Coping with Uncertainty

“Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift. That is why we call it the present.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Aloha Colleagues,
My grandfather knew life was uncertain: Like the old joke, he always ate his dessert first. Sometimes I do,too!
Lately, though, life seems even more uncertain and challenging than usual. CoVid-19 persists and nurses are the vanguard of defense. Despite the rewards, this makes our already stressful lives even more intense.
A wise woman once told me that the cure for uncertainty is knowledge. Until that knowledge is revealed by research, we need to cope with the current uncertainty. The question is, how? We each have our own ways of coping but a little extra help can’t hurt. So, I am sharing some recommendations from the American Psychological Association:
  • “ Be kind to yourself. 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.
  • Reflect on past successes. Chances are you’ve overcome stressful events in the past—and you survived! Give yourself credit. Reflect on what you did during that event that was helpful and what you might like to do differently this time.
  • Develop new skills. When life is relatively calm, make a point to try things outside your comfort zone. From standing up to a difficult boss to trying a new sport, taking risks helps you develop confidence and skills that come in handy when life veers off course.
  • Limit exposure to 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.
  • Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Get out of the habit of ruminating on negative events.
  • Take your own advice. Ask yourself: If a friend came to me with this worry, what would I tell her? Imagining your situation from the outside can often provide perspective and fresh ideas.
  • Engage in self-care. Don’t let stress derail your healthy routines. Make efforts to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. Many people find stress release in practices such as yoga and meditation.
  • Seek support from those you trust. Many people isolate themselves when they’re stressed or worried. But social support is important, so reach out to family and friends.
  • Control what you can. Focus on the things that are within your control, even if it’s as simple as weekly meal planning or laying out your clothes the night before a stressful day.
  • Ask for help. If you’re having trouble managing stress and coping with uncertainty on your own, ask for help. “
As nurses, asking for help is not something we do readily, but can provide a huge relief when we do.
For more information, please visit
Stay safe, stay well, and as always
Mahalo nui loa for all you do!
Leslie
(Speaking of uncertainty: Unless we see an improvement in the pandemic data, we may not be able to sit together in the same room for our November conference days. BUT we will definitely convene! We have received accreditation to offer CE if we meet by video! Stay tuned for more information.)