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Dealing with Uncertainty

Updated: Jan 12

Dealing with Uncertainty
Dealing with Uncertainty Infographic

In a time when our whole world has been turned upside down, dealing with uncertainty has taken a whole new form.


A situation where the outcome is unknown is terrifying for some. And the feeling of not knowing needs to be numbed out and better left suppressed. Avoidance for most people is an easy concept with little to no consequences. But for others, a chemical approach is a much more preferred method.


So what happens if I use mood-altering substances to avoid my feelings and situation? Quite put, you are doing nothing. And nothing changes if nothing changes. Not dealing with how I’m feeling leaves room for them to pop up again and again. The default way will be the quick fix of taking something to feel better or not feel at all. The problem with this, it opens Pandora’s Box to problems that might have long-term consequences.


Let's look at the story of Joe:

Joe is an average guy, a married father with a nice job and generally very content with his life. He likes spending time with family and friends and enjoying a good party whenever there is one. Every night he has a beer or two and whenever he goes big he doesn’t necessarily like the feeling of a hangover but not enough for him to take it easier next time.


Joe has been stuck at home for weeks with the lockdown and at first, he welcomed the downtime. But over time, he got irritable with his wife and kids simply because his routine of going to work every day had been interrupted. A lot of us place a value on our productivity and sitting at home day in and day out doing mundane household chores starts feeling like Groundhog Day. His few beers a night start increasing and before he knows it he’s run out. Irritability increases and he starts taking his frustration out on his family. With the extension of the lockdown, Joe’s work informs him there will be implications with their salaries for the foreseeable. Now added to his frustration, is the reality of financial insecurities. Fear sets in on a whole other level. Joe is not a talker, so if he is not snapping at someone, you’ll find him isolating, staring into space, completely quiet and reserved.


There are a few ways Joe can handle his situation. He can find a way to stock up his bar fridge and drown his sorrows. Avoid his situation and the way it is making him feel. But the implications of this can have devastating effects. Suddenly he becomes completely despondent, his wife is left handling everything in the household. She becomes resentful and makes her feelings known. It leads to continuous bickering. Suddenly the fights are not about just his drinking and isolation. All the little things that have been bottling up over the years are thrown into the mix.


Life barely changes back to how they were. The lack of sufficient income has put a huge dent into their savings. Everything they had planned on doing would have to wait. Joe finds himself looking for excuses not to go back home and ends up at bars after work. Things have completely spiralled out of control.


Or, he can accept his situation and trust that this is a situation completely out of his control and try to think of alternative solutions to make up for his loss of income. He can take solace in the fact that eventually things will get better and this is not a permanent thing. He distracts himself by joining in with the household activities and spends the evenings with his wife sharing his feelings. And in doing this, he doesn’t feel alone.


The purpose of this example is to illustrate the implications of our situation changing at any given time. And yes, this is based on a worldwide epidemic and chances are we might not see something like this in our lifetime again. But the reality is our situations are never guaranteed. And by not dealing with our feelings as and when things arise may lead to dire consequences. We may never learn how to have healthy relationships and start becoming victims of our circumstances. We start believing that we will never have a better job or a happy healthy marriage. So again, nothing changes if nothing changes. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and our feelings and work through them. Taking the detour may very well lead to a dead-end eventually.


There are a lot of misconceptions about addiction and alcoholism and one of them is it will never happen to me. We meet a lot of people who have been able to function normally for many years without it being an issue. Now and again things might spiral out of control but eventually, they get back on track. Truth is, it then takes one significant event to tip them over the edge and suddenly the floodgates are open. It is clear to see that their behaviour over the years was avoidance, being ‘strong’ for the most part. Kept up an appearance which served them well for the most part. But the exterior started cracking and they simply do not have the strength to keep it up anymore.


So how can you help yourself when dealing with uncertainty?


  • First and foremost, talk about it. If you feel uncomfortable seeking professional help, find a friend or family member you can confide in. Be wary of those who thrive on drama and negativity. Speak to someone who shows compassion for your situation but helps you come to a solution to your problem. If the person makes you feel more negative towards your situation afterwards, it may keep you stuck.


  • Be proactive. Take a proactive stance in reshaping your daily habits for a more positive and enriching lifestyle. Embrace the opportunity to introduce beneficial changes by seeking out wholesome distractions that contribute to your overall well-being. Proactively nurturing a healthier routine involves exploring new and constructive activities that can add depth and fulfilment to your daily life. So, embark on this journey of positive transformation, where proactivity becomes the catalyst for cultivating a more vibrant and balanced existence.

  • Make a list of things you can do to pick yourself up. It is difficult to be creative and come up with ideas when you are not in the best of moods. Then pick something off the list next time you feel down or obsessing over your situation.


