How to have a life purpose when living with chronic illness

How to have a life purpose when living with chronic illness

Is it possible to have a life purpose when living with chronic illness or a serious injury? Or being a carer? You may think it’s no longer possible. A pipe dream. And that can feel devastating. Lonely too. Especially when you look at people around you getting on with their lives like you used to.

I think it is possible to have a life purpose when living with chronic illness, injury or as a carer. Yes, I’m an optimist. But also a realist. And being a realist means we have to strip things back and do a rethink. Which in turn means challenging our assumptions around illness/injury/caring and having a life purpose. Plus acknowledging the really hard bits and getting support when we need it.

So let’s get started.

A woman has fatigue, looks very tired and is laying on a sofa. She is thinking to herself, "How the hell can I have any purpose in life with this illness?!" The caption reads: How do you have a life purpose when living with chronic illness, injury or caring responsibilities? Read the blog this picture appears in to find out.

When you think of having a life purpose, what do you think of?

Is it doing what others around you are doing? Ticking off life’s typical milestones: building your career, buying a property, having kids, getting married, having a retirement doing what you enjoy, grandchildren, etc.?

Is it about doing a meaningful job whether paid or unpaid?

Or achieving something you’re interested in?

Feeling happy in who you are as a person?

The people you surround yourself with?

Activities that you enjoy doing?

Something else?

When you think of having a life purpose when living with chronic illness, what do you think of? #chronicillness #lifepurpose Click To Tweet

What a life purpose really is

A life purpose is about you and your life. It provides direction for living your life, guidelines even. It gives shape and meaning to your life and makes it a worthwhile one to live.

Your life purpose can be about:

  • Job/ career
  • Hobbies and personal interests
  • The contribution you are making to the world in whatever form that takes – blogging, advocating for a cause via social media channels, writing articles when you can, volunteering, your job/career, etc..
  • Achieving goals you find meaningful
  • Your values – What you stand for and consider important
  • Your strengths and passions
  • What motivates you to get up in the morning
  • Things you enjoy
  • What you find energising
  • Key relationships
  • The people you surround yourself with
  • Your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews (or choosing not to have children)
  • How you treat others
  • Helping others
  • What you find meaningful and worthwhile
  • Who you are as a person – the good and not-so-good
  • A religious/spiritual faith
  • The culture you were raised in (or adopted) and its traditions

A variety of things can make up your life purpose. And some of the items on this list may overlap for you.

How are you defining a life purpose when living with chronic illness?

Before you started to read this blog, how did you define your life purpose? Was it based on one of the items listed above, a few of them or a lot?

Notice any trends in how you thought about your life purpose. For example, was it based on what you see others doing? Or things you once did but can no longer do?

Or have you been thinking that having a life purpose when living with chronic illness is no longer possible? That a life purpose is only possible if you have no health issues?

The purpose of these questions is to highlight any assumptions you may be holding about what constitutes a life purpose and the possibilities of having a life purpose when living with chronic illness.

If you’ve noticed any assumptions you’re holding, ask yourself if they are helpful to you now or is it time to let them go. And ask yourself what do you want for yourself?

It can feel like chronic illness takes your life purpose away from you

You may not be able to do all that you did before its onset – your job, hobbies, or being able to spontaneously move about and do things as you wish. Things like what you enjoy and find energising. Even you as a person may also have changed.

The changes that a chronic illness introduces to your life are a change in boundaries. And the boundaries can feel restrictive because they are so different.

The changes that a #chronicillness introduces to your life are a change in boundaries. And the boundaries can feel restrictive because they are so different. #lifepurpose #wellness Click To Tweet

It’s a case of redesigning your life purpose

You will still have some from that list above and the ability to rebuild others.

This isn’t always a straightforward or easy task. It can take time. It may require you to find new passions for example, develop new strengths and inner qualities even.

Here are 3 recommendations for a life purpose when living with chronic illness

1. Make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket

This means to have your life purpose be dependent on one thing.

This applies to you even if you don’t have a chronic illness.

Because if your one thing doesn’t work out, like having a particular job/career, then it’s so much easier to feel dejected, low, a sense of failing, etc.

Make sure your life purpose is based on a number of things.

