Health Advocate Blog

Planning ahead for an uncertain future

The ongoing situation across the country may vary by region, but feeling unsure of what the near future holds is something many people have in common. Throughout this challenging time, you and your loved ones may have experienced sadness or regret about important events, trips or family time that had to be missed, cancelled or rescheduled. Right now, many days may feel the same with no certainty about the weeks and months ahead. With the future still unclear, how can we push forward through this fatigue or burnout and look ahead?

It is absolutely natural to feel this way; we are mourning the loss of certain freedoms and the ability to be social. But don’t let those feelings of regret overwhelm you. We are all experiencing this at the same time, so it is important to push our mindset toward happier, more enjoyable things to change how we think about the current situation. Find alternatives for now, but do not be afraid to plan for the future. Create contingency options, but having something to look forward to can help you remain positive despite uncertainty. Here are a few things you can do now to help shift your mindset and look forward to what comes next:

Plan a vacation. While this may initially seem like a crazy idea right now, think of how excited you were the last time you booked a getaway. It can help you look forward to the future. Perhaps you can start thinking about rescheduling a recently cancelled trip for next year or research a new-to-you destination. While it is fantastic to start planning, do be realistic to avoid future disappointment. Do not book anything that cannot be rescheduled or refunded if need be. But the fun of thinking ahead to the vacation may be the push you need to break out of a current funk.

Work toward a goal. Perhaps you did not have the time or motivation to stay active during this period – that is okay! This has been a challenging time for everyone, and we each need to find our own way to cope. But once you’re ready to start planning ahead, consider picking a goal you can begin working toward now. Maybe sign up for a 5k that will take place next fall and start training now – there is a chance it may be a virtual race, but you will feel just as accomplished when you cross that finish line!

Reflect on this time. While we are in this moment, it can be easy to focus on the negatives. Not being able to see friends or family, cancelling plans, being stuck at home day in and day out…this is not to minimize those difficulties (among many others), but try to think ahead to what you’ll remember in the years ahead. Perhaps you will appreciate the simplicity of this time – fewer obligations, more time to spend with your immediate family, less running around and more sitting, time spent outside alone, and more. Think about which of these positives you want to carry forward. Perhaps you will schedule less on your calendar. Maybe you will make more time for nature walks or coffee breaks on your patio. Focusing on the positive can help both now and into the future, whatever it may hold.

There is no denying this has been a tough time for many people, but starting to focus on the future can help you shift your perspective and think positively about what comes next.