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Managing uncertainty

Wellbeing > COVID-19 > Managing uncertainty

These are exceptionally uncertain times. It’s not clear when we might get a vaccine, whether infections will fall or rise, or what the state of the economy will look like in a few months or a year’s time. Few of us are accustomed to this level of uncertainty, so it’s important to have some strategies to manage it. Here are our top tips on focussing on the present and maintaining perspective in these times:

Keeping a Journal

Whether it’s a spiral notebook, or a Word document on the computer, recognize that we are living through an historic event and it would be very interesting to look back someday on the coronavirus pandemic from your own perspective. Jotting down thoughts and feelings is also therapeutic, as writing allows you to offload feelings of anxiety, sadness, fear, or stress onto a piece of paper. This practice releases the effects of these emotions on your psychological and emotional health.

Staying Flexible

With the coronavirus crisis, no one really knows how it will unfold over time. This virus is novel, meaning it has never existed before. As we move through the cascading events together, it is good to remain as mentally flexible as possible. Try to avoid having firm expectations about how long we will have to remain at home or how the virus affects people. We will do better psychologically if we roll with events as they unfold, rather than having rigid expectations.

Stay connected with your values, don’t let fear or anxiety drive your interactions with others, we are all in this situation together.

Taking time to relax and focus on the present

This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future, and can improve wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources go to the NHS Mindfulness page.

If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature into your home. Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside you can try to get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit and see out of a window and get some natural sunlight, or get out into the garden if you can.

Finally, you may find our dedicated guide on relaxation techniques helpful.

Practice mindfulness

Acknowledging that feeling anxious at this point in time is normal. Fear and anxiety are adaptive responses as they alert us to the fact that we need to take appropriate action to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy

Becoming aware of the present moment can help you enjoy the world around you more and understand yourself better. When you become more aware of the present moment, you begin to experience afresh things that you have been taking for granted.

For a full guide to what mindfuless is, how it can help, and how to practise it, click here.

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