For Women, By Women

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Building resilience in times of crisis

1st for Women Insurance recently spoke to Nikki Temkin, journalist of 20 years and accredited functional health and wellness coach. In this article Nikki focuses on the power of building resilience in times of crisis, a particularly crucial topic at present. 

The word resilience stems from the Latin root for “rebound or recoil." As a character trait, resilience is a person's mental ability to recover quickly from misfortune or adversity. Psychological resilience is the ability mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. It means being able to adapt to the curveballs that life constantly throws. How can we engender reliance in ourselves during this major crisis?

  • Find the silver lining. It might be a cliché to be asked to look for the good in every situation. Yet, even at a time when so many in the world are struggling, uncertain, perhaps even sick and worried about the future, finances, and the economy, their jobs and so much more, it builds resilience, to find something uplifting in the situation. Perhaps it’s being able to spend more time with your family, living at a slower pace, or maybe it’s even finding the strength to set better boundaries with your kids.
  • Stay neutral and adaptable. Resilient people tend to have more of a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. This means that they look for the opportunities in whatever situation they find themselves in. Being neutral means not judging something as “good” or “bad”. It simply is the way it is. This perspective means that becoming adaptable and flexible is easier. It takes a conscious effort. Accepting our situation and letting go of the outcome, allows us to adapt and perhaps even be able to thrive in the face of adversity. Acknowledging that it’s okay to feel vulnerable, low, scared or angry sometimes is understandable, authentic and powerful. But, not allowing yourself to get sucked into those feelings is resilience.
  • Practice patience. Part of being resilient is having the understanding that sometimes we need to be able to wait for things to get better or to reap the rewards for seeds we may have sown in our life to take root and bear fruit.
  • Surrender. Surrendering is not the same as giving up. It simply means accepting that some things are out of our control and beyond our realm of understanding. We do not know when Covid-19 will allow us to go back to the life we had before this global health emergency. We also don’t know how life might look beyond this. But, we do know that our behaviour and attitude are still within our control even when our freedom may be limited. We have the choice how to respond – with negativity and fear or with hope and kindness to ourselves and others. Resisting the pull towards negativity is resilience.
  • Stay in the present moment. Staying truly in the moment gives you the chance to remove yourself fromadversity and conserve your inner energy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care or aren’t affected by the past or future. It means that when you decide to do something, you focus all your attention on solely doing it, rather than letting your mind wander into the future or the past. You can do this with anything whether it be baking, reading, exercising, playing a game or picking a flower. It’s like giving your brain a holiday from worry.
  • Be with likeminded people. It’s important to set strict boundaries with or avoid people who are toxic. By this I mean those people who deplete your mental and physical energy. They might do this by constantly complaining, are narcissistic and self-interested, or by always seeing the negative.
  • Have self-belief. Resilient people believe that they can get things done, that they can overcome, that somehow they will make it through to the other side of a crisis. If your self-belief is wavering, work on it!

Focus on solutions. Make plans for the future, keep your dreams intact and look forward to the possibilities. Resilient people may adapt their desires to the current reality, and reflect upon and acknowledge the past, but they never stop looking to the future. The ability to visualise our ambitions and understanding what we want creates a foundation for our success.  Reaching success requires taking the next step, every day, no matter how hard it may be, even during a crisis.

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