Learning To Live With Uncertainty

October 15, 2020

The rollercoaster that is 2020 continues to roll on through October, and with new restrictions being announced almost weekly the only thing that seems certain at the moment is that uncertainty is here to stay.  I know for many of us this can feel like we are fighting a losing battle, but there are definitely things we can put in place to keep us motivated whilst living this new normal.

When I made the sudden decision to retire from athletics, my life changed almost overnight. I was used to having long term goals and following a rigid training structure; I knew what I was doing, where I was going to be and what I was going to be eating for weeks in advance. After retiring, my life was full of uncertainty; what would I do for a career and how would I fill my previously busy days? What worked for me was to firstly embrace the uncertainty and not let it overwhelm me. Uncertainty can cause huge anxiety in our lives, but instead I chose to focus on what WAS certain in my life, my family and friends. I was also able to use all of the knowledge that I had built during my years as an athlete, which I knew would help me through this uncertain time, including mental resilience and good nutrition.

Secondly, I chose to focus on small goals. I would set myself a handful of minor goals to achieve each day. They didn’t need to be important, but mundane things like taking the dog for a walk and doing a shop; I would write them down and tick them off as I completed them.  I still do this today and I find it really works. The power of small goals is that they are easier to achieve, which means you can set them more often and will consistently see yourself achieving them. By doing this you will start to feel better about yourself and be motivated to do more.

Living in 2020 has certainly taught us that we can’t know for sure what’s round the corner. Being mindful and present can make a huge difference to our mental health during times of uncertainty. Worrying about an uncertain future can be extremely draining and stress-inducing. If possible try and make sure that among your daily goals you try and get out and about in nature and focus on the moment. I appreciate that this might be hard with regional restrictions, but a short daily walk can be hugely grounding and make a big difference to our mental health.

Finally it’s so important to remember that even when we are faced with uncertain times, the one thing we can control is our response, and this is our power and how we can take back control. Try to find positivity where you can and continue to make small changes that will have a meaningful impact in your life.  

Sally x

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