Covid-19 has up-ended all our tried and true ways of managing the stressors in our lives.
The traditions, rituals, habits and routines we’ve relied upon for years, decades even, to give our lives and relationships meaning and structure are all up for grabs.
There are days when feelings of overwhelm rule.
When it feels like it’s all too much, it’s time to reach deep inside to tap into your internal resilience. Oh, it’s in there. Always was and always will be.
You can depend upon your spirit of resilience to regain your equilibrium whenever life hands you lemons.
Resilience is the ability to adapt in the fact of adversity.
It’s the psychological quality that allows some people to come back at least as strong as they were before, if not stronger.
Rather than letting difficulties, upsetting events, or failures sap their energy and motivation, highly resilient women find a way to change course, work on emotional healing, and continue moving forward.
While it does not necessarily mean “bouncing back” from difficult experiences, it does mean deciding to face what is and resolving to allow yourself to feel the negative emotions that circumstances may generate.
Resilience stimulates significant personal growth.
When life hands you lemons…
Many aspects of your life are beyond your control.
As I have written about before, on balance, life is 50/50. Fifty percent positive, 50 % negative.
At any given time, it may seem more like 80/20 one way or the other, but we know that life is a non-stop mix and flow of the whole range of emotional weather.
And that emotional weather is always caused by what we think about any given circumstance.
Resilience activates thoughts and actions that anyone can learn and develop.
Developing resilience is like building a muscle.
Increasing your resilience takes time, awareness and focus.
According to this article published by the American Psychological Association concentrate on developing these core competencies to build your resilience muscle:
- Create connection
- Pursue wellness
- Manage thoughts & find meaning
- Find purpose & help others
Here are some suggestions for increasing resilience.
- Prioritize relationships and connect with empathetic and understanding people can remind you that you’re not alone in the midst of difficulties. Isolation can lead to greater loneliness and more intense dwelling on your upsetting circumstances.
- Join a group that holds regular virtual get-togethers. Create that group yourself for your friends or family and invite. In today’s climate, that means social media and other virtual meeting platforms are your new best friends. Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Face Time, Zoom, Google Hangouts, just to name a few, can become valued resources for connection.
- Take care of your body by eating sensibly, sleeping 7+ hours a night, drinking adequate amounts of water and exercising, however modestly, regularly.
- Practice mindfulness by journaling, yoga, and other spiritual practices like prayer or meditation can also help people build connections and restore hope. These behaviors can prime you to deal with situations that require resilience.
- Think about positive aspects of your life when you journal, meditate, or pray. Recall the things you’re grateful for, even during personal challenges. Gratitude is an essential element of creating well-being.
- Avoid buffering although it may be tempting to mask your pain with alcohol, drugs or other substances. Focus instead on giving your body resources to manage stress, rather than seeking to eliminate the feeling of stress altogether.
MANAGE THOUGHTS & FIND MEANING
- Your thoughts play a significant part in how you feel and, therefore, how resilient you are when faced with obstacles.
- Be proactive by acknowledging and allowing your emotions during hard times. Foster self-discovery by asking yourself, “What can I do about (this problem) in my life?” If the problem seems too big to tackle, break it down into manageable pieces.
- Keep things in perspective by identifying areas of irrational thinking, such as a tendency to catastrophize difficulties or assume the world is out to get you. Decide to adopt a more balanced and realistic thinking pattern. For instance, if you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, remind yourself that what happened to you isn’t an indicator of how your future will go. You’re not helpless. You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you interpret and respond to it.
- Accept that change is a part of life. Certain goals or ideals may no longer be attainable as a result of changing situations in your life. Accept what is and decide how you want to think about it that serves you.
- Maintain a hopeful outlook even when life isn’t going your way. There is no downside to feeling hopeful. Honestly, I can’t over-emphasize this point enough. A more hopeful outlook empowers you to expect that good things will happen to you. And if they don’t, they’ll be time to deal with the situation as it plays out, but you won’t have wasted precious time imagining the worst.
- Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear might happen.
- Along the way, note any subtle signs that you’re starting to feel better as you deal with difficult situations.
- Learn from your past by looking back at who or what was helpful in previous times of distress. You may remember or re-discover how you can respond effectively to new difficult situations. Remind yourself of when in your past you found strength and ask yourself what you’ve learned from those experiences and how you can now apply those lessons.
FIND PURPOSE & HELP OTHERS
- Help others by volunteering on line or in person with an organization or simply support a friend in their own time of need, you can garner a sense of purpose, foster self-worth, connect with other people and tangibly help others, all of which can empower you to grow in resilience.
- Take initiative to remind you that you can muster motivation and purpose even during stressful periods of your life. This can increase the likelihood that you’ll rise up again during other painful times.
- Move toward your goals by developing some best next steps.
- Do something regularly, even if it seems like a small accomplishment, that enables you to move toward the things you want to accomplish. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
- Look for opportunities for self-discovery by noticing how you might have grown in some respect as a result of a struggle. For example, after a tragedy or hardship, people have reported better relationships and a greater sense of strength, even while feeling vulnerable. This can increase your sense of self-worth and heighten your appreciation for life.
Need more help?
Getting help when you need it is crucial to strengthening your resilience.
For many people, using their own resources and the kinds of strategies listed above may be enough. But when you’re stuck or have difficulty making progress, I’m here to coach you onward.
The important thing to remember is you never need be alone on your journey.
While many of life’s circumstances are out of your control, you can grow by focusing on the aspects of life’s challenges you can manage with the support.
Ready to chat about them with me?
Just let me know right here.