Are you going through a time of uncertainty and change?
Are you perhaps moving cities, leaving a job or a toxic relationship?
Whatever it is, during times of uncertainty and change, the overwhelm of the unknown can take over. It’s scary not knowing what the future holds, or whether something will work out or not.
Recently I’ve been going through a lot more change than usual. We moved cities, down south of Italy. At the same time, I stopped working for an agency I’d been working with for over a year, leaving the comfort of a regular income. And… while all this was happening, I graduated as a Health Coach, now on a quest of starting my own online coaching business.
During this time, I could feel the anxiety and overwhelm rising up inside of me. No familiarity. No routine. Boxes everywhere. No steady income. No idea what the future held from one day to the next…
For those of you going through some kind of transition or change in your life, below are some of the ways I keep myself calm and centred in times like these. They’ve helped me enormously and I hope they can offer you some support too.
1. Take a deep breath and welcome the unknown.
In times like these, I find comfort in the saying “the only constant in life is change”.
Whether it’s an unexpected change in weather or a major life event, change is inevitable. We can’t completely predict or control what comes next. We can simply do our best to direct our life in the right direction.
Having this approach to change helps a lot. When you accept that change and uncertainty is inevitable and that it can be uncomfortable, it feels like less of a struggle.
Also, when you’re on a quest to improve an area of your life, that feeling of uncertainty can be elevated. Because, when you’re improving or growing, you tend to step out of your comfort zone, and that can be uncomfortable and scary.
Accept that uncertainty and change is inevitable and that you can’t control everything. Simply take a deep breath, and just focus on doing your best in taking one small step at a time towards your goals.
2. Have a plan of action.
It seems pretty obvious, but it’s worth pointing out – When you’re going through times of uncertainty and change, a plan of action is going to give you a lot of relief.
Sit down and come up with your plan. What are you going to do over the next week, month, three months, or year to navigate your way out of this challenging time?
Even if you aren’t 100% sure what you’re going to do, start somewhere.
Start by thinking about what you want. Where do you want to go from here?
Then, start brainstorming and thinking of possible paths to get you there. List all the actions you could take to help get you to a better place. Then, look at all the actions and put together a logical sequence. If you’d like some extra support, here is a post on how to set goals.
Now you have a plan. Even if it’s not 100%, you can keep working on it whenever you like. I’m constantly pulling out my plan and making adjustments when inspiration or clarity strikes.
The important thing is, you know what you want, what you need to do, and you have a list of steps to take to start getting you there.
This way, during these times of uncertainty and change, you can refer back to your plan, and simply focus on that single next step you need to take. And you can make those steps as small as is comfortable. Step by step, no matter how small, you’ll move in a good direction.
Having a plan gives you a guiding light to turn to when you feel overwhelm brewing. Forget the big picture and all the millions of things you need to do, just focus on that next small step.
This has been a game-changer for me, and I’m sure it’ll help you too.
3. Prioritise self-care.
Taking care of yourself – mind body and spirit – is one of the best ways to support yourself during times of change. This way, you stay strong and can handle it better.
Self-care can mean something different to everyone, as we all have unique needs.
That said, there are some basic self-care activities that can benefit everyone – Eating nutritious food, moving your body, spending time outdoors, getting enough sleep, and spending quality time with the ones you love.
All these nourish you in different ways, and keep your mind body and spirit strong.
My morning routine is my go-to in times of change. It’s how I keep myself calm, strong and centred. It’s honestly my pillar of strength. It changes over time, depending on my needs. But, during challenging times it looks like this:
- A warm drink – usually warm water with lemon, turmeric, pepper and coconut oil.
- 15-30 minutes of yoga
- 10 minutes of deep breathing meditation
- Shower, coffee, breakfast, and writing down my goals for the day
Some days I do all of it and it takes about 1 hour. Other days I shorten it to 30 minutes, with just 15 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of meditation. Some days I might mix it up with some journalling or positive affirmations.
A morning routine works particularly well for me – Doing it first thing in the morning makes me feel I’ve really done something important right at the start of the day. My warm drink cleanses and detoxifies my body. Yoga helps release tension and realign my body. Meditation helps quiet my mind and soothe my nerves. This 30-60 minutes of self-love in the morning has a huge impact on how I approach my day. And when I skip it, my anxiety flares up, especially during challenging times.
This is what works for me, but there are many different ways you can show yourself some self-care.
What do you need to keep you feeling strong and high-spirited during challenging times? What does your body mind and spirit need to feel good? Here are some self-care ideas to get you started.
4. Make time for meditation.
Meditation is often seen as airy-fairy and esoteric.
