Tools to Cope with Change and the Unknown
Change can cause unease and uncertainty, it’s normal
With the nature of the current global pandemic and social distancing restrictions being put in place, there’s been a lot of change in the world we currently live in.
The truth is, change isn’t always a simple thing to grasp. In fact, it is within human nature to be creatures of habit, meaning all types of change, big or small, positive or negative can disrupt our sense of comfort and stability in our lives.
However, according to GoodTherapy’s Dr. Mona Fishbane, humans are also creatures of change and adaptability, which, in her words, is “the secret to our success as a species.”
So if you’re feeling uncertain as a result of the current climate, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. But on top of that, it’s also crucial to keep in mind that there are plenty of ways to address and shift the uneasy feelings you have so you feel more positive about the changing world around you.
Grieving what has changed and what’s to come
While grief may be a feeling you associate with loss, in times of widespread change, such as a global pandemic, it can surface in a number of different ways.
One way is grieving about what has already changed. This could be the change within your own life, in your neighbourhood, in the country you live in and even what is being reported throughout the world.
Similarly, you could be experiencing feelings of ‘anticipatory grief’, which refers to an uncertain feeling about the future and what’s to come.
David Kessler, an author and grief expert, told the Harvard Business Review that these feelings of anticipatory grief are a result of feeling a loss of safety in the world we live in. Because COVID-19 is something we cannot see or touch, our minds are aware that something is happening but also confused as it is unrecognisable to us physically.
As a result, many people have been left feeling on edge, angry about what they can’t control, resigned to the fact that worse is coming, withdrawn or avoidant of people around them, as well as generally exhausted from feelings of anxiety.
However, these feelings can be changed.
Ways to combat worries about the future
According to Healthline, there has been a widespread sense of grief of a loss of what was once normal and what is still yet to come. But there are ways to navigate this form of grief through both mental and physical action.
It is important to get in touch with how you are feeling and acknowledge the uncertainty you may have. Through confronting your emotions, there is a better chance that you will be able to work towards accepting the changes around you rather than trying to control or resist them.
Similarly, remind yourself that the current circumstances are only temporary and you will get through it. Don’t forget to tell yourself that you have control over some things in your life, such as the friendships you have and healthy lifestyle choices like your eating habits and the exercise you do. These healthy lifestyle choices are not only in your control but can be beneficial towards your mental health.
You can help to manage your stress or anxiety with relaxing activities you enjoy like walking, cooking, arts and crafts, meditation, or yoga. Sometimes doing something more hands and which requires concentration on may help to distract you from those worrying thoughts that go around and around in your head like a carousel out of control.
Ask for support
Also remember, there is support out there if you need it. Whether you reach out to a friend, family member, or even a professional, keeping up human contact can be a simple way to combat any grief you may feel. This can help you focus on the positives around you, rather than letting your unease or uncertainty take over.
If you are finding it hard to manage your worries, reach out to beyond blue, and have a chat with someone. They are there to listen and help, no matter how big or small your concern is.
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief