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Coping with fear and uncertainty

Last reviewed on 02 July 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has brought lots of worries about our health, our family, our money and our future. We’re in the midst of a chaotic and uncertain time, where many of us fear what will happen next.

Whether we’re on our own or have family members or friends to chat to; for most of us the uncertainty can be very hard to handle. Some of us may have already been affected by coronavirus, the rest of us are bracing for what may come, and all of us are watching the headlines and wondering what’s going to happen next.

At some point we might feel fear and anxiety, it’s natural to think the worst and let it start to overwhelm us.

As Co-op colleagues, there’s lots we can do to support each other, so we can cope through this unique crisis. Have a read through a few tips to help you.

Talk, talk and talk some more

Fear can be crippling and it’s perfectly normal to feel it right now. A great way to help overcome any fears you might have is to talk to others about them, whether they are money worries, your health or what you feel your future might hold. It’s always good to talk to people you trust, who are calm and may have helped you in the past.

Stay away from fake news

Stick to trustworthy sources of information such as gov.uk (government services) or who.int (The World Health Organisation) to find regular updates. Where possible, try and step away from the media, including social media, if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Stay connected

Make a pact to stay in touch with friends, colleagues and family. Why not think about arranging regular phone calls or virtual meetings through websites such as Zoom? We’ve also got a dedicated ‘Colleague Wellbeing’ channel on Yammer, where you can share hints and tips. Make a point of talking about things you enjoy and want to do more of when you can meet with friends and family again.

If you lead a team you cannot over communicate. Share what you can, when you can and as often as you can. Keep your team in the picture with what you know but be honest. If you don’t know the answer then tell them and look into finding the answer for them.

How do I recognise fear in others?

Being worried, anxious and fearful is a very personal and individual journey and our reaction to fear is no different, it varies person to person. The key is knowing people well, so you can spot their fear. More often than not, it is mostly evidenced through a change in their behaviour.

You may see others in denial of the current pandemic and trivialise the situation. You might also see withdrawal, anger or upset as a result of the challenges they are facing right now. It’s important to recognise that worry and fear is a normal reaction to the current situation.

What can I do to help others?

Some of the situations you find yourself in could be new to you so it’s best not to try and fix everything yourself. Communication is important as is knowing where to go for help.

Be genuine and listen

Genuinely listening will encourage others to share their fears with you and help build and maintain trust. Within your team, encourage colleagues to share fears, problems and worries. Try to openly listen to each other. Encourage colleagues to talk about what is within their control and influence.

Reach out for support

It’s OK to ask for help. Find out more in the useful link and support sections.