May 22, 2020, by Shweta
Surviving in Uncertainty
Hello everyone! I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during these chaotic times. With uncertainty marring almost every aspect of most of our lives, here are my two cents on navigating unchartered waters and living with uncertainty.
For starters, embrace it. Some may call it giving up, I call it moving on. Strategy, organisation and optimism are all important tools in your arsenal but they are only as effective as the understanding of your personal situation. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the cliché and all its paraphrased versions; change what you can and accept the rest. Acceptance is also a well-known tool in cognitive behavioural therapy sessions used to fight anxiety as it’s known to help calm storms of angry, anxious thought patterns. At this point, I’ll admit that the title of this post is clickbait. You don’t have to thrive. In today’s climate, strive to survive. And survival comes with acceptance of the things that are outside your realm of control.
Secondly, break down your plan and when you’ve thought things are pretty organised, break them down further. Specificity is the key to bringing action plans to life. I’ll bring the age-old-adage back – change what you can and accept the rest – but this time, let’s focus on the former. Whether you’re in your formative years of higher education or on the brink of graduation, you will be facing a unique set of challenges. Timelines. Lists. Flow-charts. Whatever helps you visualise your goals and plans. This will also help you track your progress without feeling pressured to be productive every day. Remember that the goal is to maintain your physical and mental health. Anything else is a bonus. Therefore, charting progress will help you feel better about taking a few days off without your inner procrastination police making a visit.
Up next is my all-time favourite coping mechanism: aggressive optimism. For most of my life, I’ve been told to be less of an optimist and more of a realist. Of course, there are plenty of advantages to that but in today’s climate, it’s worth being a little hopeful, even if it’s about the littlest of things. Make a promise to yourself to find at least 3 things every day that make you smile. Be it family, friends, or time to sleep-in, trust me, there’s always a reason to be optimistic and hopeful. Better yet, find hope in the things and people you love, from faith to family.
Finally, ask for help if you are struggling. Conversely, lend a helping hand to those who may need extra support. Mental ill-health does not discriminate. With support seeming inaccessible, know there’s always someone who is willing to listen. If you find yourself needing professional advice, please refer to Public Health England’s guide to the public on mental well-being*. And know that no matter what, things do get better. As someone who has recovered from a severe depression, I found the light at the end of my tunnel and so will you.
Until next time,