Resilience is the ability to bounce back or withstand difficult times and come out stronger on the other side. It is so much more than a positive mindset. Simply being positive can become toxic if we fail to identify and acknowledge the struggles we are experiencing. This current crisis has forced us to be face to face with ourselves. We have had to adapt within circumstances that are uncomfortable.
A foundation of wellness is key and includes a system of ingredients that all work together. Social networks of support, relationships with those in our home and our extended families, financial resources, healthcare and daily habits of health, emotional strength and flexibility as well as our faith communities or spiritual connections. Tending to all of them can be challenging without crises going on. This unprecedented time in history may be highlighting what is not working in our lives. Pause to notice what areas may need your attention.
In order to bolster resiliency there are several areas to consider. The following list of 10 have been shown to be the best determinants of resiliency.
- Maintain structure and routine as much as possible.
- Invest energy into your most important relationships. Communicate every day that they matter to you. It can be easy to take relationships for granted so make it a point to tell people how much they mean to you.
- Reach out and maintain social relationships. Check in with friends and family. Whether through social media, text, phone calls or good old fashioned letter writing.
- Take this time to develop other parts of you. Taking up a hobby or craft can open up parts of you that you haven’t seen or shared in a long time. Highlighting to ourselves that life is more than work and chores and meals.
- Take control of what you can. This is important to practice in order to limit our feeling of helplessness. This fortifies our strength to cope.
- Maintain your spiritual practices. Stay connected to your source of strength and belonging.
- Look after your basic needs. Clean, straighten and organize your home and environment. Chaos creates anxiety and insecurity. Putting your home in order creates a sense of calm and security.
- Take care of your physical health. Stay as active as you can, move your body every day. Eat nutritious foods and get restful sleep. These are the foundational pieces to good mental health and overall well-being.
- Stabilize your finances. This could be an opportunity to increase your savings account or reach out for help with a budget.
- Stay present and positive by avoiding catastrophic thinking. Limit exposure to the news (set a timer if necessary). Read and watch things everyday that can lift your spirits. Puppy or kitten videos can work or your favorite movies, music or books. Pictures and nature scenes that bring a sense of peace can calm your nervous system within moments. Instead of playing “what if” scenarios this will keep you focused on the here and now.
These suggestions for building resiliency are not meant to be a comprehensive list nor applied all at once. Pick one to explore and strengthen habits around it before moving on to another one.
Here’s to “happily ever after” one habit at a time.