How To Stay Positive When Things Are Uncertain
Let’s all collectively take a deep breath as we welcome 2021 and reflect on enduring the rollercoaster that was 2020. As we plan for (hopefully) brighter moments this calendar year, we cannot afford to understate the importance of positivity amidst uncertainty. Adapting and overcoming has become a way of life in our current cultural and historic moment, and when we intentionally arm ourselves with a practical but optimistic lens, we can still purposefully achieve our goals. While there’s a multitude of ways to go about this, here’s a few things for consideration (and yes, we’re still into lists this year):
- Control what you can control. Let go of what you cannot. Even during normal circumstances, there’s not a lot we can control. Amidst a global pandemic, this rings even more true. Know that there are only so many things you can control, like your attitude and effort, and relinquish your grip on the rest. Your stress levels and overall wellbeing will thank you.
- Ensure that you’re taking care of yourself. By now, everyone has heard the adage “You can’t pour from any empty cup”, and that’s especially true right now! Since arguably, we’re being depleted by additional outside sources more than ever these days, it’s beyond crucial that we take care of ourselves so that we’re able to effectively pour into others. That way, we can all be at our best.
- Make space for things that bring you joy. This applies to working and non-working related things, and it certainly does not have to be a grand or elaborate gesture, but be sure to consistently make space for your hobbies, interests, or things that otherwise make you happy (or even make you laugh!) Not only will your stress levels improve, but you will be feeling much more whole.
- Move daily. Get the endorphins pumping. We promise it feels as good as it sounds. And a pro tip: place less emphasis on the finer details and more on ensuring that whatever you’re doing is quality movement and something you enjoy. If that’s a run or walk on one of your favorite trails, morning yoga and meditation, or lifting weights, try to fit in at least 30 minutes per day. You’ll emerge with a clearer mindset and be better suited for your life personally and professionally.
- Plan ahead. Planning has looked a little different this past year. Canceled trips. Unforeseen circumstances. Challenges left and right. One thing we can all agree on? This wasn’t what anybody had in mind for the last year, but we’ve learned to overcome, and there are still things we can do to effectively and practically plan certain aspects of our lives, like intentionally creating space for others and ourselves, emphasizing love and kindness, and having some fun. We’re all worth that effort.
- Extend kindness to others. There are times when nothing makes us feel worse than fixating on our own baggage. Psychologically, there are few things more powerful than shifting focus away from our “stuff”, and onto others instead. This can take any form, like sending a text to someone letting them know you’re thinking of them, popping a thank you note in the mail, or taking time to call or even leave a voicemail. Each act of kindness benefits you, too, by increasing dopamine in the brain and knowing you’ve made a difference to brighten someone else’s day.
- Be intentional. We’ve all experienced a different side of life in the last year. If there’s anything that’s more important than ever, it’s being intentional with how we’re spending our time. You choose what is important to you by dedicating time, money, and attention there. If something isn’t serving you well, perhaps it’s time to let it go so you can intentionally show up somewhere else.
Uncertainty is inevitable. So, if you have been walking through life expecting everything to be what you expect, last year may have shifted that and opened new pathways to prioritizing and embracing what you know to be true now. By combining some of the tips I’ve shared above (and infusing your own flavor), we can conquer 2021 with rested bodies, full hearts, and clear minds.