Life has been a wild ride recently.
There have been some incredible highs and some scary lows. The ground feels like it has been shifting beneath my feet. Part of what’s been a challenge is feeling like nothing is certain. It’s an unpleasant feeling for someone who prefers stability and predictability. While external uncertainty is hard, it’s internal uncertainty that feels even more challenging.
External uncertainty could mean you don’t know how to plan your life because the rules keep changing or what you once thought you could count on, you no longer feel sure of. Here’s an example of external uncertainty: The many things that have changed as a result of the pandemic might make you less certain of making plans for a trip or a night out with others.
Internal uncertainty is more about feeling your internal compass shift. It might be about a change in the way you see the world, yourself or even the thought of losing someone central in your life. Internal uncertainty can make everything feel off balance.
It’s in these moments of uncertainty, I remind myself to return to baseline – go back to what I know helps. This is not rocket science. We all know this stuff. It’s just about doing it. Returning to the basics helps restore balance.
Returning to the Basics
Practice a good bedtime routine which might mean turning off screens well before sleeping, limiting caffeine, having a bath, listening to something soothing before bed, journaling to get your thoughts out before trying to sleep or using lavender oil for its calming properties. Do the things you know have helped you get good sleep in the past.
Get outside (if you can) and move your body. This will help you feel better and it will help with sleep too.
Stop eating the unhealthy food that calls to you but makes you feel bad. Forget beating yourself up for not doing it perfectly. Just start with something you know is healthy. Pick one thing. Perhaps that’s focusing on drinking enough water if you’ve slipped with that habit. Maybe it’s eating a salad at lunch or starting up your intermittent fasting again. Choose one thing and start implementing it. When it’s a regular habit add something else. Don’t let yourself fall into the all or nothing thinking of perfectionism. (I won’t do anything until I can do everything).
Return to the things that help keep you mentally fit. Maybe that’s a gratitude practice, mindfulness or meditation. Perhaps it’s a devotional reading or doing a crossword every day. It might be daily journaling. What will help calm and focus your thoughts?
Remind yourself of what matters to you. When things are shifting under our feet, it’s easy to lose focus on everything except what is shifting. We can find ourselves fixated on fear, uncertainty or the discomfort of not knowing what’s coming next. Pause. Breathe. Take time to ground yourself. Wherever you are is okay. Take time to reflect on your values. What do you need to do differently? Who or what needs more attention?
If you would like help connecting to your core values, working through a time of uncertainty or building up your personal mental fitness practice, please connect with me about coaching. I’d be happy to have a conversation and see if coaching is a fit for you.
During my time working with Sue, I learned a lot about myself and some unconscious behaviours I was holding onto. She helped me to get clear on my goals, in a supportive way. Sue is a very empathic listener. I felt comfortable sharing my thoughts with her; she was a great support system for me. I highly recommend her as a coach.Allison, HR professional