Resilience is the ability to stay calm, bounce back quickly, and not only recover but to find personal strength when dealing with stress and adversity. Stress is not inherently a negative thing. Some stress is good for us. Stress can keep us safe and increase our awareness. It is how we deal with stress that determines if we will gain resilience or if we will be left feeling overwhelmed and fearful. Here is the good news … “The majority of people who experience high stress maintain stable functioning”, according to research.
How we chose to deal with stress is in our control!
Let’s break this down. To manage these challenging times, it helps to understand the nature of stress. There are four major triggers to stress, according to research out of Massachusetts General Hospital. They are novelty, unpredictability, threat, and lack of control.
To increase resilience (which is learned therefore 100% within our reach) there are things we can do on a daily basis.
- Start by focusing on what you can control. Things like how much news you watch, are you taking the recommended precautions regarding social distancing, handwashing, etc.
- Learn about & use self-regulating techniques that work for you. Things like exercise (aerobic), listening to music, breathing exercises, social connection via phone or video calls, relaxation techniques, yoga, being around pets, and reading are all things people do to help themselves self-regulate.
- Maintain a stable daily routine. Get out of bed at the same time each day, observe mealtimes, stick to exercise routines, participate in family functions, and get dressed. It is healthy to give yourself permission to enjoy some additional comforts when needed.
- Maintain contact with friends and family through video platforms like Zoom, Facetime, & others. Social connection is enhanced when more senses are involved, so if you can video chat, do so! Virtual Happy Hours with friends, facetime with relatives, spend time connecting to loved ones. Humans are social beings. One of the things we can control is the amount of support and friendship we offer others.
- Practice Self-Care. Find ways in your “new normal” to relax and unwind. If you are working from home, turn off your computer at a set time each day.
- Stay informed but not 24/7. Receiving nonstop news will ADD to your stress.
- Maintain your own health. Try to eat right, get fresh air, stay hydrated, and get physical exercise, even if it is just walking around the block, yard, or living room. Staying healthy will help boost your immune system too!
- Keep your mind occupied. Do not stagnate in worry, learn a new skill, read a book, or take an online class!
It is normal to experience stress and anxiety during this time. Whether it’s the fear of contracting Covid-19, disruptions to work or home schedules, financial concerns, or limited social contacts, reaching out for help when you need it CAN also help to build resilience.