this, we can adopt a daily gratitude practice. You may want to begin your day by stating three things you are grateful for on the upcoming day or you can practice gratitude by reflecting on your day and state three things you were grateful for at the end of the day instead.
Over time, your mind will begin to search for the positive. It may even something as (seemingly) simple as noticing and appreciating a sunrise or sunset, appreciating time with loved one/s or a wholesome meal. When you can appreciate and be grateful for what you have right now, you can find peace in the present. Be grateful for being safe, for having a home, access to clean drinking water and fresh air if these are available to you. Appreciate more, fear less.
Strategy 4: Focus on what you can control.
You cannot control everything around you nor can you predict the future. Rather than feeling anxious about the future, focus on what you can control. You can control how you show up each day, the mindset you choose to adopt (positive or negative, fixed or growth), how you spend your time, the foods you are fueling your body with and what activities you do each day for yourself.
We cannot worry for the world, we cannot control how long this current situation will be our new normal or when things will return to the way that they were. Take each day as it comes and give yourself time and space to look after yourself.