Whether you are dealing with the thought of going back to the office after covid, trying to find a safe way to see friends and family, or planning for your kid(s) to go back to school this fall it all comes with some type of uncertainty. As we all know uncertainty can cause anxiety and uneasy feelings, not knowing what is going to happen makes a lot of us dwell on the “what could be” and the “what might be.” However there are many ways to help prevent and cope with the anxiety that uncertainty creates.
This article by NPR discusses a few great tips on how to ease anxiety during times of uncertainty. One great tip found in the article is to do something that you enjoy to help take your mind off what is happening around you – such as baking a cake, coloring, going for a walk, or anything else that allows you to enjoy the moment and forget the stress. Another great way to mitigate stress brought on by uncertainty is to practice mindfulness and even keep a gratitude journal as seen in this article by the Center for Creative Learning. Along with the previously discussed articles this article by the American Psychological Association notes that it is important to be kind to yourself in times of uncertainty as you are already dealing with enough you don’t need to blame yourself too.
This extensive article by HelpGuide explains how our brain can spiral in times of uncertainty. The article also discusses some great tips on how to handle that anxiety and mitigate stress during times of uncertainty. Some of the tips include challenging your need for certainty and control, focusing on the present situation instead of thinking about the future and what might happen, as well as managing your emotions. The Greater Good notes in their article Seven Ways to Cope with Uncertainty that acceptance is key in reducing stress and being able to move forward without hesitation. Being able to accept that a situation might change helps you to accept that change in the future and keeps you from worrying about the possible or inevitable change. Accepting the uncertainty of life is just as important as having a positive attitude in reducing stress. In this article by Psychology Today it is noted that it is important to remember that just because something is unexpected, does not make it bad – in other words, find the silver lining.
Not only do adults suffer from anxiety when it comes to the unexpected but so do children. These brief articles by Greater Good and BBC explain a few ways to help children prepare for the unexpected such as giving advanced warnings and priming them that things might change soon. Children need consistency so helping to prepare them for change is utterly important for their mental health. This brief article by Edutopia discusses some great ways to help children make it through times of change. Some of the tips include allowing children to explore and talk about their feelings, helping them to understand that the change isn’t their fault, and allowing them to find stability and consistency in their lives still.
Remember things are always changing, don’t let uncertainty get the best of you – prepare for the best, but acknowledge that things may not work out the way you want them to.