Everyone faces crisis or tragedy at least once, or maybe several times in their lives.  As such, there is an increase in despair.  As the months tick by, it is easier and easier to fall into a rut of emotional strife.  Rather than tell you that you need to brush it off, there are coping and resilience skills to help you not only survive but thrive in these times and into the future.

Here are some tools to help build your resilience:

  • Practice pauses – it’s easy to get swept up in anxiety if everything around you feels urgent. Practice taking a pause to notice your surroundings, your feelings, and your thoughts.
  • Choose healthy behaviors – when you feel stressed, instead of picking up a bottle of alcohol, a cigarette or zoning out on social media or TV, try stepping outside and getting a bit of fresh air while stretching, walking, or calling a friend.
  • Shift your mindset – a growth mindset can help you more easily overcome adversity. In a growth mindset, you are apt to think things like “my effort and attitude determine my abilities” rather than a fixed mindset that says, “When I am overwhelmed, I give up”.  Think of challenges as obstacles you get to overcome and feel a sense of pride, rather than obstacles being presented to hold you back.
  • Manage your emotions – recognize that there are no “bad” emotions. All emotions are valid and necessary, but you get to decide how you respond to them. Try to take time to breathe and respond, rather than react spontaneously to life events.
  • Practice self-care – this may conjure up images of bubble baths or going to get a massage, but the true keys to self-care are learning to say no when you are over committed, holding yourself accountable to your personal commitments, making healthy eating and drinking choices, getting good rest, physical movement each day, and using positive self-talk.

Lastly, if we are going to help ourselves, we also need to look out for one another. We can reduce stigma, which will help our friends and colleagues, by not shaming people who are struggling, by using encouraging language, and by role modeling healthy coping and resilience skills.  If we can keep ourselves in the “growth” zone on the diagram above, then we are helping not only ourselves, but our team.

Where are you on the scale? If you aren’t in the growth zone, what is one thing you can do today to get there? Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint: some days are going to be harder than others, and setbacks will occur. Give yourself some grace and patience, and speak encouraging words to yourself about getting back up and facing another day.

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