Tried, tested, trusted by
more than 100,000
Coping with Uncertainty
Being faced with uncertainty is a normal part of life. Worries about uncertainty can be
hard to manage, particularly if we feel that we feel physically or emotionally unsafe.
When that happens, uncertainty can trigger stress, fear and panic. If it continues too
long, uncertainty can even trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
COVID-19 has made life more uncertain for many people. Many of us are concerned about our
health and the health of loved ones, the economy and jobs, and the future.
The good news is that there are some strategies that can help us cope with uncertainty.
A Coping Strategy for Now: Accepting What You Can and Can't Control
An uncertain or challenging situation can bring with it a lot of worries. Even though
these worries may be very real, spending excessive amounts of time worrying often doesn’t
help us address the situation, and can lead to feelings of stress, hopelessness and
A way you can manage this worry is by recognising and accepting what you can and can’t
control. You can do this by following these three steps.
Write down your main worries. List as many as you need to.
Divide the list into two. One list is for the things you can do something about, and
the other list is for the things you can’t do anything about.
Make a plan to solve the items on the first list and seek help if needed to solve
them. Practice accepting what is on the second list.
For the items that you can do something about, you may find our Structured Problem-Solving
A Longer-Term Coping Strategy: Worry Time
Consider this: How much time in your day is spent worrying about the past or the future?
Or worrying about things that are uncertain or out of your control?
If you find that this worry is taking up a considerable part of your day, causing you
distress, or interfering with your ability to engage with your daily tasks, the people and
environment around you, you may benefit from scheduling in some Worry Time. Worry Time is
a skill to help people manage the amount of time they spend worrying throughout the day.
To learn how to use Worry Time, download our Worry Time Guide:
Looking For More Support?
We recommend you consult with your GP, who can discuss local support or treatment options
with you. They can prepare a Mental Health Care Plan, which will enable you to access
treatment services with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist through Medicare, or a referral to
local Community Mental Health Services. Your GP can also provide a physical check-up, if
you haven’t had one recently. Your physical health can affect your emotional wellbeing.
If you don’t have one already, you can find a GP in your local area at
Another option is online treatment. The MindSpot Clinic offers free online and telephone
delivered Treatment Courses which help people manage their symptoms stress, anxiety, low
mood and depression.