2. A life purpose doesn’t have to be big and grand

You don’t have to be doing a job that is changing the world, requires you to lead lots of people, or is highly paid. Or be a blogger or influencer with loads of followers.

You event don’t have to be ticking off all the life milestones your friends and family may be doing.

Your life purpose can be about what is right for you and the size that is right for you.

A life purpose doesn’t have to be big or grand. Your life purpose can be the size that is right for you. #chronicillness #lifepurpose Click To Tweet

Like keeping the people important to you close and maintaining those relationships. A hobby you can do when you’re well enough. Getting out in nature when you can. Savouring small moments that make you smile. Discovering the depth of empathy you have and celebrating that.

3. Be mindful of how you look at and think about your life when living with chronic illness

Because that is how you’re defining your life.

If you are consistently defining your life as one that isn’t what it was or should be, it is a life focused on wanting the past but knowing one can’t have it, and upset that the future one expected won’t be. It is also focused on loss and deficit. It can be so emotionally draining.

If you are doing this, please show lots of compassion to yourself. Because this can be a symptom of grief for what you no longer have. Having various forms of support whilst you’re in this phase can help you deal with the grief, move through and beyond it.

Also, if you assume that having a life purpose when living with chronic illness isn’t possible, you can end up unknowingly living to a societal assumption that being chronically ill means that you cannot have a life worth living. That the two are mutually exclusive.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® reads: If you assume that having a purpose in life when living with chronic illness isn't possible, you can end up unknowingly living to a societal assumption that being chronically ill means that you cannot have a life worth living. The two aren't mutually exclusive." This is important to consider when you want to have a life purpose when living with chronic illness, injury or caring responsibilities.

You are still the architect of your life purpose when living with chronic illness

At times it may not feel like it. There are some things in our life, particularly regarding our health, we can’t always directly and fully control. But you are still your own architect.

Even if you don’t feel ready just yet to purposefully start redesigning your life purpose, you can gently ask yourself once in a while, ‘When I am ready, what kind of life and life purpose do I want whilst living with this chronic illness?’

And if you are ready to start redesigning your life purpose, what kind of life do you want? What do you want your life to stand for? And what action can you take to start making it happen?

Your life purpose will evolve

As you live, have new experiences, grow and change, your life purpose will change. That’s ok. And natural.

And it’s ok not to define a life purpose when living with chronic illness

Maybe you like to let things unfold and go with the flow. That’s cool too.

It’s your life. So you determine it.

Picture of an original quote by Return To Wellness saying: You are the CEO of you. So you're in charge. This is very much the case when you want to manage your health issue successfully including renewing your life purpose when living with chronic illness

What’s it like for you?

What do you think about having a life purpose when living with chronic illness? Is it possible? Is it worth it? And do you have one? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here,

AND

Pass it forward

Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

When you get left behind in life due to your illness

When you get left behind in life due to your illness

It’s not uncommon to feel you get left behind in life due to your illness or injury or caring responsibilities. It can happen in variety of ways.

It may be that you’re still at an earlier level in your career as compared to peers. That can happen when you have to devote time to hospital appointments, treatments, surgeries, recuperation or caring responsibilities.

Between getting ill/injured or caring and getting back to life, you can feel out of touch with your friends. They have continued with life whilst it feels you’ve had to step out of it. When you step back in, it’s like you’re on a different path. You have a whole bunch of other stuff to contend with that they don’t. And they may come across as oblivious as to what you’ve had to deal with.

Or you can’t do as much due to fatigue, pain, mobility issues, caring responsibilities or something else. So you have to cancel plans, or leave engagements early, or you can take part in an activity but not in the way the majority can.

Want to move beyond feeling like you’ve been left behind in your life due to your illness, injury or caring responsibilities?

It’s not fun to feel like that

In fact, it can suck.

So what do you do when you find yourself in a situation like this?

The picture is of three women walking along and having fun chatting. A woman is walking behind them struggling to keep up. Her hip is hurting. She is thinking: "I just can't keep up. And they look like they are having fun." The caption reads: When you get behind in your life due to your illness, injury or caring responsibilities." The point is that you can feel left behind in life due to your illness, injury or caring role.

