5 top tips to help during uncertain times

So…. we’re living in a pandemic and this one doesn’t seem as easy as the board game version to overcome. 

Things are changing incredibly rapidly, and I think we’re all feeling at times like we’re not taking it seriously enough and at times like we’re taking it too seriously. That’s understandable, and it’s OK.

I’m writing this post to share 5 key things that are helping me at the moment that may help you too. If it does help you, and you think it may help others, please do pass it on. 

1. Check your information sources

I’ve been reminded of my librarian background a lot recently, particularly in conversations with family and friends who may not have been as fortunate as me and haven’t had the education I have to help me check information sources. I used to run courses for university students to help them not just search for information, but ensure it’s from a credible source. In today’s world and especially at the moment we’re not short of information, but so much of it is inaccurate. How do we know what’s worth paying attention to? Some things that can help include:

  • Check the source of everything (including asking people where they’ve heard the information from, and where possible verifying it yourself)
  • Bear in mind many news sources are biased, so if something has originated from a news source, don’t take it as fact (check elsewhere)
  • Aim to go back to the original source of the information to check it’s been reported accurately (e.g. someone may refer to NHS guidance but it’s always best to go to the original) 

Another thing I’m finding helpful at times is to reduce the amount of information I receive. I’ve reduced the amount of time I’m spending on social media, I don’t check news too often, and I sometimes change conversation topics if there’s lots of speculation or assumption as I don’t think it helps anyone.

2. Follow relevant guidance

This can be a tricky one as it’s changing all the time and it seems an obvious thing but some people may not be aware of the current guidance, may not think it applies to them, or may find it unclear. This is linked to the point about misinformation too, as some “guidance” may not be official guidance. I stick to government, WHO, and NHS as the sources that I check daily (or maybe 2-3 times a day but not too often) to see what the current guidance is and I do my best to follow it for my own health and that of others.

3. Focus on things within your control

This is something I’ve learnt over the last few years as I’ve paid more attention to my emotional intelligence and looked after myself better. At the moment there are many things we don’t know, and may well be for a long time (timescale is another thing we don’t know!) but there are always things within our control and those are the things it serves us to focus our energy on. Things like what we do, how we respond to things, who we communicate with, and how we support others. 

4. Practice gratitude and spread love

Whatever our situation, however bleak sometimes things seem, there are always things to be grateful for. One recent suggestion shared with me is to think of three things to be grateful for each time you wash your hands (which you’re probably doing more of at the moment!). As we shift our focus to those things, we tune into our heart and focus on positive emotions. I’ve realised some of the incredible things I have to feel grateful for that sometimes I can take for granted, and I’ve seen such wonderful acts of kindness in my communities. I have a necklace I wear most days which reminds me to spread the love and I’ll be doing that as much as I can. Sharing this blog post is one act of kindness, both to myself and to others it may help.  

5. Embrace opportunities

With any changing circumstances, there are always opportunities. In the UK, yesterday was Mother’s Day. I was due to be going for a meal with my mum, Grandma, and siblings. A few days before we chose to postpone and as it turned out the restaurant was closed anyway. Instead, we all downloaded an app and got together virtually. I’ve never video called my Grandma before and it’s been a long time since we played games together but yesterday we all chatted and played games through the app. Maybe you’re spending more time at home at the moment and that brings opportunities of things you can do at home. Whatever your circumstances, what opportunities are there that you can embrace? 

So there you have it; my top 5 things keeping me sane at the moment. I’ll confess, sometimes I’m letting worries creep in and sometimes I’m spending too long checking news sources, but as soon as I catch myself I do my best to bring myself back to these simple points which always help.

What things are helping you at the moment? 

Look after yourself ????