In my work I listen to many people who tell me what they want to do when things “get back to normal” or “settle down”. Now we seem to be living with more uncertainty than ever and months and months of it. It is painful but also – most growth and learning is. Some of the most difficult times in my own life have taught me the most when I’ve chosen to grow beyond the challenges.

We just hate uncertainty so much and we are highly susceptible to fear when it’s all around us in the news AND in other people. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about visiting a jazz club in London later that day with my family and he told me that his wife hasn’t been out socially since March.

Because she is afraid to. Not because she is at risk but because of fear, plain and simple.

Fear is a huge driver and galvaniser. Our brains are naturally drawn to negativity during uncertainty because it’s a self-protection mechanism. And when we feed that part of our brain, the more fearful we are. Imagine doing that for months on end… If you’ve been doing that since March, then that’s a whole lot of anxiety you’ve been nurturing.

Yes, there is a pandemic but it isn’t the world’s first – it’s just the first in many of our lifetimes. We have absolutely no control over current government measures or what other people are doing. We only have control over our individual actions, thoughts and behaviours.

We need to desperately boost our energy levels. This is crucial for wellbeing and for being able to function well during high uncertainty.

Energy boosters:

A great morning routine – start your day right with a mix of hydration, movement, mindfulness, nutrition and intention setting.
Music! This can lift you instantly – find a piece of favourite music and play it loudly. Not your thing? Try an uplifting podcast or TED talk instead.
Connect – meet up with friends in person, if you can and if not then virtually but find time to connect with other people.
Learn a new skill – this is such a great way to motivate yourself and there are lots of YouTube videos on anything from singing to crafting to baking or learning a new language.
Get out into nature. A number one wellbeing booster this will give you lots of energy PLUS space so you can process all the changes going on around you.
Write it down. Get a journal and start writing – this will help you acknowledge how you are feeling and get some perspective too.
Choose gratitude. List all the things in your life right now that you are grateful for. If you can start this practice every day you will notice an immediate impact.

Energy drainers:

Tuning into the news consistently and too much. If this is you, then CHOOSE a time when you will listen to the news and then switch if off. Or just switch it off! You will notice an immediate positive impact.
Starting your day with micro-stressors – this is guaranteed if the first thing you do when you wake up is pick up your phone! Remember, micro-stressors can also just be other people’s demands or posts.
Focusing too much on what you now can’t do. Place your energy into how you can move forward within any current restrictions and make that an enjoyable and positive activity.
Allowing yourself to get into a negative thought spiral. This will be fuelled by news and discussions. Basically, whatever you are fearing will be immediately confirmed by news and social media – your brain will be drawn to it. Look for the opposite.
Other people! Choose the company you keep wisely at the moment. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and who radiate positive energy.
Spending time doing things you are not enjoying. This could be anything from too many Zoom calls to engaging in activities that just don’t suit you right now. Find something new or a different way of taking part in that activity.
Distracting yourself. We do this all the time because we don’t like to sit with change and uncertainty. Yet our brains NEED space and time to process change. Give yourself that with times of silence, walking and time.

In a moment of musical beauty that calls for reflection, actor and performer Cynthia Erivo sings a moving rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” accompanied by pianist Gary Motley. With her words and voice, Erivo urges us all to do better for the Earth and the generations to come. A definite energy booster!


Every day I choose acceptance. I don’t have to like or agree with what’s happening (or fight or fear it) to practise acceptance. But when I can accept what is happening just for that day, then I can live in the present more (no anxiety in the present moment), invest my energy wisely, look for opportunities to make a difference to others, make better decisions and choices from a place of calm.

It is possible to live well with uncertainty – knowing there is so much to learn and that’s why we’re here. This too will pass and until it does, I’ll keep looking for moments when I can go and listen to live jazz safely.

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