Navigating Uncertainty: 10 Tips for Maintaining Balance
When I was taught math as a child, the sign for greater than “>” was eating the number and lesser than sign “<” faced away from the number. That image keeps returning as a sign as I process the reality our world is facing with Covid-19. Will anxiety, fear, or aggression be the “greater than” or “lesser than” focus?
Everyone wants answers to the things that lay outside of our control and this can produce feelings of “lesser than” positive. These are uncertain times. Here is a small guide to finding balance while navigating the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tip #1 Meet yourself where you are
We are going to feel energized and able some days and bowled over other days. The first step is to meet the emotion and mindset that is happening. Do I feel “greater than” the situation today? Is there a fear keeping me gripped in a “lesser than” frame of mind? Journal. Talk it out. Call a coach. Humans need to process what we’re feeling. It matters because you matter.
Tip #2 Tend to it
After discovering what we feel and think, tend to the needs that come up. This can be accomplished by refocusing more on what we have control over and less on worries that we cannot control. Move the mind back to the arena in which you can influence. It is here that change with personal choices make a difference. What nutrition can I incorporate today? Is there a positive activity to raise the spirits? Do I need quiet to hold my mind, body and spirit tenderly?
Tip #3 Be aware of irritations
This is sensitive time for everyone. It is best to limit irritations to “lesser than” events. Limit anything that leads thoughts toward unbalanced fear, anger, or depression. Be attentive to what ramps up and what calms down the mental field. Switching to distraction turns attention away from reality but does it provide peace? Binging on streaming media can distract thoughts but in excess produces irritation. What triggers can you limit this week?
Tip #4 Self-care
This is not just a buzzword. Epsom salt bath, walk at sunrise or sunset, meditation, scalp massage, foot massage, reading a book, having a cup of tea, playing favorite tunes, talking to a friend, ample rest, blueberries…What is your self-care? Now is the time to make this a “greater than” ever activity to manage stress. Make your personal list and try to do one thing every day. Notice the care while participating in the activity.
Tip #5 Do the opposite
If what you are doing does not work, do the opposite. Being loud? Try quiet. Feeling irritated? Seek calm. Fearful? Look around and notice safety. Focus on the goodness you seek as a guide.
“The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Tip #6 Be curious about what areas you can grow
This is a time where our strengths are tested, and our weaknesses can pop up. Why not learn more about focus, relationship building, empathy, or balance. If emotional regulation is a challenge, read an article to learn an effective practice for stability. Everyone has room for growth. This is the perfect time to pick one for a personal master class.
Tip #7 Lead yourself
What would being a leader in your own mind look like? How could this tip the scales toward balance? I imagine the greater than sign proceeding with confidence in the direction of my master list and mindset. Using the image of a leader can bring a stabilizing focus to the day. Reactions get transformed to choices. What choice am I ready to make?
“It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J. K. Rowling
Tip #8 Acceptance
We do not have a lot of answers right now. We may not know yet what is next. This is a very uncomfortable place. Noticing discomfort, acknowledging that there is not an answer yet, we can better accept what is in the moment. I do not know, yet. What do I know now in order to make the next right choice?
Tip #9 Ask for Support
What support can I ask for that will make this week a little easier? We need each other right now. Humans need humans in community. Ask for ways that enrich and maintain the distance needed. Be creative with those you love and support and encourage those around you. Check in on a neighbor. Call the elderly. Encourage a child.
“Be around people who can keep your energy and inspiration high. While you can make progress alone, it's so much easier when you have support.” — Joe Vitale
Tip #10 Hope
Hope is a powerful practice. It uses the parts of the brain to problem solve in creative ways and uplifts the whole self. All that we do daily is a practice. Why not choose the practice of hope? Allow this to be the sign of what is “greater than” as well as a way to release the “lesser than” moments.
“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” — Helen Keller