Managing Anxiety in Uncertain Times

Posted on the 3 April 2020

Managing Anxiety in Uncertain Times

David Cliff was named Entrepreneurs’ Forum 2017 Mentor of the Year. His consultancy, Gedanken, offers business coaching personal development and consultancy services to support business. 

David is also an experienced mental health specialist who has worked with thousands of individuals over the years to improve their well-being and business performance. 

Gedanken is offering remote support service to key individuals and staff both active and furloughed through the Coronavirus. For more details contact David directly on actnow@gedanken.co.uk

Without doubt, the Coronavirus has presented society with one of the most unprecedented challenges most have ever seen.

Uncertainty about the virus is accompanied with business uncertainties and unique economic conditions that affect just about everyone. When zones of certainty are changed, it is natural for anxiety to develop as a natural response to threat.

There are however a number of things we can do to begin to address anxiety and here are a few "top tips" in that direction.

1. CHECK THE NEWS

Check the news two or three times a day, not by the hour, too much information overload causes anxiety as we struggle to assimilate the information.

2. RECOGNISE CHANGE PATTERNS PRODUCE ANXIETY

Coronavirus control measures have made changes in the things that make our life familiar, structured and boundaries have been taken away in a new age of self-isolation and home working. Creating a new daily discipline can help incredibly.

3. REALISE YOU HAVE NOT LOST CONTROL

It’s about how we deal with what happens, not about what happens to us. We can look for the learning, opportunities and indirect benefits that come from the situation we find ourselves in. For example, many homeworkers discovering more family time.

4. ACCEPT UNCERTAINTY

Accept uncertainty; there never were any guarantees in this life.

5. PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

Think of what you are going to do beyond the current crisis and plan accordingly. Often companies survive a crisis with extraordinary measures, only to fail because they have no vision beyond their basic survival. It's like surviving crop failure and not planting again!

6. LONG GAME PREPARATION

The likelihood is coronavirus will be here a while. Short termism is great when a house is on fire, but not when you have to rebuild and inhabit.

7. EXERCISE BEHAVIOURAL FLEXIBILITY

Get advice and ask for help, call in favours, look for opportunities in the chaos. We are all in the same boat together. Everything is negotiable. Negotiate with creditors, be prepared to borrow money, get grants, use deferment of tax as you need. Be resolved to do what you have got to do to get through. That might challenge the pride of some and force unprecedented change on others.

8. BE HONEST WITH STAFF

In small firms particularly it's easy for relationships to get blurred beyond that of employer-employee. Staff are subject to feelings of loyalty, even friendship and more. There is a need for clear separation between the transactional relationship that exists between you and others and personal. Failure to so do can cloud difficult judgements to the compromise of all.

9. REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Remember you are not alone in this and it’s not your failure. Everyone is sharing this dilemma in some way.

10. RECLAIM YOURSELF

Some people will suffer from Coronavirus without ever coming into contact with the actual bug. It's the psychological effects of its impact on their lives and business that will be the source of suffering for them.

11. TALK ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS

There's no shame in anxiety. It’s your survival senses activating and we need to understand more rather than just suffer. Finding support, be that mentors, friends, colleagues or professional help, is no failure, it is enabling you to manage the situation just as you would in any situation where you would outsource.

Visit our online Support Hub for advice, guidance and resources on running a business during this challenging time. Alternatively, if you'd like support from a Forum mentor, please contact us on info@entrepreneursforum.net or 0191 500 7780.