The current situation right now is putting everyone into panic mode worldwide. No matter what stage you’re at in dealing with uncertainty, we will get through this together.
Here are the stages that you are likely going through. And as time passes, this will start to make sense to you. I hope this article gives you a heads up on what's to expect even though it might not feel like it right now.
Stage 1: Denial
When chaos first arises, we don't want to believe that this is happening. We are in denial. This is too surreal. We don’t want to believe that the prediction someone forecasts is going to happen. It's like your worst nightmare has come true. You continue living life as normal because you don’t want to believe that a massive change is coming.
Stage 2: Believe & Panic
Now you start to believe that the massive change is coming. Something that looks like what we’ve seen in movies is happening in real life. Panic starts settling in. What is this change going to look like? How should I prepare for this? Am I going to be okay? You might rush out to buy 6 months worth of toilet paper (just kidding!). You look around and everyone is in panic mode.
Stage 3: Anxious
Your panic calms down and you are now silently anxious instead. What is going to happen in the near future? Am I going to lose my job? Are businesses going to be okay? Why does everything seem so bad? OMG more bad news!
When you’re in this stage, you might feel like thoughts are going around in circles. You go to bed feeling stressed. You wake up feeling drained. This is because your worries keep you up at night and you don’t get enough sleep. You read the news and feel more anxious. You talk to friends and see Facebook posts of those who are in the same stage and you feel even worse. It’s exhausting.
Stage 4: Accept & Let Go
After being in the anxious stage for a few weeks, you start to accept that this change is here to stay. The negative news is here to stay. Being anxious doesn’t make anything better but drives you insane and affects your mental health day in and day out. You realize that you can’t keep living in this state of fear. So you decide to slowly remove yourself from the negatives - from anything that provokes negative emotions within you. Once you do that, you realize that you start to feel better. You don’t wake up feeling drained and anxious anymore. You feel better by carrying on with your life and your daily routines.
Stage 5: Adjust
Besides sadness and loss which we all need some time to grieve over, change brings about the restructuring of things - restructuring of the ways things have been done, restructuring of systems, restructuring of patterns.
Change is scary because you don’t know what’s coming with that change. But if you know what will come out of that change, you may feel better. And that’s something we can prepare for.
The most certain thing in life is uncertainty.
And the best we can do is prepare our minds to be equipped with tools to deal with uncertainty.
This means we have to prepare our minds by practicing dealing with uncertainty and change over and over even when everything is stable in life. This is so that when a sudden change happens, it doesn’t shock us or drive us into paralysis.
Change becomes easier when we never let ourselves be “too comfortable” with anything - when we constantly remind ourselves that change can come any minute; when we continuously stay afloat; and when we practice staying in the now.
Whatever stage you’re in right now in dealing with the current situation, I want you to know that this too shall pass. If you’re in the Anxious stage right now, you might feel sensitive to everything around you. Everything around you annoys you. The message in this newsletter might even annoy you. But when you get past this stage and move over to the Acceptance stage, you will understand what I'm explaining here and you’ll feel more okay.
I hope that you’re taking care of your mental health as much as you do of your physical health. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I hope that you are able to enjoy your time at home.
Sometimes we can drive ourselves crazy just by repeatedly watching and reading things that make us feel worse. At the end of the day, we need our mental health to be strong in order to keep going and planning for new ways of life.
Eat well. Take your vitamins. Don’t forget to practice gratitude every day.