Resilience #2 Times are Tough

Five more strategies on cultivating resilience for you today; how to bend not break when going through a tough time.

  • Keep your self-care practices high. There is no more important time to be taking good care of yourself than during a crisis. Unfortunately, this is often when it feels the hardest to do so! It’s difficult to connect with eating nourishing food being a priority when you have suffered such a huge loss that nothing can fill it. However, improved self-care is exactly what we need to do at this time. We can meet adversity with more resolve when we have slept well, have eaten well, are hydrated, and up and dressed ready to face the world, even when we just want to hide under the duvet and hope it will all go away. Going back to basics with sleep/nutrition/exercise non-negotiables, gives us a platform of physical resiliency to deal with whatever faces us emotionally. A crisis situation is what it is, but it is always going to be better to face it with a good night’s sleep and a full belly than wired and tired. When life is so hard, it’s hard to know what to do next replenish your foundation with some loving self-care, regroup and move forwards from there.


  • It’s not fair isn’t helping. A huge amount of focus and energy can be wasted on railing against the unfairness of the event, whether that is raged against an organisation, situation, person or Mother Nature herself: that this situation we find ourselves in shouldn’t have happened. It’s not fair. That may very well be absolutely true, or at least feel very true, but the real question is: is getting stuck in the mindset of “it’s not fair” helpful at this time? Could that negative mental energy that is resisting the unwanted reality be better channelled into coping solutions that make the right now feel even a little more comfortable?


  • Lean on your team. I’ve written before that a great mantra for life is to “give when you can but take when you must”. If this is your time to lean on others, lean without embarrassment or fear. Be accepting that, on this occasion, it’s your time to take and that is okay. You don’t have to instantly reciprocate. You can be held, and there will be people who will be glad to do it in terms of emotional or logistical support if you clearly raise your hand. Don’t brush them off with “I’m fine”. It’s okay not to be fine, and to lean on your team.


  • Find the value in collective reliance. Often we are not alone in going through a difficult or painful situation; it’s a path we are sharing with others. Not being alone in your experience can be incredibly heartening, as a bonding “blitz spirit” develops enhancing everyone’s baseline resiliency. You may find someone doing it tougher than you, and you can boost confidence in your own coping skills by showing them the way.


  • Get out of your head. Nothing has the power to stop us sleeping, and fill our every waking moment with anxiety than hitting a big, painful and unexpected speed bump in the road of our life. It can lead to a mind racing out of control with thoughts of helplessness, rage, revenge, powerlessness or fear (amongst many others) that becomes almost impossible to shut off. Painful and stressful thoughts are far better managed on paper than in your head. Journaling can make an enormous difference and bring an element of calm and clarity to an anxiety fuelled internal dialogue. Getting stressful thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a tremendously effective coping strategy, as is getting out of your head and into your body. Exercise and movement of any kind, from walking, swimming through to knocking seven bells out of a punching bag will help you get out of your head and create a space for clarity, inspiration and strength to emerge.


Tough times bring an opportunity, albeit totally unwelcome, to develop our own capacity for resilience.

We often surprise ourselves that we are stronger than we know and can withstand more than we ever imagined. As someone wise once said to me, “life is tough, but so my darling, are you”.

Read Resilience part 1 here



Resilience #1

Resilience is about being able to cope and adapt to stressful situations.

Some people seem inherently adept at “rolling with the punches” while others can struggle in times of stress and change that are thrust upon them. Learning how to boost our resiliency equips us to better ride the inevitable waves of adversity that life throws at us. Here are some characteristics of the resilient:

1. Knowing that “this too shall pass” and that a bad situation does not equal a bad life. Being able to anchor in on the temporary nature of the situation as a strategy to overcome it, that it will end, that it can be transcended. Perhaps life will never be the same again, but that believing that they do not have to remain in this experience long term and can create a new version of the future.

2. Releasing your expectations that life rolls out in a straight line. Life rarely goes according to plan for anyone; I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get some curly ones thrown at them through the course of a lifetime. Being able to accept that this is part of the human experience, and sometimes shit does just happen. Be that inadvertently created by our hand, someone else’s choices impacting on our lives, or Mother Nature showing her force – that coping with the downs as well as the ups is an inevitable part of life.

3. Allowing themselves to feel their emotions. Bottling it up, denying what’s happening is happening can lead to massive overwhelm in a crisis.

Resiliency can mean allowing feeling what we feel.

This can help us move through our feelings to a place of calm and acceptance with more speed. Tears have healing power. Having more compassion for ourselves in that it’s okay to feel vulnerable from time to time, it doesn’t mean we are weak, or we have failed.

4. Drawing on previous times of capability. Being able to look back with the perspective of hindsight at other situations where they have previously weathered the storm to draw strength in their self-efficacy to face the current situation. Creating strength and purpose by connecting to evidence of their capability to not just survive and cope, but rise and ultimately thrive when encountering the worst is an effective technique for boosting resilience.

5. Taking action even when everything seems too hard. Just finding the right next thing to do and then taking action is powerful. It might not be the thing that solves the whole problem (because such an option is unlikely to exist) but generating positive energy through taking action – even imperfect action – so a sense of momentum builds and the feeling of stuck-ness dissipates.

Next week…more on developing resilience, because life never rolls out exactly as we plan.

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