It is getting gritty out there. And, I’m not talking about the sand on the shores of your imaginary beach.
We are several weeks into this unprecedented, home-based world of working, parenting, and coping. This is no longer a sprint, but more like a marathon that requires ample energy, courage, and grit.
A fresh take on resilience can help maintain sanity and flex some new muscles.
- • Old definition: to be resilient means to bounce back from a challenging experience.
- • Today’s definition: to be resilient is to maintain optimism and flexibility when you know you will remain at home for an unknown period in an economically and socially uncertain time.
Resilience is built over time through attitudes, behaviors and social networks that you can activate. In my experience, skills that lead to resilience include optimism, the ability to balance and manage complex emotions, and the drive to create safety and community. Here’s more on three pathways to resilience:
Resilience Skill #1: Fuel your optimism (in a non-Pollyanna way).
Maintaining a sense of hope and wonder is critical to your wellbeing. For me, I have spikes of optimism when I pause to reflect on what I am grateful for in the present moment. Lately, this has been the promise of spring blooms, the belly laughter of a good joke, and reading a treasured book that opens my imagination. My optimism also rises when I tap into my sense of purpose, or how I positively contribute to the world. Today, my contribution is continuing to write and share ideas even in this time of surreal living. Look around you at the natural world, or in the eyes of a loved one, and notice your senses and feelings. 2
Resilience Skill #2: Focus on how you respond versus react.
It is more important than ever to be mindful about how you respond and shape, conversations – whether at home or work. When you are stressed, you are more likely to slip into a “stream of consciousness” chat or default to short and snippy communication. The result can be misunderstanding and resentment. Two things help combat this: regular self-care and the practice of flexibly responding to others. Self-care helps regulate strong emotions and can bring you back to the present moment. You alone determine what self-care looks like – could be a salt-bath, a walk outside with your dog or playing solitaire online. On the response front, neuroscientist Linda Graham describes response flexibility as “the ability to pause, step back, reflect, shift perspectives, create options and choose wisely.” To me, this means being aware of my reaction, taking a moment to consider the options and then choosing a response rather than blurting. Taking care of my physical and emotional wellbeing helps me to maintain perspective and patience.
Resilience Skill #3: Surround yourself with social support.
You are not alone during this time. Part of resilience is creating safety and community. You can build and participate in spaces where there is a mutual sense of care and concern. For example, my Functional 45 (F45) workout community connects daily on Facebook live to train. This allows us to exercise at home, chat and comment with others on Facebook, and feel some sense of daily routine. Another way this can be done is through your physical location. My neighborhood recently created an email list-serv to share observations, ideas, and resources during this stay at home period. It has birthed a hilarious 5 pm – windows open to shout out hello ritual and regular displays of artwork in our windows to cheer each other on. Take stock of the groups and communities you take part in during this time at home – how are they serving you – and you them?
To learn more about leading and living in these times, visit www.leadershipherocode.com.