  • Uncertainty can lead to fear. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Remind yourself of it when you are fearful. You know you might not be in control and not being in control is something that freaks you out but more often than not, the things you tell yourself are going to happen never does. We tend to think of worst-case scenarios in moments like these when in fact the outcome was far less serious than what you imagined.


  • Journal. Writing down your feelings might help you put things into perspective. Engage in the therapeutic practice of journaling, where the act of putting pen to paper allows you to articulate and explore the intricacies of your emotions. Delve into the profound benefits of recording your thoughts, as this mindful exercise not only helps you gain clarity but also provides a valuable perspective on the various aspects of your inner world. Embrace the power of expressive writing to navigate through your feelings and foster a deeper understanding of yourself.


  • Meditate. Just sitting in a quiet spot and tuning out helps clear your mind. Try starting with some guided meditation with your earpieces in if you struggle to switch off. Soon you’ll be comfortable with the silence. We think of way better solutions to our problems when our minds are clear.


  • Share responsibilities. Foster a collaborative approach by distributing responsibilities among yourselves, creating a sense of teamwork and efficiency. Craft a comprehensive daily schedule that not only streamlines the sharing of chores but also allocates dedicated moments for both individual 'Me-time' and nurturing 'Us-time'. This intentional structuring not only ensures the smooth running of your shared responsibilities but also prioritizes the importance of personal and relational well-being within the framework of your daily routine. Embrace the synergy of cooperation, self-care, and quality time as you weave a harmonious tapestry of balance and connection in your lives.


  • Tag if you need a time-out. Establish a communication strategy by introducing the concept of tagging for a time-out. Speak openly with your partner about calling a time-out when things feel overwhelming. This allows both of you to step back, reassess, and regroup during challenging situations, fostering a supportive environment for navigating difficulties together.


  • Speak up. If something is bothering you, talk about it. It’s easy to see how people do not address the things they dislike build up into resentments. If you feel you are doing most of the lifting, ask your partner to sit down with you for a nice cup of coffee and raise the topic of your concern respectfully. On the flip side, if you easily get annoyed and address the issues immediately, you’ll likely find that your concerns are not being heard. The way we express ourselves will determine its effectiveness. If you find that you could’ve handled the situation better, it is not too late to make that cup of coffee and apologise. Try talking about it when you are both calm.


  • Stay connected. Nurture meaningful connections in your life, recognizing the inherent human need for social interaction. Cultivate a strong sense of belonging by actively staying in touch with both friends and family members. Engaging in regular communication not only enriches your relationships but also contributes to a supportive network that enhances your overall well-being. Embrace the power of connection as a vital component of a fulfilling and balanced life, where the bonds you forge become pillars of strength, understanding, and shared experiences.


  • Stay faithful. Cultivate unwavering faithfulness in your journey, particularly if you identify as a person grounded in religious or spiritual principles. Take intentional moments to reinforce your commitment to staying faithful, drawing strength from your beliefs and values. By regularly reminding yourself of the importance of fidelity, you not only deepen your spiritual connection but also anchor yourself in a sense of purpose and resilience. Embrace the profound aspects of your faith, allowing them to guide you in navigating life's challenges with steadfast devotion and unwavering conviction.


  • And most of all, this too shall pass. Try and look at the things you can be grateful for. We often feel that our circumstances are detrimental and nothing will ever be the same again. But chances are, someone is worse off than you. Be thankful for what you do have, rather than the things you would’ve or could’ve had if the situation was different.

If you do feel that when times are tough you tend to follow the route of using alcohol or other substances or behaviours to avoid your situations or feelings, look at our blog about addiction. Remember, there are different types of severities so even if you feel you have a minor problem, please seek help before it is too late.


Summary:

Explore effective strategies for navigating uncertainty and maintaining mental health resilience. Learn from Joe's story about avoiding pitfalls during challenging times. Discover tips for proactive communication, healthy distractions, and staying connected. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol or substance-related challenges, find insights and seek help. Embrace gratitude and recognize that, despite uncertainties, this too shall pass. Prioritize your mental well-being and discover ways to build resilience in the face of life's unpredictability.

Dealing with Uncertainty

In a world turned upside down, the blog emphasizes the challenge of dealing with uncertainty. The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming for some individuals, leading to various coping mechanisms.

Impact of Mood-Altering Substances

Illustration with Joe's Story

Misconceptions about Addiction

Coping Strategies for Dealing with Uncertainty

Importance of Gratitude and Faith

By expanding on these points, the blog provides a comprehensive guide on navigating uncertainty, offering insights into the psychological and behavioural aspects of coping with challenging situations.


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