Uncertainty can be overwhelming, and in moments of acute anxiety wise adages, such as “The only thing we know for certain is that everything will change” don’t offer immediate help. Here are a few useful tips to help you overcome overwhelm. Panic and anxiety are the thieves of choice and creative problem solving, and it’s important we learn how to deal with them.
- First stop your mind from ruminating on potentially catastrophic outcomes in the future by staying in the present moment.
The best way to do this is to anchor yourself in your breath and in your body. Stand up, plant your feet wide and firmly on the ground, soften and drop your shoulders, close your eyes and take five deep, slow, considered breaths in and out.
- Lean in and unpack carefully and consciously what it is that is making you the most fearful.
The best way to do this is to journal (either writing, or if you don’t enjoy writing then record notes into an electronic device) about how you are feeling, what you fear most and why. Saying your greatest fears out loud doesn’t make them come true, in fact acknowledging them robs them of their power.
- Watch your use of language.
Language is powerful, remain matter-of-fact when describing the challenges either to yourself or anyone else. There is no room for drama here – the way you talk about and frame things can influence the outcome. Be very disciplined with yourself about the words you choose – don’t feed the drama.
- Develop a plan of action.
Draw up a routine for the week that includes self-care (breathwork, journaling, meditation, exercise, nutrition, sleep and connection time with loved ones) as well work time divided into one or two hour chunks (dependent on your ability to focus) for planning and research, task lists and allocation with time lines, your current and most pressing mission statement, mind maps etc.
- Draw up a list of people who could assist.
Reaching out is hard, but essential. Make a list of who and what you may need in terms of mentorship, guidance, coaching, therapy or any other kind of assistance (professional or otherwise) that you may need. We all need a network – plan yours.
- First things first.
Evaluate what the most important things are to do first and set the rest aside for now. As my mother used to say to me “When faced with eating an elephant, the only way to do it is one mouthful at a time.”
Written by Gabi Lowe