This first half of 2020 has been a time of uncertainty and change with the Australian bushfires earlier this year followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. People across our country and the world have been significantly impacted. Dealing with uncertain times and lots of change is not easy and can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and helplessness. Many of us have experienced study, employment, financial, relationship, physical and mental health challenges this year that we didn’t expect we’d have to face.
As humans we long for security. We need to feel safe and have a sense of control over our lives and well-being. Fear and uncertainty can leave us stressed, anxious, and powerless over what direction to take and how to help ourselves and others.
We are mindful that there have been lots of changes at CQUni. Students have transitioned to online study which has changed how we connect as a community and an organisation. For a lot of you it’s been a time of isolation. Keep reading for some expert advice…
Coping with uncertainty by turning inwards and asking for help
No one can avoid the unexpected, however there are ways to help you cope better during uncertain times:
Stop and take time to breathe slowly and deeply and tune into your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations
Be kind to yourself and others
Everyone deals differently with uncertainty, so be patient and compassionate towards yourself and your family, friends and peers. Acts of kinds are in our control and help us connect with others.
Focus on what you can control
Identify what is bothering you and consider which aspects of the problem you can do something about. Start to problem solve and come up with ways to deal with the issue. Take it an hour and a day at a time if you are feeling overwhelmed by the big picture.
Reflect on your past successes
This is probably not the first time you’re facing uncertainty, and you have coped and grown from the experience. Reflect on what you’ve done well in the past to overcome challenges, your personal strengths you can draw on (such as being flexible, creative and adaptable) and the lessons you can use in the current situation.
Develop new skills
Try to do things outside your comfort zone; a new sport, a new course, a new approach for reaching your goals.
Engage in self-care
Keep a healthy routine. Make efforts to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Many people find practices such as yoga, and meditation useful to manage and keep calm during uncertain times
Focus on the present moment
Uncertainty is often centred on worries about the future and all the negative things you can anticipate happening. You can learn to purposely focus your attention on the present through Mindfulness. Take time to focus on what’s happening around you. Notice and say to yourself 5 things you can see, 5 things you can physically feel (like your feet in your shoes) and 5 things you can hear.
You might surprise yourself and observe something new that you hadn’t noticed. If you’re using screens a lot, take a moment to refocus on what you can see out the window.
With regular practice, mindfulness can help change your preoccupation with future worries to a stronger appreciation of the present moment—as well as help calm your mind, ease stress, and boost your overall mood.
Seek support from those you trust
Social support is important, so reach out to family and friends, University peers and staff.
Ask for help
If you’re feeling anxious and not coping well with all the uncertainty the changes are carrying, reach out and ask for help.
The CQU Counselling team provide confidential, professional support in a caring and compassionate space for you to speak freely without judgment. Contact us via phone – 07 4930 9456 or email email@example.com to arrange a zoom, phone or email appointment.
Check out the list of student support services CQUni offers.