We are living in a time like no other amid fear, loss, pain, confusion, and physical/social distancing. We need to be able to manage our lives, emotions, thoughts, relationships, careers, businesses, families, education, finances, and much more. How and where do we begin?
Do you have the right tools to endure and successfully make it through this time? Resilience is needed to equip you to face life as it is now and as it will be after to have and create a new-normal life. Resilience may not be automatic. Like many other skills, you can develop it with practice and know-how.
Resilience: What it is and how it can help you
When you have resilience, you’re able to gather inner strength to help you handle any situation without falling apart or going into deep freeze. Whether the challenge or momentary setback comes from illness, or loss of any kind, such as a death or a disaster, you have to be able to bounce back and not linger in defeat or victim mode. Nor do you incessantly dwell on the situation or feel it’s insurmountable or impossible to recover from.
If you lack resilience, you might dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed, or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the mounting stress.
Resilience won’t make your problems go away — your difficulties don’t necessarily disappear. It’s not like waving a magic wand. Yet resilience can give you the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life, and better handle stress. With resilience, you’re able to face those challenges with successful coping strategies and real solutions to give you the ability to go beyond them and rediscover more meaning and fulfillment.
Resilience can help us better handle the stressful situations in our lives and offer us options to recover from loss.
Feelings of anger, physical or emotional pain, remorse, or overwhelming grief may not immediately disappear. However, you have real methods to rise from them and meet your life and your goals Resilience gives you the ability to envision the future with hope and even optimism.
How you respond to your challenges, environmental threats and stressors is important. Being realistically optimistic doesn’t take away the challenge, yet we feel some measure of confidence that we’ll be able to move through it and even learn and grow from it. How you conceptualize what’s happening makes all the difference.
Resilience is ongoing and not a quick-fix approach. Remember you’re training or retraining yourself, especially from outdated coping techniques that don‘t give you what you need. It does rely on you taking action and putting in some time and effort to change your old habits.
Five Ways to Build your Resilience:
1. Manage your Feeling and Emotions:
If you fly off the handle at the slightest disappointment, you’re building a mountain of stress that your body won’t be able to handle over time. You don’t have to ignore or hide your feelings. Yet if your emotions are over the top, find ways to harness them so that they’re less volatile. Exercise and physical activity, music, journaling, laughter and hobbies can help you get rid of unwanted mood changes.
2. Build a Network of Connection:
There’s so much research regarding social interaction and health and wellness. We’re social beings and need to feel supported and engaged with people. Strong, supportive relationships with loved ones and friends offer connection, love, and acceptance that we all need.
Although we’re being asked to practice social distancing and be physically apart now, connection, strengthening relationships and communications are what’s warranted. There are still ways to maintain contact, reach out to others and stay connected. Utilize those ways to feel the power and warmth of connection.
When faced with a challenge, some people withdraw. If this describes you, lick your wounds and connect with even one person who cares and appreciates you and what you’re going through. Maintain or establish other connections in social groups and community action where possible.
3. Take care of yourself.
This is so important to help you through the tough times. Tend to your own needs and feelings, both physically and emotionally. Even though right now our social interactions are changed, still participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy that are feasible. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet.
To restore an inner sense of peace or calm, practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.
4. Be proactive.
Don’t ignore your problems or try to wish them away. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event, or loss, know that your situation can improve if you actively work at it.
5. Make Each Day Special:
I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to appreciate the moments of living even with the challenges. I’ve had my fair share of challenges. Even though some of them have been painful, life-threatening, and hard to endure, I appreciate that I am alive and able to write this article. This to me is a gift.
Look for, find and dwell on those moments that contain special meaning for you. They need to be accentuated. On my power walk, the sky filled with a beautiful pink hue. I paused and spent a few moments staring at the beautiful sky and thought “How special this moment was, how beautiful the sky and how lucky I was to be there at just the right moment to appreciate it.”
There are moments each day like this that we don’t make time to appreciate. Reverse that habit. Take a minute or two to notate it in your mind and in your heart. Fill each day with a sense of meaning and accomplishment despite the trials and unknowns. Take a moment to wonder at the bounty rather than scarcity.
Whether it’s something your child or grandchild did or said, a natural occurrence like my pink sky, a task well done, connecting with friends – admire and marvel at it. That same moment only comes around once.