Coping with Uncertainty and Distressing Events
The world sure has given us a ton of nerve racking and unsettling events to cope with in the past year. And although Spring is right around the corner and that might bring you a little more hope, the seemingly never ending and worsening prevalence of Covid-19, the financial insecurity that has resulted from the pandemic, and the social and political upheaval swirling around us, have left many of us feeling frustrated, sad and fearful about what could happen in the coming weeks and months. Here are some suggestions for how you can protect your emotional and mental health during this distressing and uncertain time.
Check in with yourself
We can’t take care of ourselves if we don’t know what we’re feeling. It might be tempting to just try to ignore those distressing feelings you’re having but that usually leads to more problems. Pause and observe what you’re feeling as you absorb the current events. Research has shown us that simply naming what we’re feeling can reduce the intensity and impact of a distressing emotion.
Practice self care
If your body isn’t feeling good there’s no way you’re going to be able to cope with the distressing things happening in the world. So getting enough sleep, and eating and exercising in a balanced way are all more important than ever.
Focus on what you can control
It’s frightening to witness events that are outside of your control. Shifting your attention to the things you can control will help you feel better. That includes focusing on your day to day tasks and setting reasonable goals but also looking for concrete ways to contribute and make a difference in the causes you believe in.
Limit your news consumption
It’s natural to want to stay up to speed on what’s happening, but when you notice that it's making you feel worse, it’s time to take a break. Ask yourself “Is there really any more information I need right now to guide what I think or do or am I just confirming what I already know?”
Reach out for help
There are times when we all need a little help and support. Talking with friends and family members about how you’re feeling might seem simplistic but it can truly help. If your distressing emotions are getting in the way of your ability to function in your everyday life, or if you’re having feelings that feel dangerous or out of control, it’s probably time to seek professional help. You can read more here about how to decide if it’s time to see a therapist.
At the Center for Wise Mind Living we offer psychotherapy, medication management, coaching and educational workshops. All of our services are available remotely by video and we offer a sliding fee scale to make therapy affordable. In your first meeting with a therapist we’ll assess what’s going on and create a plan to get you back on track.
Written by: Erin Olivo, PhD
Image by Gift Habeshaw