Resiliency During a Pandemic

In this unprecedented period of global uncertainty, it is necessary to take a deeper dive into our mental well-being to check on our resiliency muscle. "What is that you ask?"

 

Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, and bounce back amid stress, chaos, and ever-changing circumstances. Resilient people don't dwell on failure but rather acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and move forward. The good news is that resiliency is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice.

The ability to endure the physical and emotional hardship of adversity and come out stronger, depends on our capacity to prioritize self-care.

Resiliency, like a healthy muscle, must be exercised regularly to function well. Here are 4 self-care tips for building resiliency.

  1. Develop a healthy sleep schedule.
  2. Establish your priorities.
  3. Include self-care practices in your daily routine.
  4. Limit your time on social media and electronics.
  • Build and maintain connections. Having good, close relationships with family members, friends, or others is important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens your resilience. Being empathetic and compassionate toward others also builds your resiliency by being in the helper role. Seeing the world from another's viewpoint is both powerful and humbling and has a positive effect on resiliency.
  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. We can't change the fact that highly stressful things happen, but we can change how we interpret and respond to these events. Experiment by looking beyond the present situation to imagine how future circumstances might improve.
  • Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very challenging events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and work to keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion, which is not only easy to do but also more difficult to recover from for you and your team. Be a calm-and-steady role model who focuses on the facts and avoids emotional reactivity.
  • Accept that change is a part of work (and of life). Certain goals may no longer be attainable due to insurmountable obstacles or a change in organizational direction. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on things that you can alter.
  • Develop and nurture a positive view of yourself. Develop self-confidence — in your ability to solve problems — and trust your instincts. Remaining poised under pressure is a powerful, affirmative role model for your staff.
  • Take decisive actions. Address adverse situations as soon as you can. Act decisively rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away. Avoidance happens all too often in the workplace, and it creates a pervasive demoralizing environment for staff that is difficult to rectify.
  • Hang on to a sense of humor. Laughing in the face of adversity can be a great stress reliever, and it helps keep your team together. Humor reduces tension to more manageable levels, which is especially important in constant stress situations. It also helps you and your team rebound and carry on when things are tough.
  • Keep communication channels open and dynamic. Be sure to communicate change initiatives to everyone, especially to people who are resistant or fearful of change. Clear and consistent communication also helps keep you and your team motivated for the long road of change initiatives and shifting priorities.
  • Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, even if it's only a 10-minute walk in the middle of the work-day. Practicing self-care keeps your mind and body in condition to deal with situations that require resilience.

The "Bounce Back"

Is there a way to switch perspective on the problem? If you're like most of us (which w're sure you are!), you can probably notice yourself doing things to try to control, avoid, get rid of or escape from the problems you've been experiencing. Maybe you've been trying to work the problem out, thinking and analyzing you way through it for a while and not really getting anywhere?

Defusion is the ability to take a step back and observe your thinking rather than getting lost or tangled up in it. The goal is to become defused from our thoughts as thoughts and allow them to guide us, if they are helpful, rather than to dominate us and dictate our ACTions, emotions and feelings. 

We are fully aware that our brains are built to fixate on threats, uncertainty and negativity and they capitalize on it. Enhancing mental toughness, highlighting and honing strengths, and fostering strong relationships are core competencies for one's resiliency "bounce back." To be truly successful we must recognizes the importance of building resiliency skills so we can flourish rather than flounder when faced with uncertainty. It takes time, attention, and practice to build resilience, but the long-term positive outcomes are well worth the effort.

Practical Wisdom of Tolerating Uncertainty

It is worth reminding ourselves that uncertainty is an inescapable part of life, and the sooner we become more comfortable with it, the sooner we can reduce mental suffering.

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime." ~ John R. Lewis 1940 - 2020

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