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The ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge challenge. Find out how you can manage expectations and maintain wellbeing.

Sharon Richens, a Wellbeing Specialist at Altius Group, shares her insights to help you manage expectations when navigating these difficult and uncertain times.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt business-as-usual, people are recognising the ongoing uncertainty as a huge challenge. Everyone reacts differently to complexities and uncertainties, whether this includes feelings of loss of control, anxiety, or even threats of financial insecurity. That’s why it’s important to find what works for you – look at effective ways to manage expectations in terms of what is possible and what is achievable during this time. This can help in navigating times of uncertainty and heightened stress, where there is an emphasis on maintaining your wellbeing.

Below are some key tips, strategies and things to remember to help you manage your expectations and wellbeing in uncertain times.

#1 Responses to Pandemics are Individual

Every single person has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in a different way. For some, the hardest aspect is working from home permanently, for others, the hardest aspect has been not being able to see close family members and friends, or even trying to juggle work and home schooling. Our response to these individual ‘stressors’ are personal, and responding differently to your peers is very normal.

#2 We Cannot Control the Uncontrollable

There are many aspects that are beyond our individual control, whether it’s the pandemic or something completely unrelated. Spending time thinking about the uncontrollable just increases feelings of stress and anxiousness. Instead, focus on the aspects in life that you can control. This approach puts you in a better position to handle day to day life.

  • You may not be able to change the demands being placed on you at work, but you can control how you prioritise tasks and manage your own time.

  • You can’t control whether your colleagues will complete their portion of work to an adequate standard, but you can control the quality of your own work, or how you communicate expectations with your colleagues.

  • At home, you can’t control the necessity of domestic chores, but you can communicate your expectations with other members of the household when it comes to how and when the chores are done.

#3 Perfection is Not the Goal

In times of great uncertainty and prolonged stressors, perfection must be put aside. Manage expectations in terms of what you believe to be achievable and realistic in your current circumstances. This may be in relation to the number of work tasks you can achieve in a day, or a health-related goal you have. You can also work towards developing good habits to help support your wellbeing. Goals are important, and help us navigate stressful periods, but being ‘perfect’ is not sustainable.

Pare Down Your To-Do List 

Analyse your schedule, responsibilities and daily tasks and distinguish between the “should” and the “must”. Drop tasks that are not truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Learn To Say No

Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching your limits.

#4 Keep a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude practice is very powerful in helping you build a more positive mindset. It’s simple, yet profoundly effective. One thing you can try is to write five things in a notebook every day that you are grateful for. Some days, it may be as simple as a blue sky and a comfortable bed, but focusing each and every day on what we are grateful for helps build optimism.

#5 Share Your Thinking with Someone

Expressing how you are feeling can help reduce stress, even if you are unable to change your situation. Speak to a trusted friend, a manager, a colleague or access your workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP).


If you’d like to speak with our Wellbeing Specialist about tailoring a workplace wellbeing module to your workforce, please contact us, or visit Altius Group Employee Wellbeing Programs for further information. Altius Group offers individual and group coaching sessions, as well as workplace webinars and face to face modules.