01/05/20 Uncertainty appears to be the only certainty

I have talked about managing uncertainty a few times before, but as this pandemic continues I think it is important to bring it up again. Uncertainty is the most difficult thing to deal with during this current crisis.

Even though life in whole is uncertain, in normal circumstances we can use our past experiences and our knowledge of our world to project and predict what may happen next. Most of the time this works out, but to be honest if it does not work out how we predict that is fine. It is just that we feel comfortable in a familiar environment in familiar circumstances to be able to project and predict. There is very little at the moment that is familiar, so we have little experience or knowledge to refer to, to come up with predictions, therefore creating uncertainty. Uncertainty makes us feel unsafe and lost.

Coming to terms with uncertainty is incredibly difficult if not impossible. What can help though is to create new structures and patterns in our life. Patterns are where we get our sense of certainty from they give us comfort.

I try to go to bed at the same time as I would normally do if I was at work and try to get up at a similar time. Over the past week I have got dressed as soon as I have woken up and then have my breakfast, then take the dog for a walk. I will then read for a few hours, have my antibiotics and then have lunch, I will then watch a programme on the TV for an hour or so before watching the daily update and preparing tea. I then watch the news, have a wobble and speak to my mum. I will then take the dog for a short walk if I feel up to it, watch some TV and then go to bed. During these uncertain times I have tried to give my day some structure that can more or less remain even if I am not feeling well. This structure gives me comfort, it gives me an anchor to hang on to during the day.

Next week my structure will change slightly as I introduce work and physio rehab into my day, before I return to a more sustained structure in a few weeks, when I return to work full-time.

My life is still full of uncertainty, mainly not knowing how I am going to feel from one day to the next. I have never known an illness quite like this. I have woken up today feeling dreadful, then I have had moments during the day when I have felt fine. I have noticed I have been much more upbeat today, whilst at the same time really struggling with a painful chest and finding it quite difficult to breathe. The pattern of this virus just does not follow anything I have experienced before, therefore I am unable to project and predict how I will feel next week. I am now beginning to accept that level of uncertainty and latch onto the simple structure I have put in place. This is no doubt why I have been feeling upbeat.

Ask yourself what structure does you life have now? How can I build a routine and structure that will help me with my anxiety about the uncertainty? Then build a routine and structure to your day and week.

Have a lovely weekend, stay home, and stay safe.

Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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