Managing Circumstances Beyond Our Control
During times of uncertainty, it can be challenging to see the positives or to move beyond our fears and concerns to a place in which we can make sound decisions. Often, the unknowns may present problems which seem insurmountable; however, with a little ingenuity, we can figure out what actions we can and cannot take to make the best of the situations in which we find ourselves.
Managing Initial Shock and Emotions
Initially, when we experience powerful life-altering events, shock and fear may rise to the surface. Safety and security may be foremost on our minds as we try to navigate a path through uncertain circumstances. Questions about what actions would be best to take race through our minds, as confusion and uncertainty create a sense of panic. It may seem as though life does not provide us with the time we need to work through our emotions and thoughts before having to make decisions or to take actions. Even though it may seem as though events are pressing in, there is still time to assess situations before making impactful decisions. When feeling the pressure, you may not be in the best state of mind to make clear decisions. If it is at all possible, wait at least 24 hours prior to making a decision about something that could greatly impact your life. Decisions under pressure can lead to undesired results because emotions can get in the way. By taking that step back, you are giving your mind and soul the opportunity to further process the information without reacting solely based on emotion or fears.
After the Initial Shock
Once we have worked through the initial impacts, shock, and fearful emotions, there can still be many unknowns we need to work through that can be impeded by worries about long-term outcomes and what our lives will be like in the future. With circumstances beyond our control and no immediate solutions to return to what we once knew, creativity can be used to find solutions.
One Step at a Time
Approach tasks and decisions one step at a time. If you do not have all the information you need, try to find out more through research or learn to work with what you have. Look for alternatives. Be creative with your solutions. If you are having a hard time seeing alternatives, ask for help from your friends, loved ones, and trusted advisors. Seek out expert counsel and do your research. Instead of getting stuck thinking about the problem, look toward solutions. As a small example, I found myself being very creative when trying to figure out how to make the most effective face masks. Even though I have used a sewing machine for more than 25 years, I got mine out, re-read the directions, and worked my way through a prototype mask after researching patterns and the best materials on the internet. I asked my mother, who is here on earth, for help with the design and best practices for sewing. Together, we came up with a pattern that incorporated slivers of cut up aluminum pans for the nose pieces protected by bias tape (which I did not even know what that was before this) to prevent the metal from slicing through the material. We used a cotton blend fabric I found in my attic for the front and a non-woven material I found in my basement storage for the back. I dug through crafting materials to find solutions for looping the masks over our ears or to tie around our heads. Finding what we needed in the house was a bit like a scavenger hunt; however, we were able to successfully make the masks with what we had on hand. Friends have made them by cutting up sheets, inserting a coffee filter between the layers, and using elastic hair ties for the ear loops. Solutions do exist, we just need to use a little creativity and ingenuity to find them, and while they may not be the perfect solutions, they very well may be the ones that help you to get through uncertain times knowing you tried and did your best.
Maintaining a State of Calm
When living through times of great uncertainty, maintaining a sense of calm can be challenging. There will be good days when you are working with the circumstances and taking positive actions. There will also be days when your worries build up causing upset and anxiety. This is to be expected. Allow yourself to work through your emotions; however, do your best not to let your worries and fears take over your mindset. Getting stuck in a pattern of indecision is a sign of allowing fears to take over. This can lead to inaction and unintended consequences. Actively research solutions and actions you can take. By taking these steps, no matter how small, it will help you to move forward. Moreover, acknowledge your feelings and recognize where they are coming from, but then remind yourself of all that you do have that you are grateful for in your life, whether it is your health, the roof over your head, the food on your table, the clothes on your back, your friends and family, your pets, etc. If your emotions are overwhelming you, take your mind off the issues causing you concern by partaking in activities that allow you to relax, such as reading a book, playing a game, trying a new recipe, watching a movie, volunteering to help others, working on a craft or hobby, meditation, talking with a friend or family member over the phone or video chat, listening to music or dancing, cleaning, yard work, or any activity that gives your mind the break it needs to be able to think a little more clearly when you get back to working on solutions.
Knowing You are Not Alone
It is important to know you are not alone during uncertain times. It can be very challenging when we feel as though there is no one there for us in our times of need. Reach out and ask for help when you need it. Not only do you have a network of family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, pets, community members, and more, but also your Heavenly Support Team. They are with you every step of the way and will help you in any way they can. Take comfort in their presence. Know they love you and want you to succeed. Ask for their help and wait for their answers regarding actions you can take. The answers will come in the form of epiphanies, urges to take positive action, seeming coincidences which lead you to be somewhere at the right time and place, helpful messages through music that plays in your head, and more.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others
While it can be difficult at times to let go of your worries and concerns, do your best to be kind to yourself and others. We are all in this together and we are all doing our best to work through the issues as they arise. Give yourself the time to rest when needed, especially if you are feeling an increase in stress. This will not only be a kindness for you, but also for others, as pent up emotions due to stress may come out when you least expect it and toward people who have done nothing to warrant the anger and distress. If you feel strong emotions rising, try to temporarily remove yourself from the situation which is causing the distress. Count to 10 before reacting or, if possible, take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth while telling yourself that everything will be alright. Practicing meditation on a daily basis will help to establish a longer-lasting state of calm.
Prayers for You
As we go through these uncertain times, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there and remember to take everything one day at a time, one step at a time. We will get through this much stronger and better than before. You are a beautiful light in this world. Do not let uncertain times dim that light or make you believe circumstances cannot or will not improve. They will improve. With patience, creativity, love, understanding, and faith, we can work together toward solutions while supporting one another along the way.
With Love and Light,
Karen T. Hluchan