So much for “two weeks to flatten the curve…” The age of COVID is here to stay — at least, for now. Though we may disagree about the specifics, the constraints, and the way out (and most people do), we’re all in this together.
But there’s one thing that is universally accepted. We must all cultivate the resilience we need to negotiate this challenging time period. By resilience, we mean the capacity to deal with adversity and bounce back in a healthy manner. Resilience is a form of reserve strength. We call on it when stress multiplies or traumatic experiences occur. It’s important to grasp the essence of resilience along with seeking steps to make it happen.
What Are Some of the Components of Resilience?
In times of struggle, it is easy to regress. The power of resilience enables us to grow from the suffering we experience and endure. We become better positioned to handle such situations in the future.
Think of it as taking positive actions despite being afraid. Embracing our own agency in the face of a crisis.
Who doesn’t want to react when under duress? Resilience teaches us to regulate our emotions.
This isn’t about yoga. We’re talking about intellectual flexibility, e.g. remaining open to previously unconsidered options. Resilience guides us to challenge our own assumptions.
During troubling episodes, we must lean on our social support.
5 Ways to Cultivate Resilience in the Age of COVID
Chronic stress creates chronic anxiety. This pulls us from the moment we are in. We allocate so much of our time and energy to regretting the past and fearing the future. Mindfulness teaches us to embrace the present. This is helpful because the present is where all the useful solutions (and your resilience) can be found.
2. Self-Care and Self-Compassion
Resilience is a form of inner strength. Building that strength requires work. It begins with self-care. Here are five components to consider:
- Daily exercise and physical activity
- Regular sleep patterns
- Healthy eating choices
- Relaxation techniques
The first four are self-explanatory. Self-compassion is a little more abstract. We know to treat friends and family members kindly when they are struggling. Too often, we do not extend the same courtesy to ourselves. We judge our actions and thoughts harshly. Our inner critic is cruel. We say things to ourselves we’d never utter to anyone else. If you want resilience, it’s time to reverse that trend.
One of the components listed above is community. Thus, it is essential that you stay connected. Resist the urge to isolate or withdraw. Prioritize your social connections. Draw strength from the people in your life. Challenge yourself to have at least one interaction every day. Community nurtures resilience.
Cultivate gratitude. Think of everything that happens each day — big or small — for which you feel grateful. You don’t have to write it all down; just spend a few minutes thinking. Express your gratitude to and for the people you’re close to. This is not denial. No matter how bleak things feel, there is always something that inspires gratitude. Identifying and acknowledging that is a giant step toward resilience.
Reach Out and Work on Resilience…
In a time period like this, resilience can be hard to find without help. It can be hard to sustain without the mental and emotional tools. Like any other characteristic or skill, it can be taught. Working with an experienced therapist is an ideal way to attain this state. Regular sessions together can provide you with valuable time to explore your needs and strengths.