Here are the five things you can do when you get left behind in life due to your illness, injury or a caring role

There are 5 things you can do to move beyond feeling like you get left behind in your life due to your #illness #injury or #caring responsibilities. Read them here Click To Tweet

1. Recognise what’s going on for a start.

There’s are several comparisons that can often happen.

The obvious comparison is comparing yourself to your peers, to what they can do and you cannot.

The second comparison is comparing the you now and your current capabilities to your previous self and his/her capabilities. But is it that fair comparison? It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Yet I totally appreciate how that happens. Because you used to be able to do what your peers are doing. AND you enjoyed that activity and all it represents, i.e. a good time, sense of belonging, the contribution you made, etc.

The can be a third comparison of your life now as compared to what it should have been.

With any of these comparisons you can get that feeling of getting left behind in life due to your illness or injury. All these comparisons can be a lot for you to hold. They can be draining. So notice this is happening, be gentle with yourself and move on to step 2.

2. Acknowledge how you feel about it.

You may feel left out, left behind, sad and upset, alone, angry, frustrated or something else. It’s important to acknowledge that to yourself. It’s a way to validate your feelings and experience which is a psychologically healthy thing to do.

3. Mourn for what you’re not getting to experience

What you’re experiencing in these moments is a sense of loss. Whether that relates to not being able to take part in a favourite activity, make a contribution in a way you value, feel a sense of belonging with a friendship group, or something else.

Mourning what you have lost is also a psychological healthy thing to do. But it may not be easy. The feelings it brings up can feel unpleasant and negative. And you might worry they will never go away. They do pass. But for that to happen, you have to let yourself feel them.

An original quote by Return To Wellness® states: "Motion is in the word 'emotion' for a reason. Emotions are meant to move through you. But you have to let them do that so you don't get stuck in them."

4. Create a life so you get to experience what you value

This is about adapting how you approach activities you enjoy so you can take part in a way that you’re happy with. Or finding new activities. And by activities, I mean the job you do for a living, volunteering opportunities, hobbies, interests, and social engagements for example. It may also include developing new friendships.

To create a life you value and find worthwhile living requires you to do that with intention.  By that I mean to have a good think about what you want for yourself and your life, what you desire, developing a plan to achieve that, and then take action.

5. Recognise that you are on a different journey which is personal to you

You may have moments where you slip back into making comparisons that leave you feeling upset and frustrated. Given we humans are social beings, it is a human thing to do.

It’s about reminding yourself that this is about you focusing on you, your needs, your goals, what you’re learning and your journey. Your peers are on their journey. You are on your journey. And it’s about how you can make your journey one that you feel is worthwhile to be on.

What’s it like for you when you get left behind in life due to your illness or injury or caring responsibilities?

What triggers it? How do you feel? And how have you coped? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, you can

AND

Pass it forward

Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to recover from the coronavirus illness

How to recover from the coronavirus illness

We may be past the peak of COVID-19 with lockdown just starting to ease, but now there’s the question of how to recover from coronavirus. I can speak on this from a number of perspectives, but for now, I want to focus on those of you who have had the virus. Particularly if you were seriously affected.

It can be really scary to have gotten an illness the world is trying to dodge right now. And a new illness the world is still learning about. It’s understandable if you have concerns.

So I want to share seven key things which are in your control to do to help your recovery. Given I am not a medical professional, the advice I share here is non-medical. It is based on my professional experience as a coach, research, and personal experience of serious illness. What I share here also applies to many of you who have dealt with another challenging illness or injury.

There is a woman standing coughing and coughing. Her eyes are closed. Spray is coming out of her mouth but she is trying to cover her mouth. Little bits of coronavirus are stuck to her. She is thinking, 'I feel so tired. And I can't stop coughing.' Those are classic symptoms of COVID-19. When you get a serious illness like COVID-19, it's important to learn how to recover from coronavirus and the blog this picture is from will tell you how. All from a non-medical perspective.

How to recover from coronavirus from a non-medical perspective

If you’re recovering from #COVID19 or another #seriousillness, here’s some things you can do to aid your recovery #wellness Click To Tweet

Take life gently

Your body has been through a lot. So you will naturally be moving more slowly and possibly experiencing some difficulty doing that. You won’t be able to do as much for a time.

