In the last few months, the world as we know it has been completely overturned. In what feels like a sudden crash of social and economic order, COVID-19 has shattered everything familiar about 21st-century living.
The very fabric of daily living has been torn to shreds. In just a few weeks, our health care systems have been brought to the breaking point.
COVID-19 is the 21st Century’s Global Catastrophe
History tells us there have been other global tragedies of epic proportions. We’ve had two World Wars, experienced widespread famine, climatic events like hurricanes and earthquakes, and waves of deadly diseases, and even pandemics.
But at present, COVID-19 is our global catastrophe; it’s our tragedy at this moment in time, and the dominating thought in our minds. And when a catastrophe so sudden, so unexpected, and so all-encompassing threatens the way we live, it’s only natural to feel a profound sense of uncertainty.
To find clarity in the face of uncertainty when facing high levels of ambiguity, you need to do two apparently opposite things: First, get comfortable with the idea of not having all the answers, and second, take steps to reduce the uncertainty.
How to find Clarity in the face of Uncertainty Part 1:
First, you must get comfortable with the unknown.
Even under normal circumstances, many of us struggle to embrace uncertainty as an essential part of life. If you are a planner and fixer, it will be challenging to accept that you can’t plan your way to everything right now.
If you are struggling with this, recognize that there is only so much you can do right now. And, not having the answers does not make you powerless, it only makes you human. Things will unfold soon enough. In the meantime, focus on the things you do have control over right now.
Here are three things you can to get more comfortable with the unknown:
Turn off the noise –
Limit your access to COVID-19 news. When we’re stressed about something, it can be hard to look away. But compulsively checking the news only keeps you wound up. Try to limit your check-ins and avoid the news during vulnerable times of day, such as right before bedtime or first thing in the morning.
Be kind to yourself –
The way you treat yourself is under your control, so take a load off and congratulate yourself for doing the best you can. Some people are better at dealing with uncertainties than others, so don’t beat yourself up if your tolerance for unpredictability is lower than a friend’s. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve, and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
Connect with others –
Stay socially connected while maintaining physical distancing and the stay at home order. When we’re isolated, cut off from others, and stuck alone in our head, our ability to cope with uncertainty erodes. Reaching out to others is the best way to maintain emotional balance and weaken the pull of runaway thoughts of uncertainty.
Next week, we’ll discuss part 2 of how to find clarity in the face of uncertainty – Find a light source!
Now I’d like to hear from you. How are you finding clarity in the face of COVID-19 uncertainty? Please share in the comments below. Until next week be well and be healthy!