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Coping With Uncertainty (February 2021)

UNCERTAINTY causes enormous stress on our mental health.

When we are unsure of what the future holds, or even what each week may present to us, our mental health and wellbeing comes under pressure.

Making plans that are then squashed by yet another lockdown, can cause a variety of emotions.

Be they anger, disappointment, fear or anxiety; they have an evident effect on our psyche.

ANGER might possibly be the first reaction to more restrictions on our freedom.

The temptation to hit out at the decision makers and the health advisors.

Are they being dictatorial or are they being sensible?

Both sides of the argument have fair cause.

DISAPPOINTMENT is bound to occur if plans had been made.

Weddings, christenings, funerals, births or birthdays – family gatherings in general that are disrupted or cancelled by another lockdown are sure to create disappointment.

The elderly or sick may feel disappointed in not being able to be visited by family.

Grandparents disappointed without being able to see their children and grandchildren.

While holidays seem something of the past, you might wonder if the freedom of travel will ever happen again.

Just as previous crises or wars have curtailed our freedoms, it is important to acknowledge that they do all eventually end.

The disappointment over cancelled overseas trips, will subside and once again, in time, it will be possible to reunite with family or friends, or simply take that long-awaited holiday.

Disappointment though, can leave us with a sense of loss.

Grief can develop from disappointment.

FEAR from the unknown can also cause enormous stress or anxiety.

The unanswered question “if life will ever return to normal?”

“Will I contract Covid-19 if I venture out from the safety of my home, or even my town?”

Fear of the virus spreading to our families – for some it might have already.

Fear spreads through our bodies like a “disease” in its own rights, it can stop us from thinking clearly, it can make us unpredictable.

ANXIETY may be another reaction to uncertainty.

Those already struggling with mental health issues may experience increased anxiety for what the future holds.

Anxiety can lead to a range of irrational behaviours.

What is certain, is that anxiety can get in the way of effective decision making or being able to cope on a day to day basis.

The debilitating effects of anxiety can be enormous and should not be underestimated.

What symptoms did you notice when the latest lockdown occurred?

They are naturally, different for everyone.

How does the media add to the stress of these constraints on your life?

Do the decisions of the government frustrate you?

Or are you in support of the actions taken by our leaders?

What decisions would you make if you were in charge?

With frustration, it is always easier to criticize than to create solutions.

However, thinking through possible solutions is a way to perhaps maintain positivity when all else seems so uncertain.

Do the pressures of social media have an influence on how you feel?

Is peer pressure a stimulus to your reactions?

Does the representation of the situation vary on each news channel you view?

How do you know if the decisions being taken are the right ones?

Especially when they negatively affect our freedom and lifestyle.

CONFUSION comes hand in hand with uncertainty.

So, without taking the time to delve deeply into the statistics or into the latest medical research it is easy to jump to conclusions through confusion or misinformation.

It is easy to judge without knowledge.

One thing for sure is that coping with uncertainty is not easy.

COPING WITH UNCERTAINTY has implications on our mental health and our ability to function with a well-balanced approach to life.

Seeking help to maintain that balance is a positive and proactive thing to do.

If you are struggling with uncertainty or with any of the feelings or emotions that it causes, seek help.

Talk to someone, a friend, a doctor, or a counsellor, anyone who will listen without judgement to your own personal struggles with uncertainty.

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