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How to find solace in uncertain times 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many people will be self-isolating in the weeks to come and feeling uncertain about what lies ahead. With this in mind, our chaplain Rev Nicholas Roddis will be sharing a weekly blog, offering words of inspiration and reassurance for challenging times. 

“At Martlets, we’re trained and skilled in both practical and very ‘human’ ways to support people through uncertainty. Our expert team is drawn from a range of complementary disciplines that help people with life-limiting illnesses to live to the full 

An essential component of this approach is the importance of hope, purpose, and possibility.  

How might we apply these values in our own lives in response to the current challenge we’re facing? In these blogs, I’ll offer my thoughts on what feels useful and share words and practices that I hope will bring some comfort. 

Our current uncertainty

We are at the beginning of large periods of uncertainty related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and understandably there’s an element of shock. People can’t quite believe that life can change so quickly and that there are significant changes to so many areas of each of our lives; there’s confusion, fear and uncertainty and for some it can feel overwhelming at times.  

We need to find ways of attending to our thoughts and feelings so that we don’t spiral into fear and anxiety. These feelings may be accentuated by the ease at which we can access news and social mediaAlthough usually channels of help and social connectedness, these resources can be unhelpful in bombarding us with information that further provokes our fears and confusion and sends our thoughts racing. We’re left feeling exhausted or feeling out of control.  

In fact, we do have control over how we choose to act and react to things. However, we need internal space to recognise this. 

Having a regular practice in place that you do every day to ground yourself is essential. As a result, this will help avoid being pulled along by troublesome thoughts and feelings. It needn’t be complicated or time consuming, the key is that it becomes a regular habit – like brushing your teeth! Aim to do the same practice every day regardless of what is changing around you out in the world. Trusting yourself to be committed to this is important and will give you a sense of reassurance. 

The circle of life 

One exercise that can be useful is to draw a circle, in your mind or on paper. Think ‘what is it that I have control over?’. Really focus on that as your purpose. Think of things you don’t have control over as outside the circle. They’re still in your awareness so accept them and your feelings around them, but keep your focus on knowing ‘I have control over these things within this circle, within my sphere of influence – how I react, what I say and do, how I relate to others’. My sphere of influence includes my many emotions and thoughts too! I do have control over them. 

Back to earth 

If you’re able to walk, or get outside, then at some point take your shoes and socks off. Feel the ground beneath your feet, even if it’s wet. Settle back into your body and know that your body is held – steady – by the earth. 

Focus on your breathing, notice (but don’t engage with) your emotions and sense the rhythm of your walking. (If your emotions get the better of you and you get lost in thought, imagine putting your emotions down with your shoes before you walk).  

Every time you put down your left footbreathe in a sense of stillness and peace that moves throughout your body. Then, putting down your right foot, imagine letting go of anything that’s worrying you; let it flow down into the ground. You can also do this exercise sitting in a chair if mobility is an issue.” 

Please try these practices and see how they may support you. 

May compassionate wisdom flow through you to others this day,