**RESILIENCE - This Week's Focus - COVID19**
Resilience helps us to move through challenges and change faster and with less impact on our emotions. Resilience is like a muscle, a trait that we can develop and grow, it isn't something you are either born with or lacking. On the contrary, resilience involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that anyone can learn and develop. Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality.
But what exactly is resilience?
The American Psychological Association (APA) define resilience as 'the process of adapting well in the face of trauma or tragedy, threats or other significant sources of stress' (Southwick et al., 2014). In other words, resilience is the art of bouncing back when we experience difficult situations or challenges. Resilience is relative and depends upon the situation we face. Our levels of resilience may change over time depending on our interactions with others and the environment around us as well as how we feel inside. The more we know about about resilience, the more potential there is for bringing these ideas into relevant areas of our life.
Resilience is not denying your emotions, thoughts and physical responses and living your life like nothing affects you. Resilience is very different from not feeling anything. "Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fall, you hurt. But, you keep going". Yasmin Mogahed.
This short video explains what resilience is and what affects our resilience. Watch it here
Resilience is accepting at times life will bring challenges and events in our lives that will be hard and bring up difficult feelings...However, we can get through these difficult experiences and will continue. We can put one foot in front of the other, moving forward even when we face challenges.
For many people, using their own resources and the kinds of strategies listed above may be enough for building their resilience. But at times, an individual might get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to maintian and build their resilience. Sometimes being resilient means asking for help - recognising that we cannot do it alone. Supportive relationships build resilience. Help may involve reaching out to a health professional, a support group or embarking on a learning or training programme to enhance your knowledge and skills. Scroll to the bottom of this article for a list of supports available to help you develop your resilience.
In our health care system and society at this time, we can see many individuals and communities practicing resilience by supporting each other, shoring up those who need more support. Such actions support us to have the strength to push through difficult times, and also help us in the process of repair following negative experiences. Research consistently shows that having such support during challenging times not only improves health outcomes but also enhances resilience to stress. As Karen Treisman states, “You don’t need to be a therapist, to be therapeutic.”
Of course, part of resilience is also about self-reflection and building confidence that you can get through tough times. We are mindful that for some, journeying inside, exploring those experiences that have shaped us, can be challenging and may require a supportive therapeutic relationship. Covid 19 experiences have varied greatly for many individuals and undoubtedly this time will remain imprinted in our memory for some time.
Through focusing on what is within our control and nurturing our positive relationships, we are contributing to both our own resilience and the resilience of those around us.
Resilience involves having strengths from within and outside yourself that help you through difficult times. We all have different strengths and sometimes it can be helpful to honestly reflect on what our strengths are. These information sheet lists 24 character strengths and strengths under the main virtues of wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence.
The poster above shows how you can use your character strengths to cope with COVID-19.
The World Needs You (Poem)
This poem looks at how you can bring your character strengths to help yourself and others as we live through the COVID-19 situation. The first few lines are shown below:
The World Needs You
The world needs your ideas, your strategies, your best coping tools (creativity).
The world needs you to talk with interest to those around you, letting them express and release their burdens (curiosity)...continue reading)
Build your own resilience by:
- connecting with others, connecting with your inner self
- taking one day at a time
- reflecting on times you overcame significant challenges
- repeatedly practicing self-care strategies
- finding ways to support yourself to feel calm. This may include: reaching out to our trusted relationships, taking a walk in nature, prioritising sleep and movement, allowing time for things we find pleasurable, focusing our breath on slow exhalations or listening to soothing music. Such wellbeing practices, support our nervous system to regulate and therefore contribute to our resilience.
- taking time to notice and reflect on any unexpected gains, whether that is a greater community/workplace cohesion, feeling valued as a staff member or having a sense of purpose will be important.
Considering how you can sustain such positive aspects will all contribute to cascading resilience among our communities, workplace, families and inner selves for the future.
Resilience for Frontline Clinicians - Overview of the Social Resilience Model (SRM)
Cynda Hylton Rushton and Laurie Leitch provide resources for frontline clinicians in dealing with the professional and personal stresses of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Coronavirus has required major changes in everyone’s life. It has also created a climate of stress, fear and uncertainty. The human nervous system is extremely sensitive to fear and stress and can respond in ways that generate a rush of stress chemicals in our bodies.
These chemicals can have a toxic effect on our health…both emotional and physical. But, the nervous system is also wired with the potential for resilience. In this video, Laurie Leitch provides a short introduction to the Social Resilience Model and a brief skills practice. Try it!