This may piss you off. Or you may feel sad. Or something else. And there are a whole host of reasons why you may feel the way you do.

Your feelings are valid. Acknowledge them. But don’t unpack and live in the anger or sadness. Because you need that energy to help your healing.

To take life gently, you also need to do the following.

Adjust your expectations of yourself

Sometimes with illness we can expect ourselves to recover at a certain speed because we’ve got things we have to do or want to do. We can expect our bodies to function a certain way.

And when the recovery doesn’t happen at the rate we want or our bodies don’t function the way we expect, we can get upset with ourselves.

There’s a period after a tough illness call convalescence. And it’s become a bit of a lost art. Convalescence is that period when the worst of the illness is past, we do feel better but we are not yet able to return to normal every day activities with no issues. It can feel like a period of limbo, but convalescence is an important part of the healing process.

Because of the illness, your body has changed. So you have to work with that change. And that means you have to adjust your expectations of what you can do. Doing that doesn’t mean you are ‘less than’ as a person.

Your recovery may go up and down

It’s not uncommon in our society to expect our recovery to be a straight upwards trajectory from zero to hero in a specified period of time.

The reality is often different.

You may have some good days where you feel better and then some days when you feel you are getting worse. If the latter, make sure you have a number to call to get medical advice from your GP, consultant or nurse so you can check with them if there is anything you need to do.

It can be difficult to say how long it will take you to recovery from coronavirus. Every person is different. Some recover quickly, some take more time. Your body will let you know what it needs. You need to listen to it and give it the time it needs to recover.

Look after yourself and your needs

When you’re trying to figure out how to recover from coronavirus or another serious illness, this is one of the key skills you need. It’s so important. And it’s a skill you can develop. In my coaching practice, I’ve helped a lot of people to do that after serious illness.

Start with the basics – sleep + nourishing food + liquid + gentle activity.

Get as much sleep as you and your body needs. If you need to sleep 12-14 hours, do that if you are able to. Appreciate that may be difficult if you also have to look after children.

Eat a balanced diet. Avoid the sugary and processed foods. Your body needs nourishing food to heal.

Drink plenty of liquids. Alcohol may not mix well with any medications you are on, so watch the intake of that.

If you have the energy, a gentle activity like walking around the house or your garden if you have one may be ok. But do check with your doctor first.

Other gentle activities like watching favourite tv programmes, reading, playing a card game, doing puzzles, knitting, etc. can help pass the time in a healthy way whilst you recover. Choose activities you enjoy.

Put guilt to one side

To look after yourself and your needs you often have to put guilt to one side. Or if you cannot put it to one side you, you have to hold it as you also hold on to your needs and look after them.

To look after yourself and your needs when you’re recovering from a #seriousillness it helps to put guilt to one side #wellness Click To Tweet

Acknowledge any anxiety you’re feeling

Sometimes after a serious illness your anxiety levels may be a lot higher. I’ve personally experienced this. Being seriously ill is hard enough in the acute phase. After you leave the acute phase of a serious illness and you enter the convalescence stage, anxiety can make an experience. And you’re thinking, ‘Now I have to deal with this???’

Anxiety is an understandable response to the difficulties you have experienced and an uncertain future. When you’ve had a serious illness like COVID-19, it’s a lot to hold.

When anxiety appears, noticing 3-5 tangible items near you can help you ground yourself. You can also breathe in for 4 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds to help regulate your nervous system. This can help you reduce the anxiety to a level where you can respond mindfully to it.

Reach out for support to help you recover from coronavirus

When you reach out for support, what you’re doing is getting help to hold all that you’re dealing with. You don’t have to hold it all by yourself anymore. That relieves some of the pressure.

Getting support to find ways to respond mindfully to anxiety and the issues you’re dealing with in a way that works for you helps to relieve the pressure further.

Your energy is then more freed up to focus on your recovery.

How to recover from coronavirus - seek out support. In this picture there are four people standing. One of them is a woman who has had COVID-19. A man is saying, 'I'll shop for you.' Another man is saying, 'We'll help you hold the anxiety and uncertainty.' He is holding anxiety. A woman is holding uncertainty. The woman who had coronavirus is saying, 'Thanks. I feel lighter.' The caption reads: Support helps you to return to wellness. The point is that when we seek out support, others can help us hold anxiety we may be feeling. That makes it easier for your recovery because you no longer have to hold that anxiety by yourself.

