Navigating Uncertainty

By FCPS and Fairfax County Government
August 07, 2020

Uncertainty is all around us and questions abound…What will distance learning look like in the fall and will students be able to return to a classroom this school year? Is it safe to go to a store or visit older relatives? Will there be a vaccine or a medication to minimize the symptoms of COVID-19?  

The uncertainty of the future can be cause for much anxiety in the present moment. However, there are ways to navigate uncertainty to help minimize some of the difficult emotions you may be feeling. 

Take charge of things that you have control over.

  • Have you been wanting to clean out a pesky junk drawer or overstuffed closet? Now may be a good time to organize your files, drawers, and closets.
  • Create a meal plan, try a new recipe, or use that new Instant Pot you received as a gift.
  • Improve your sleep habits. Find ways to achieve the amount and quality of sleep you need. 
  • Initiate or improve your exercise regime. Find a new walking or running path, dust off your bike to go for a ride on a nearby trail, or find a place to go hiking.

Take charge of the present moment.

  • Go on a nature walk and use the “Seek” app to identify trees, plants, animals, and insects. 
  • Write in a journal or write down what you are grateful for in the present moment.
  • Engage in mindfulness practices, yoga, or meditation.
  • Play lawn games, board games, card games, or complete a puzzle with those closest to you.
  • Go on a picnic in a nearby park and enjoy the time you have to eat, relax, and talk with your family.
  • Enjoy a socially distant conversation or meal with a friend.
  • Call a friend from your past that you have not spoken to in a long time.
  • Reach out to your relatives to see how they are doing.

Take charge of making a difference in your life and in the lives of others.

  • Be patient and kind to yourself and others.
  • Encourage acceptance of the current situation and build resilience to deal with it effectively.
  • Learn a new skill such as cooking, sewing, drawing, painting, or playing an instrument.
  • Work to improve athletic skills such as golf, dance, tennis, volleyball, badminton, or basketball.
  • Read, read, and read some more.
  • Learn a few phrases in another language or brush up on the language you learned in school.
  • Donate food or money to a local food bank or volunteer if you can do so safely.
  • Read to an older relative via video conference or write them a letter.
  • Become a pen pal to someone in a nursing facility or orphanage.
  • Limit time spent on social media.

Healthy Minds is for parents, educators, and community-based providers who are interested in supporting student mental health and wellness. It represents a collaboration between FCPS’ Office of Intervention and Prevention Services and the Fairfax County Government. SUBSCRIBE to Healthy Minds and receive a periodic digest of our most recent articles.