As personal or life coaches we typically work with clients during periods of change. Furthermore, as a result of Covid, we have seen more clients coming into coaching as a way to cope through a period of uncertainty.
And uncertainty can be stressful for us as most people do not fare well with unpredictability or feeling that they’re not in control. Our brains do not like it. We tend to prefer routine and structure – knowing when to have our holidays, when to see our friends, and being able to pro-actively plan for the future for example.
So how do you support a client (or yourself!) who is going through a period of uncertainty? Here are a few ideas from us:
- Acknowledge Change and Uncertainty – one thing that can be very liberating is acknowledging that we are in a period of change. Noticing what is happening and trying to ‘sit’ in that feeling of not knowing can be very powerful. Instead of pushing that feeling of uncertainty away, notice it and try to understand what it could be telling you. It’s worth mentioning that even periods of positive change can still feel stressful to many and that it’s okay to feel this way even when something good happens! In fact, it’s normal.
- Notice what you’re Thinking – take some time and notice what is going on in your head when you feel that uncertainty. We can easily (and sometimes without noticing) ruminate and get into a spiral thinking about the worst that could happen. We start catastrophising. Exacerbating how we really feel. Once you become aware of your thoughts you will be better equipped to start shifting them and bring in a more realistic way to view your world.
- Identify what’s within your control – note that there are still areas and things in your life that you can control (e.g. when you wake up or go to bed, how and if you want to socialise, how you react to the news that you hear). Identify what these are, be conscious about them and find an element of routine. Something as simple as sticking to set times for meals can make a big difference to help give you some control in a period of uncertainty.
- Be flexible with your plans – linking in with the previous point about what is under your control note that plans can change and at times because of reasons outside of your control. Having things to look forward to helps when times are uncertain, however being rigid around plans can lead to stress when those plans might need to change.
- Speak to people – one of the things about uncertainty is that at times it can lead us to become more insular and in turn lonely or isolated. Connect with people in a safe way and talk about what is on your mind, whether it’s in a coaching session, counselling or to a good friend. Opening up to a person who you trust can be really helpful.
- Create some Comfort – make sure that you plan in some activities, however small they might be, to help you destress. These could be finding time every day to do a ten minute meditation when you wake up, going for a walk or listen to some music before bed. Doing something in the day that is just for you is important.