What’s it like for you?

What advice on how to recover from coronavirus resonates with you? Which pieces of advice may be easier for you to implement, which ones less so? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you have had COVID-19 or are caring for someone who is recovering from it, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to feel more in control

How to feel more in control

Many people want to feel more in control during these uncertain times. I’m hearing from people who talk about feeling-out-sorts or are waking up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. And the anxiety feels like just one more thing to overcome. Others are saying they are trying to control too much.

It can feel draining. I know, I too am waking up in the middle of the night and sometimes I struggle to get back to sleep. And yet what we feel at this time is a normal reaction to the unusual time we’re living in.

So I want to share with you the one model I keep coming back to which helps me to

  • Manage the impact of anxiety, stress and uncertainty effectively
  • Regain control in my life
  • Use my energy wisely

I have shared this model with so many clients and they always find this to be a game changer. I think you will too.

Feeling out of control due to all the stress, anxiety and uncertainty? Want to learn a great tool that will help you regain control? My clients call this the game changer! Click thru to watch the video #uncertainty #takecontrol… Click To Tweet

How to feel more in control

What will help you feel more in control? Stephen Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern will! This comes from his book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He wrote the book in 1989 and the ideas and concepts are still very relevant. They transcend time because they are life skills. I highly recommend this book.

So click on the video, sit back and learn what you can do to feel more in control. It’s 11 minutes long.

What’s it like for you?

What do you think of Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern? What action can you take to feel more in control? And what is in your sphere of concern you need to let go of? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to feel more in control

What is your relationship with uncertainty like?

Considering what your relationship with uncertainty is like has probably not featured as something to think about. Unless of course you’ve had to deal with a challenging health issue, whether your own or someone else’s. Or another significant life event that brought a high degree of the unknown into your life.

For many people when they have to deal with a lot of uncertainty, they can end up feeling out-of-sorts. Which is understandable. They take appropriate measures to deal with their out-of-sorts feelings, which is good. Or try to suppress them, which isn’t as good.

And it tends to stop there. The aim is to get rid of the uncomfortable feelings. Not a bad aim, don’t get me wrong. But there isn’t any further reflection on why the uncertainty happens and one’s relationship with it as a way to improve it.

What I want to do is provide some questions for you to reflect on what your relationship with uncertainty is like as the first step to improving it. Particularly as there is so much uncertainty about due to coronavirus and the lockdown. Much more than many of us are used to. Finding ways to deal effectively with uncertainty can enable you to live with more ease during uncertain times.

A woman is sitting on a chair. She is frowning, looking uncertain and asking herself the questions: "What am I to do? How can I feel better? Why do I feel this way? When will it stop? Who can help. I feel so out of control." Next to her is standing Uncertainty. It has its hand on the back of her chair and is saying, 'I'm your new friend.' This is what it can be like to live with uncertainty. What is your relationship with uncertainty like? Check out www.returntowellness.co.uk for advice on how to do that and keep your sanity particularly if you're feeling out-of-sorts during lockdown.

When uncertainty happens

Uncertainty occurs when situations and events happen and you don’t know how to deal with them or you think you don’t know how to deal with them (but you actually do know). There may also be a lot of additional unknowns, conflicting and/or unclear information, a lot of change happening quickly and no clear timeline on when the situation will end.

All this can lead to feeling out-of-sorts, anxiety and panic even. Which is often due to feeling out-of-control and powerless. We humans don’t like those feelings.

The coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example of uncertainty in action.

What is your relationship with uncertainty like?

When you look at your relationship with uncertainty, it’s also helpful to look at your relationship to not knowing, change, dealing with ambiguity and fear. Because they fuel uncertainty. This is a big topic so I am going to only focus on dealing with not knowing and the fear that can result. I start with a pretty big question.

The picture shows that not knowing what to do (or thinking you don't know what to do), all the unknowns, dealing with unclear and conflicting info, lots of change and no clear timeline or end in sight all create uncertainty. And fear. A woman is standing looking at all this saying, 'I feel out of control and powerless.' This can make your relationship with uncertainty hard.

