Many of you that I have spoken to in the last few weeks are feeling vulnerable. Not just in terms of your ability to fight off a virus but mentally, physically, chemically, socially and financially. You worry that you don’t have the tools to deal with everything that is unfolding at the moment both to keep yourself safe and to look after your loved ones. Not only that, you worry about your ability to bounce back when it is all over, and certainly to thrive as a result of the lessons learnt.
The anecdote to these feelings of vulnerability is resilience. Resilience is the confidence and the ability to not just survive, but thrive through adversity. Experts disagree on how much of your resilience is inborn and how much comes from your life experiences but what they all agree on is that it can be developed, it can be improved. It is generally not something that changes overnight but more through conscious effort and consistency, nevertheless small actions can make a big difference.
So here are my top tips for increasing your resilience in this difficult time.
Find The Upside In Your Stress
Whenever you find yourself feeling stressed and vulnerable take a few minutes to write down what is going on and see if you can re-frame it and see the “upside”. You might be stressed about missing out on work and income but wasn’t the whole reason you were working so hard so that you could afford to have some time off with the kids? You might be isolated at home but what about that one job you have been putting off for months? You might be missing some social connection but what better time to check in on yourself and see whether you are truly living for you or for others?
Find and write down 3 things every day that you are grateful for. The discipline of finding three things even amongst the chaos every day in itself will help you to build some resilience and the act of acknowledging the good in your world helps you see that you aren’t as weak and vulnerable as it seemed.
Acknowledge Your Resilience
You already show resilience in your life in far more ways than your vulnerable self realises especially right now. Spend some time every day thinking of and writing down 3 ways that you show resilience in your daily life. Acknowledging where you have already shown resilience and overcome challenges in your life is a great way to build confidence that you can do so again in the future.
Rest and Recovery
One of the best ways to increase your resilience is actually to be kinder to yourself. We all know that when we are feeling tired and stressed and sick that we are less tolerant of others and less able to meet challenges, I am sure you have felt that recently. The reverse is also true. When you allow yourself time to get some rest, when you prioritise getting a good night’s sleep and when you spend some time doing healthy activities that rejuvenate you then your resilience will go up. It might be yoga, or bush walking or reading a book. Just find what works for you and make it a priority to rest and recover in these stressful times. Just remember to use your stress as a way to rejuvenate, not as an excuse to stay stuck in your vulnerability.
Check In With Your Purpose
Often when you feel scared or vulnerable it is not that you fear your ability to do something, it is often that you fear you won’t have the time, or the energy, or the motivation. If you find yourself lacking in time, energy and motivation (especially if you are at home in isolation) it is likely because you either aren’t acting in alignment with your life purpose or you are not making strong enough connections between those actions and your purpose.
To help find your purpose try asking yourself the following questions…
Why do you get up in the morning?
What keeps you awake at night?
When are you most alive?
What does being successful mean to you?
If you met an older version of yourself, what sage advice would they give you?
If you met a younger version of yourself, what would they say?
And to connect with your purpose, spend some time listing all of the ways in which this seemingly disconnected activity actually helps you achieve your life purpose (you might be surprised).
Challenge Yourself With Exercise
Physical metaphors can be great reflectors of how you live your life, as anyone who has attended one of our Wellness Breakthrough retreats can testify. And there are lots of workouts you can do that are perfect for when you are stuck at home in isolation. The discipline required to start working out and the resilience required to finish it is a great opportunity to strengthen not only your physical muscles but your mental ones as well. You don’t have to go crazy here, it doesn’t have to be running a marathon. It just needs to be testing for YOU and it needs to be scheduled in and repeated.
So start taking action to build your resilience, it will help you not only survive and thrive through this storm but also to prepare for the inevitable next one.
In the meantime stay safe, rest and recover and reach out if you need support.
If you would like to be more resilient check out my book Rock Bottom; How to not only survive, but thrive through personal and professional stress.