Here's the truth: nothing in life is certain. The very act of living a life is full of nothing but uncertainty. Perhaps this is why some call certainty an "illusion."
Right now, in the time of the Covid pandemic, the amount of uncertainty and unpredictability feels overwhelming. Things we can usually count on are either not available, canceled, or up in the air. Life as we knew it (ah, the joy of routine and comfort...) is not happening. And we don't know when it will resume similar to how it once was.
For those experiencing pregnancy during the pandemic, the current state of increased uncertainties can feel more than unsettling -- it can feel downright scary, causing increased anxiety and stress. Pregnancy outside of a pandemic can create feelings of worry and stress, and so the current environment feels like a double whammy with increased concerns over health, adequate support before, during, and after birth, financial stability, and more.
So, how do we deal? How do we teach our nervous systems to deal with a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment? How do we relax enough to stay out of the fight, flight, or freeze mode long enough to heal our stress?
Below is a list of researched and proven ways to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by uncertainty. Go through to see what you might already be doing to cope and what practices and behaviors you can incorporate in your day-to-day.
Ways to Cope with Uncertainty - Pregnancy During Covid
Are you familiar with the practice of mindfulness? Do you know what it means (and feels like) to be fully present in the moment (throughout the day?)? Can you imagine what accepting and even embracing your current situation would do for your emotional and physical self? If this all seems new, go research and start practicing!
Practices that Change the Brain
Exercise, meditation, deep breathing/breath practice, and time spent in nature, are all practices that actually have the ability to change your brain in positive ways.
Seek What You CAN Control
What are the things you DO have control over? Even if they seem minor -- like making tacos for dinner tonight -- taking control of smaller details can help you achieve a sense of stability and groundedness.
Focus on What You DO Know
There are SO many unknowns. Instead of focusing on them (which is overwhelming), think about and focus on what you do know for sure. Remind yourself of these things as often as possible.
Now is not the time for perfectionism. Now is the time for good enough -ism. Spend your energy where it counts.
Focus on What Matters
When it comes down to it, what's most important? In the most paired down, simplest form, what matters to you most? Spend your efforts there.
Work to Embrace What Is
Reframing your thinking to appreciate or at least accept and perhaps embrace what is happening instead of what you wish would happen can help you feel more at ease.
As much as possible, create a routine that becomes familiar and feels grounding. Get up at the same time, go to bed around the same time, and incorporate small rituals into your day (morning coffee/tea, walking the dog, etc.) that are consistent no matter what.
Practice Self Care and Compassion
Perhaps the most important thing you can do during times of stress (and really, ALL the time) is to take good care of your self (think of what a parental figure would do for you if you were a young child) and show compassion for yourself (think of how that same parental figure would treat you if you were going through a hard time).
Expect More Change
Getting into the mindset of expecting more change and uncertainty instead of expecting and wanting things to get back to the way they were can help you learn to adapt well to and cope better with change.
Gather Information, Find Space, Then Act
When faced with a decision to make, first gather information from respected and evidence-based sources. Then, if possible, create the space to let that information "sit" with you before making your decision. Then, take decisive action.
TagsAnxiety Stress During Pregnancy COVID-19 Pandemic