What’s it like for you when you don’t know something?

What I often see when clients, people, colleagues, and me don’t know something, we can rush to a solution. As I explained in this video, the anxiety around not knowing can fuel that rush to an answer or solution. But in that rush, we can miss the solution that would work really well for us. Because we don’t slow down and give space for the right solution to arise.

So the next question to consider is…

If you feel anxiety around not knowing, what is that about?

What is it about not knowing that produces anxiety?

Sometimes the anxiety around not knowing took root in childhood in response to how we saw the people present in our life deal with not knowing and their responses to us when we ourselves did not know. As a result, we may have absorbed helpful or unhelpful messages about not knowing.

A question to ask yourself is whether how you respond now to uncertainty and not knowing reminds you of how you responded as a child to situations where you didn’t know the answer and/or there was a lot of uncertainty. And does it remind you of how other people close to you responded to not knowing and uncertainty.

Some questions to help you explore your relationship with #uncertainty: What’s it like for you when you don’t know something? If you feel anxiety around not knowing, what is that about? #wellness Click To Tweet

Here’s an example using myself

Growing up, the message I absorbed what that it was not ok to not know the answer to a question you were asked or to not know how to do something you were told to do. Whether this was at home, in school or elsewhere. When I didn’t know the answer or know how to do something, people would make fun of me or, particularly if they were adults, tell me that I should know or get mad.

Not knowing became linked to feeling shame – I wasn’t enough for the people around me. So I developed in part an unhealthy relationship with not knowing. This part of me coped by developing a Please People driver (Hay, 2009) – ‘If I know the answer, I’ll please the people around me and they will love me.’

And yet, the curious part of me would wonder why couldn’t we just figure it out together if I/we didn’t know something? Thankfully, she stayed with me throughout childhood well into adulthood and is still with me today. This part of me is the one that says to clients in response to their dilemmas and issues: Everything is figure-out-able. Let’s figure this out together.

An approach of ‘everything is figure-out-able’ can help you deal with #uncertainty with more ease #wellness Click To Tweet

If you realise that your response to not knowing and uncertainty was learned from others in your young life or in response to what they said or did to you, that self-awareness can help you to choose a different response today.

Sometimes the not knowing breeds fear

This can be the case in respect to coronavirus. The fear of catching the virus and how one could be affected for example. And how a loved one who is elderly or has health issues is affected by the current situation and could be if they caught the virus. These are very real and legitimate concerns that can also feel scary. You can be afraid for your existence and that of your loved ones.

The length of time the not knowing goes on can also feed the fear. Here is what helped a client of mine in that situation.

One thing is certain about uncertainty

There will always be uncertainty.

This is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: One thing is certain. There will always be uncertainty.

I don’t mean to be flippant in saying that. It’s a fact. And a paradox.

The client I said this to was dealing with ongoing uncertainty about the unpredictability of symptoms in relation to her chronic health condition. She didn’t know if symptoms would appear from one day to the next, how bad or not they would be and therefore how she would and could deal with it. She described as having ‘to be in it for the long haul’ and was understandably feeling upset as a result.

Acknowledging that the uncertainty would always be there helped this client. She said, ‘It puts it in a box.’

Acknowledging is powerful because when you name something – for example, that uncertainty will always be present – you make the unknown known to yourself. When you do that, it changes what felt like an unknown large thing that is everywhere to something that is easier to hold. That helps you to contain any fears you may hold around uncertainty more easily.

A woman is standing at a table. On the table is a large box. The woman is putting uncertainty into the box and saying, 'I'm going to put uncertainty into this box. I've got things to figure out and sort.' The point is that when we acknowledge uncertainty, it can make living with it easier. Our relationship with uncertainty is improved because we are no longer denying it.

A final thought about your relationship with uncertainty

When I did a masters in coaching psychology, an article I referenced in my dissertation mentioned: ‘Appraisals of illness uncertainty also influence how people evaluate and incorporate an illness into their lives (Babrow, 2007; Babrow & Matthias, 2009; Mishel, 1999; Mishel & Clayton, 2003).’

This came from the article ‘Patients’ and Partners’ Perspectives of Chronic Illness and Its Management by Checton et al (2012).

