Resilience Part 2: times are tough
Five more strategies on cultivating resilience and how tobend not break when going through a tough time.
Keep your self-care practices high
There is no more important time to be taking good care of yourself than during a crisis. Unfortunately, this is often when it feels the hardest to do so. It’s difficult to connect eating nourishing food being a priority when you have suffered such a huge loss that nothing can fill it. However, improved self-care is exactly what we need to do. We can meet adversity with more resolve when we have slept well, eaten well, are hydrated, and up and dressed ready to face the world, even when we just want to hide under the duvet and hope it will all go away. Going back to basics with sleep/nutrition/exercise non-negotiables give us a platform of physical resiliency to deal with whatever faces us emotionally.
It’s not fair isn’t helping
A huge amount of focus and energy can be wasted on railing against the unfairness of the event, whether that is raged against an organisation, situation, person or Mother Nature: that this situation we find ourselves in shouldn’t have happened. It’s not fair. That may be absolutely true, or at least feel very true, but the real question is: is getting stuck in the mind-set of “it’s not fair” helpful at this time? Could that negative mental energy that is resisting the unwanted reality be better channelled into coping solutions that make the right now feel a little more comfortable?
Lean on your team
I’ve written before that a great mantra for life is to “give when you can but take when you must”. If this is your time to lean on others, lean without embarrassment or fear. Be accepting that, on this occasion, it’s your time to take and that is okay. You don’t have to instantly reciprocate. You can be held, and there will be people who will be glad to do it in terms of emotional or logistical support if you clearly raise your hand. Don’t brush them off with “I’m fine”. It’s okay to not be fine, and to lean on your team.
Find the value in collective reliance
Often we are not alone in going through a difficult or painful situation; it’s a path we are sharing with others. Not being alone in your experience can be incredibly heartening, as a bonding “blitz spirit” develops enhancing everyone’s baseline resiliency. You may find someone doing it tougher than you and you can boost confidence in your own coping skills by showing them the way.
Get out of your head
Nothing has the power to stop us sleeping, and fill our every waking moment with anxiety than hitting a big, painful and unexpected speed bump in the road of our life. It can lead to a mind racing out of control with thoughts of helplessness, rage, revenge, powerlessness or fear (among many others) that becomes almost impossible to shut off.
Painful and stressful thoughts are far better managed on paper than in your head. Journaling can make an enormous difference and bring an element of calm and clarity to an anxiety-fuelled internal dialogue. Getting stressful thoughts out of your head and on to paper is a tremendously effective coping strategy, as is getting out of your head and into your body.
Exercise and movement of any kind, from walking, swimming through to knocking seven bells out of a punching bag will help you get out of your head and create a space for clarity, inspiration and strength to emerge. Tough times bring an opportunity, albeit totally unwelcome, to develop our own capacity for resilience. We often surprise ourselves and find we are stronger than we believe and can withstand more than we ever imagined. As someone wise once said to me, “Life is tough, but so, my darling, are you.”
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing