Many people associate the Easter Period with new beginnings; it is a time that reminds us of rebirth, growth, and starting anew.
So, as it is that time of year, I thought it would be interesting to look at the whole area of resilience. Resilience is a term used to describe how we 'bounce back' from a stressful situation. In other words, how we resume a 'normal' life after we have gone through a particularly stressful time, or have had to deal with a life crisis or change.
Some of the main factors to build resilience are:
Self-care includes your lifestyle balance from the very basic structures of eating and sleeping well to getting daily exercise, meeting challenges and having time for relaxation and fun!
Challenge your rigid thinking
It is always good to have a goal and know the direction you are going in, but it is also important not to be too rigid in your thinking. You may know what you want, but most resilient people can alter their route so that if one thing isn’t working, they will be open to explore other ways of getting there.
It is important to look at how you are going about things - what is the plan, is this plan meeting your needs, and is it getting the result you hoped for? If it isn’t, it may be important to sit down and readjust it, look at the pitfalls, and see what you can do to help yourself.
Don't be afraid to look for support
Know where you can get the right kind of advice; this may be a vulnerable time for you, and the last thing you want is people who are going to compound that vulnerability. Get the right kind of support - people who can genuinely empathise, who you can trust and are consistent in their approach. They will work with you and listen to you, while being able to help you see the way forward by reflecting back what you need to hear in a positive constructive way.
Look after your emotions and feelings
When we are in a difficult situation, there is no doubt that we are going to struggle emotionally; the best thing we can do for ourselves is to acknowledge these emotions and feelings, and work with them. They are real and, believe it or not, they are healthy - they are the guiding force telling you that something is having an impact on you and that you have to manage what it is happening. You need to look after yourself and manage these emotions and feelings so that they do not start to have a negative impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing. By being aware of this impact, you can look for the right supports to help you through.
It is always good to have a healthy sense of perspective. Take each stressor and see what can be done about it; there will be big stresses, medium stresses and small stresses - it is important to look at each one and manage it as best you can. If you don’t do this, it can feel like all the stresses are merging into one, and that can feel more than a little overwhelming. Think about how you can work through this; have an idea of what life is going to be like when you have dealt with it and what you have learned from it.
Life is always changing, and we learn from it
Each life change and crisis you go through will be a turning point in your life, and you can learn a lot about yourself in the process. We can find a sense of inner strength that we didn’t know we had, reflecting back on what helped at other difficult situations; and what you learned will really help. We can often forget that we have been through other tough times and made it out the other side.
Back to my first point: don’t forget that life can change and we may well go back to a relatively more peaceful and calm time in our life, when the crisis is over or the stressor has been alleviated. While working through this change, we may well have made changes that will serve us well in the future, maybe having grown more aware of self-care, formed more positive relationships, become more assertive, deepened our understanding of life; prioritising what’s important to us and gaining a healthier perspective on life.
So, no matter what the situation, whether it’s a financial difficulty, illness, change in lifestyle, job, or family relationships; know that you have the ability and the capability to work through it and that there are many supports that can help.