I used to think of meditation as something far-fetched – something very specific people would do, going to other dimensions, leaving reality… I had a tough time welcoming it into my life – firstly because I struggled to sit still, but also becuase I didn’t like the idea of ‘ungrounding myself’.
Over the years I’ve developed a much better perspective of meditation, and opened up to its incredible benefits.
Firstly, remember, there are many different types of meditation. So, before you form an opinion, go and do some research. And then experiment and see what resonates with you.
For me, my favourite kind of mediation is breath awareness meditation. This kind of meditation is simply focused on the breath. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation to keep me focused, but generally now I just sit in the quiet. This particular guided meditation was a great starting point for me, giving me the confidence to do it on my own now.
The simple act of mindful deep breathing is so powerful. And, particularly in times of uncertainty and change, it can help tremendously with anxiety and mental clarity.
When you breathe mindfully and deeply, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system. And this essentially slows down your heart rate, relaxes your body, and ultimately calms your nerves.
So, you can use breathe-focused meditation to relax your body and clear your mind. First thing in the morning is a great time to do it, even just for 5 or 10 minutes. But, if the morning doesn’t work for you, do it whenever you can and you’ll still enjoy the benefits.
Try it and let me know how you do. Even if it’s tough to sit still in the beginning. Or if thoughts keep popping into your head. Just keep going back to your deep inhales and exhales, as your belly rises and falls. Keep at it, and over time you’ll get into the zone. And, after 10 minutes of quiet deep breathing, you may just feel the delicious calm clarity I’ve grown to love so much.
5. Journal for clarity.
I think of journalling as free therapy. Seriously though, I do.
This journalling ritual started years ago after reading the book “The Artist’s Way” where Julia Cameron recommends Morning Pages – three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.
Getting all the stuff swirling around in my head out onto the page is therapeutic. It not only gets the thoughts out of my head, but it also helps me work through them. By writing them down, and thinking on paper, I start to find solutions and clarity.
I don’t do specifically three pages every day, but instead, I use journaling as and when I feel like it. I have my A5 journal in the house, and just write when I feel like it. And, especially in times of uncertainty, when overwhelm and anxiety start knocking at my door, out comes the journal.
Seriously though, give it a go. When you’re going through challenging times, make yourself a pot of tea, and sit back with your journal. Don’t think about it, just write. Write down whatever pops into your mind, even if it’s “I really don’t know what to say right now” or “I’m feeling so irritated and have no idea why or what to do…”. Just let it out. And, when you feel like you can’t write any more, I challenge you to push yourself to keep writing for one more page. I’ve found that by pushing myself to keep writing when I feel like I have nothing else to say, often leads to mini breakthroughs of clarity.
Time writing is a great way to spend some time alone for some self-reflection.
Through writing I start to sort out the clutter in my head, putting the pieces together, and find some direction for what I can do next to find some resolve.
6. Practice gratitude.
When you’re going through transition and not sure what comes next, negativity can start to creep in. And that’s a dangerous place to be in because it can completely take over.
And, when you’re going through challenging times, mindset is a huge factor – A positive or negative headspace can completely change your experience.
A great way to develop a positive mindset is through gratitude.
By taking the time to focus on everything you do have and everything you can be grateful for, you start to realise how much you already have.
As humans, we often focus a lot on the future we want, and not on the present moment we’re in. It’s so easy to focus on what you don’t have, and everything you still need to get. And that can lead you to lose sight of everything you already have in your life to be grateful for.
You can practice more gratitude in your life by simply writing down three things you’re grateful for every day. Either in the morning, just before you go to sleep or any time that feels good for you. I have a little gratitude journal where I write down what I’m grateful for as and when I feel like it. And, just by bringing awareness to what I already have in my life to be grateful for, I start to feel grateful throughout the day. Here are some ideas of how you can start bringing more gratitude into your days.
It may be the warm sun on my face during winter, a delicious home-cooked stew, a hilarious movie that left me in stitches of laughter, quality time with someone I love, my soft warm duvet cover, the sound of birds, a pot of chai tea and a good book… Oh, the list goes on!
By acknowledging and writing down all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for right now, shifts your mind from overwhelm and self-doubt to positivity and abundance.
Are you feeling ready to face those times of change and uncertainty?
I hope that this post has encouraged you to keep working through your times of uncertainty and change. As they say, this too shall pass, so take a deep breath and know that you can do it.
You are stronger than you think. And, when you come out on the other side, you’ll feel so proud of yourself.
Which of the above strategies you’re going to try? Leave a comment down below, send me an email or a message on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you.