Why Uncertainty is Exhausting
Uncertainty fatigue strikes when you feel like you don’t have a “normal” to relax into anymore.
It comes when you can no longer take for granted doing things the way you’ve always done them, and you have to spend a lot of energy thinking about all of the possible outcomes and making decisions on the fly.
It’s easy to take for granted how much we do on autopilot every day, and how much energy it saves us to not have to question everything as we go.
People have different tolerance levels for uncertainty (the more you love control, the less you will like uncertainty). The lower your tolerance for uncertainty, the more mental exertion it will bring. Uncertainty fatigue can come from situations ranging from global pandemic, health issues or caring for people with health issues, or even a new boss at work that you aren’t sure about.
Feeling Out of Control
To make things worse, uncertainty fatigue is often accompanied by the feeling that things are out of control, and when life feels out of control and you’re exhausted, you’re likely doing one of the following:
a) Trying to control everything: This tunnel vision leads you to believe that you must funnel all of your time and energy into trying to do more, and you will eventually burn out.
b) Losing sight of what you have the power to control: You believe that there’s nothing you can do and will wait, possibly forever until something or someone else instigates change.
Both of these make it hard to find calm, and clarity, and take productive action. Especially because both of these responses can quickly become habitual patterns.
Breaking Out of the Pattern
If you are exhausted from uncertainty fatigue and you want to feel grounded and in-control, the best thing you can do is to force yourself to take a step back and get out of the weeds. From there you can examine your thoughts, beginning with the moment you are in right now.
There will always be uncertainty in life, and you can build your tolerance and resilience to it.
The key is to root yourself in the present, reject hyperbole, and re-align with what matters in the big picture. Set a timer for 10 minutes and ask yourself the following. Write down the answers because we tend to take a lot of shortcuts when we do this stuff in our heads.
Root yourself in the present:
- List three things you know for sure.
- What specifically is uncertain today?
- What do I have the power to decide today?
- What will matter and what will not a year from now?
Redirect to what matters:
- What do I want in my life a year from now?
- What can I do now to move things in that direction?
- What could I do to make today great?
Ultimately you want to spend more time emotionally engaging with what you can control than with what you cannot.
Growing Uncertainty Tolerance
If you’re new to mindset work it’s tempting to skim the questions, answer the obvious “right” answer in your head, and assume that mindset stuff doesn’t apply to “real” problems, but that’s just a natural resistance to questioning your own thoughts. Instead, practice getting curious. The thing is, when done right, this shit works. Learning to examine your thought patterns and questioning your beliefs and assumptions without judgment is a game changer.
With practice, it becomes easier and easier to catch yourself when you are getting off track and heading towards overwhelm and redirect your thoughts towards what you can control. It will stop your nervous system from freaking out and you will feel more ease and in control. Even better, when you feel grounded it will be easier for the people around you to feel grounded.
In Kickstartology Coaching you learn the most effective mindset tools to stay grounded and focus on what matters, and as you build the habit of using them consistently, your tolerance for uncertainty will increase. Uncertainty is a guarantee, but feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and out of control isn’t.
You’ve got this.