Managing your anxiety and stress through uncertainty.

It's natural to feel anxious right now – trying to balance working from home, or working under new circumstances, social isolation and general uncertainty about where the world and global economies are headed. This causes stress, which leads to more anxiety, but by building good daily habits, you can regulate your emotion, leading to more positive and constructive actions, which in turn leads to better results.

Evelyn Cotter, SEVEN’s CEO discusses some practical tips to manage your stress and anxiety with Melanie Pritchard, our life and career coach and mental health coach. You can use these tips daily to keep your anxiety under control and to feel more balanced and healthy during this tough time.

Good stress vs bad stress

Stress, believe it or not, can be categorised into two major types of stress. There’s stress that motivates you to do better and that brings certain characteristics to the fore that is of benefit to you. This is good stress. However, you can also experience stress that causes anxiety and associated health problems. How can you distinguish between the two stresses?

Good stress – Take about 20 seconds and have a think about a moment in your life where stress has been helpful. For example, the first time you had to deliver a presentation at work, and how you felt stressed. Ultimately, that stress might have helped you to prepare, practice and perform better for that presentation.

Or if you are stressed in a new relationship, it might push you to show your vulnerability and bring you closer to the other person.

Bad stress – Stress is problematic when it becomes disproportionate to your problems or fears, when you are feeling overwhelmed and overthinking everything. When we find ourselves in this situation too much, it might be a signal that you are stepping into a mental health challenge and into the territory of anxiety and depression.

Dealing with uncertainty

Certainty is one of the three core human needs. Our certainty is in flux in most areas of our lives at this time. Your work might be in flux, your finances, and your personal relationships. It is rare to be dealing with so much uncertainty across so many areas at the same time. The key here is to be kind to yourself and to create psychological safety. This allows you to make better decisions and be less reactive.

Be your own best friend.  Develop a kind, loving inner-voice to support yourself as you would support your friends, colleagues or spouse. Your subconscious believes anything you tell it. So, if you feed your brain positive affirmations, it will start to believe it.

Create a support system

Think of three of the most important people in your life that can help you step back and provide clarity around any uncertainties and fears that you might have. Surround yourself with high-quality people, be mindful of who you're talking to, and select positive topics to keep a positive attitude going.

Turn your attention to positive routines

We all have positive coping mechanisms. Identify about three of those mechanisms and employ them to bring you back to centre. Eating healthier and focusing on foods that nourish your mind has a bearing on your brain’s development. Perhaps you do yoga, perhaps you like to go for a run, as this can help you calm down and relieve stress. Run a warm bath, while lighting aroma-therapeutic candles. Write in a journal, if that’s something you find helpful, getting those negative, raw, honest thoughts out on paper. Switch off from external factors that can affect your mood, which includes the news or other forms of media where negativity often reigns.

Connect with great listeners

If you're noticing you're down more than up, reach out for professional help before it turns into something more serious. Whether you connect with a counsellor or make use of apps like Better Help or MindLine, who has trained counsellors and listeners on the other end, connecting with great listeners in your time of distress or uncertainty can help you manage your fears.

Think yourself happy

Every time you have a thought that creates a feeling and that feeling usually creates behaviour. Through techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy and mind management tricks you can also bring yourself back to centre.

Have a contingency plan in place

If you are anxious about being faced with unemployment or job uncertainty, get innovative and use this time to work on your CV, develop online contacts, write articles to show your areas of interest, focus on industries that are thriving and are recruiting, reach out to recruiters for help or work with your own coach.

SEVEN Career Coaching can help you manage the anxiety and stress, while helping you plan for the future. Action builds belief. Reach out to one of our expert coaches today and keep moving forward.

If you would like more information on how to identify when your anxiety needs to be taken seriously and when you should seek professional help, watch our webinar on Managing your anxiety and stress through uncertainty at the 25:00 minute mark.


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