Resilience is one of my favorite topics to learn about these days. We have so much to deal with as we face COVID-19, racial inequalities and unemployment. Resilience simply put is one’s capacity to overcome difficulties, challenges and even trauma. There’s nothing simple about it though.
Do you ever wonder how some people bounce back quickly after something traumatic or challenging happened? Resilience is learned and strengthened over time. It’s like a muscle that you build with each adverse thing that enters your life. And we have challenges to meet almost every day whether it’s the little things or the traumatic events that reshape our lives.
When my sister Stacy had ovarian cancer, she fought to live every step of the way until she decided it was time to stop fighting. I still can’t imagine the trauma of facing death when she was so young and with so much life left to live. I also look back at those years after she passed and see how resilience, gratitude and toughness got me through those dark days. It was a long road, but it was one that made me realize how I handle life’s adversity today was a result of the trauma I faced losing a sister so young. It transformed my view of life and death forever.
Resilience empowers you and helps you grow from the experiences that change your life. It improves your life as you build the resilience muscle because as you face hard times, you can control how you view, evaluate and move forward in times of adversity. Some experiences can be harder to overcome than others, especially in 2020, when we’re facing a whirlwind of adversity and challenges. Practicing resilience will not only empower you to overcome challenges, it is essential to thrive in life.
We have so many tools to help with resilience building. Below are my top 5 Ways to Build Resilience.
1. Find Your Center
My dad used to say those words to me when I was out of sorts over some life challenge. I’ve carried those words with me each day. Finding your center means when things feel chaotic and off, you can regain your ground by resetting your internal alignment. It will help you refocus and feel back in control of your situation by assessing what is stressing you internally.
The 3 Pillars of Centering start with:
- Awareness – become aware you’re off balance and create a conscious choice for change.
- Attention to Action – notice where your attention is being directed at that moment and begin to create the shift to where you focus your thoughts.
- Intention – set the intention of how you will respond to the challenges life will present to you.
Get more in depth details of how to practice the 3 Pillars of Centering at The Chopra Center.
2. Practice Self Care
Self care is not a one-time engagement or selfish. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. You can take small amounts of time in the day to experience the benefits of self care. Some easy steps to self care can be:
- Take 5 minutes for yourself. Close your eyes. Breathe. Repeat.
- Step outside for fresh air. Stare up at the sky or admire flowers along the walkway.
- Sit on the patio for a few minutes while the kids are sleeping and before you start work.
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for in your life.
Have more time to focus on self care?
- Enjoy some exercise and get the sweat out.
- Go on a bike ride.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Listen to music or a podcast.
There’s a number of ways you can incorporate self care into your daily routine. I get up extra early to have tea on the patio or read before the kids get up. Set boundaries and get those self-care moments into your daily schedule. Your heart, mind and body will thank you.
3. Be Positive
Optimism and a positive attitude will get you through the tough days. Being a working mom during the pandemic and with homeschooling is no easy task for anyone. Our attitude will help us thrive or pull us down into a dark place. It’s a choice to view the world with the half empty glass or the almost full beverage of choice.
Cultivating your positive attitude begins with things like practicing self care and keeping a gratitude journal. It doesn’t mean you view the world as a peachy, happy place all of the time. It does mean that when things are stressful you can still pull the positive things out of any situation.
4. Reduce Your Stressors
Stress can be present in our lives from anywhere. Work, home, pandemic, economy, kids and finances are big areas of stress for many people. The uncertainty of the current state of the world can make the most calm person a stressed out mess.
Take a look around at what is stressing you out and write down a stress list. What can you eliminate? How can you shift to reduce the focus on the things that are stressing you out?
One source of stress for many people is social media. Limit your use of aimless scrolling of the negative newsfeed. Some platforms are worse than others when it comes to negativity.
What you consume with your mind will impact your mood. See how you can reduce the stressors and increase the positivity in your life.
5. Connect with Others for Support
All of us are feeling the impact of social distancing. I miss hanging out with friends and freely going to events where I interact with others. We’re social beings and the pandemic means we need to hold off on all of the human interaction we crave.
Connecting with others over Zoom, a phone call, email, text or messaging can make such a difference in your day. We have so many ways to communicate and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to stay engaged even though we’re at home for the long run.
You can also join a Facebook group if you have a hobby or show you follow. There’s many groups that can help you feel connected and you can start chatting with someone instantly.
We’re living through unprecedented times and figuring a lot out as we go. Building resilience can help you bounce back from challenges and empower you to face adversity. Choose one thing from this list and start out small. A daily practice will help you build those resilience muscles in no time.