We can broaden that statement to uncertainties that appear in our lives beyond illness or injury: ‘Appraisals of pandemic uncertainty also influence how people evaluate and incorporate a pandemic into their lives.’

I am not saying you have to say yes to the pandemic, agree with it, or welcome it. It’s just about acknowledging that it is here, it’s having an impact and that impact may be positive in some ways to downright awful in others.

Incorporating the pandemic into your life is also about managing its impact, which won’t always be simple or easy, so you still retain some quality of life. There’s a focus on yeah, this isn’t fun or easy, it can be scary, AND there is still good in my life.

What’s it like for you?

How would you describe your relationship with uncertainty? To what degree does not knowing impact it? What ideas have you got from this article to help you in managing your relationship with uncertainty? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

References

Checton, M.G. PhD, Greene, K. PhD, Magsamen-Conrad, K. PhD, Venetis, M.K. PhD (2012) Patients’ and Partners’ Perspectives of Chronic Illness and Its Management, Families, Systems, & Health, Vol. 30, No. 2, 114–129.

Hay, J. (2009) Transactional Analysis for Trainers, 2nd edition. Hertford, UK: Sherwood Publishing.

How to manage stress and anxiety

How to manage stress and anxiety

We’re not often taught in life how to manage stress and anxiety. Yet it’s something many of us deal with on a day-to-day basis. At times it can feel like it gets into the driving seat of one or more parts of your life. It’s understandable, life happens like that.

Watch this video to learn one way of how to manage stress and anxiety you may be feeling.

You’ll learn what stress and anxiety are, why it happens and a simple exercise you can do to get back in the driving seat of your life. I also talk about why many of us are experiencing increased anxiety levels during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

The picture shows two people in a car. The license plate says 'self-care'. The woman in the passenger seat is saying, 'But I want to exercise and look after myself.' The person who is driving, which is anxiety, is saying, 'No you can't! You must do what I want! Now let me drive!' This picture demonstrates the impact of anxiety when it is in the driving seat of a part of your life. The anxiety can take over and drive your actions.

The exercise on how to manage stress and anxiety develops your heart, mind and soul fitness

It does that by raising your self-awareness. As you do the exercise, I would like you to do it with a hefty dose of self-compassion for yourself rather than harsh judgement.

This exercise is not meant as a means for you to judge yourself as doing something wrong, not being good enough or to be self-critical. It is meant to nourish your heart, mind and soul.

If you have a clinical diagnosis of anxiety, please read this

The exercise mentioned here can help. But if you think it might raise a lot of emotions which are incredibly unpleasant, overwhelming and you have little to no control over them, then I recommend you do the exercise with the support of a qualified practitioner who has experience of supporting people who experience anxiety. Particularly if you have never done such an exercise before.

Additional support when doing this exercise

You can also do the following whether or not you have a clinical diagnosis of anxiety.

1. Hold a favourite object which reminds you of the here and now. The purpose of this is to keep you anchored in the present time. So as you do the exercise, you know that ultimately you are in the here and now.

2. You can time bound the exercise and just do it for 1-2 minutes for a start. It’s ok to do the exercise in stages over a period of time rather than all in one go.

You are in charge of you

The exercise in this video can help you take healthy control of stress and anxiety, learn from it and be in charge of you.

In watching this video, you acknowledge that you take full responsibility for your emotional wellness and wellbeing, and any decisions you take as a result of watching it.

Picture of an original quote by Return To Wellness saying: You are the CEO of you. So you're in charge. This is very much the case when you want to manage your health issue successfully.

How to manage stress and anxiety so you can get back in the driving seat of your life

The video is 45 minutes long and I use slides to give a visual of what I’m saying. So grab a cuppa, sit back, relax and enjoy the video!

How to manage stress and anxiety so you can get back in the driving seat of your life

As we do physical fitness for our bodies, what about fitness for our hearts, minds and souls? They need nourishing exercise too. Here's one to help you manage any #stress and #anxiety you may be feeling #wellness… Click To Tweet

What’s it like for you?

What did you learn about how to manage stress and anxiety? Was there anything you knew already? What is the one thing you will do differently going forwards? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you would like support on learning how to manage stress and anxiety, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

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