We live in uncertain times.
This is a phrase I’m sure you hear bandied about quite often in recent weeks. And it’s true – we live in uncertain times. The reality is that we have found ourselves in a situation that nobody in our modern society has ever experienced before.
These are uncertain times purely because … nobody has an answer for what to do next.
Not even me.
Most definitely not me.
This pandemic we find ourselves living in is all-consuming; you turn on the TV and it’s all you hear, look at the news and every story features a tally of the infections and deaths in your local area.
It’s easy to feel lost when things feel so uncertain around you. I’m not going to lie – I’ve been there too. In some ways, that makes this feel a little easier. It goes from being something felt by me to being something we all have in common.
But it is still good to feel certain during these uncertain times. And that’s exactly what we’ll do now. Here are 5 ways to feel certain in uncertain times.
Stick to a routine
Creating a routine and sticking to it is incredibly important, especially for your mental health – The Power of Routines in Your Mental Health [Psychology Today]
This one becomes especially important if you are one of the many millions across the globe who has found themselves suddenly unemployed. You’ve gone from being gainfully employed to feeling like you have nothing. It’s tough – I’ve been there, personally, so I know how you’re feeling.
When you find yourself in this situation, it’s easy to find yourself slipping into nothingness. I’m going to walk you through ways to get around this.
- As much as possible, stick to a regular Monday – Friday routine, even if you don’t have a regular Monday – Friday job.
- This means not staying awake until 3 AM every night and waking up at 2 PM the next day.
- This means you don’t spending your days doing nothing.
- Go to sleep at a reasonable hour, get up at a reasonable hour.
- Pick up different tasks that you can accomplish during what would have been your working hours. Keep yourself productive during these times.
I’ve always found that if I keep myself accomplished or achieve something, then I can feel like I’ve earned the right to be lazy later on — which makes it so much more satisfying too.
The same applies to whether you’re working from home. Stick to the same routines you would have had while you were in the office.
- Start at the usual time.
- Take your lunch break at the usual time
- Finish your workday at the usual time.
Stick to your routine and slowly you will feel a bit more certain about yourself and the world around you.
Before I continue – it’s important to familiarise yourself with your local health organisation’s advice regarding exercising outdoors during these uncertain times. If you do exercise outdoors, please ensure you follow proper social distancing guidelines.
I could spend hours discussing just how good exercising if for your mental health. Thankfully, there are numerous studies that will explain it so much better than I ever could, for example, The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise [Help Guide]
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should go out and run a marathon. The reality is that many people reading this (including the one writing it) cannot do such a thing. Even before the pandemic!
But this shouldn’t stop you from going out for a walk. Going out into the fresh air for even a few minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health.
Do some home workouts. You’ll find a lot on YouTube, you’ll find some apps that you can download to your phone. Do some research into what you want to achieve and then find channels/apps that can work around this.
You don’t need equipment – you don’t need a gym. There are many amazing exercises done using entirely around your own bodyweight. And there are some great communities based around this. If you’re interested, check out Reddit’s Bodyweight Fitness Community.
If you’d like to start running but aren’t sure where to start, then you could try some of the apps that are out there for you.
- The one that actually got me started on my running journey was Couch to 5K® by Active Network LLC (Google Play Store – Apple App Store)
- Do you want something a little different? Then Zombies, Run!, an interactive plot-driven running app is definitely for you (Google Play Store – Apple App Store)
Whatever exercise you decide to do, make sure you include it in your routine.
If you stick to the routine and maintain your discipline, then you’ll even start to notice the effects in your own body!
Create goals for yourself
Is there something you’ve always wanted to accomplish? A task you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have the time before? Well, now is most certainly the time to move towards achieving these.
They can be anything.
For example – the goal I have for myself is to run 5 KM in 23 minutes.
Once I achieve this, then my new goal will be to run 10 KM. When I achieve that, I’ll change my goal and keep going.
Here’s what I suggest you do:
- Sit down with a cup of tea, coffee, water, or whatever else you drink.
- Have a notepad and a pen/paper in front of you.
- Spend some time thinking about things you want to achieve
- Write down the list in whatever way you want – it can be from top priority to least, from least difficult to most.
- Once you achieve something on your list, cross it off.
You could do it in the note-taking app on your phone, on a website that tracks this, or even through some apps, of course. But I’ve always found there was a much more gratifying feeling when you do this manually with pen and paper.
It gives you a physical reaction to an immaterial feeling.
Once you’ve finished your set of existing goals, sit down and come up with a new bunch.
Keep pushing yourself as much is safe right now. Keep ticking off your list.
Try to recreate what you loved before
Depending on where you are in the world right now, then chances are that cafés, restaurants, and bars are closed around you.
One of my favourite things was popping into one of my local cafés, the Little Lane Coffee Company, and getting my weekend-ly cup of coffee.
Just because these things might be closed, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop enjoying what you loved about them.
Why not try recreating something that you can enjoy from the safety of your own home? Some possible examples are:
- Make your favourite cocktails from the alcohol you get from your shop
- Brew your own beer
- Bake bread from scratch
- Try to recreate a dish from your favourite restaurant
- Learn how to make coffees like your favourite café does (this is what I’m personally trying to do now)
- Make your own tea
The list of things you can try to recreate are endless. Yes, your first attempts will likely be nothing like what those people do. But you’ll get better.
Not only will you still be able to enjoy what you’ve been missing over the last few weeks, but you’ll also get to achieve a goal and also pick up a new skill in the long run!
Just know you’re not alone
This is probably the most important one.
As I said, nobody in our modern society knows what to expect from these uncertain times.
You’re going to struggle. You’re not going to feel normal. You’re not going to feel … certain.
And that’s OK.
None of us will. I most certainly don’t.
But the most important thing to remember that this isn’t going to be our forevers. If we follow all the advice from our local and national health officials, then it will be just a blip on what will go back to being a normal life.
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling uncertain. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling scared.
Right now – that’s the sanest reaction you could possibly have.
Just keep going every day. Keep looking for ways to improve your own life and to feel certain during these uncertain times.
You’ll be OK.
I’ll be OK.
We’ll be OK.
What are you doing to help you feel certain during these uncertain times? Let me know by emailing me at email@example.com.