How we can maintain our resilience in times of uncertainty
Being resilient does not mean that we do not feel frustrated, disappointed, or upset. It means that even when things are not working out in the way that we were hoping for we have the capacity to tolerate this, and take time to reflect on this to find ways to understand the situation. It is a skill we can develop to be prepared to deal with life challenges.
Resilience enables us to manage the uncertainty that come with ongoing change. Particularly at this moment as we all are learning to live with the uncertainty of Covid-19. It is useful when we have more demands as well as the worry about the possibility of becoming ill – about the people we care about and how to keep safe.
As we are getting into the winter months, there are additional concerns about the potential of having to self-isolate, or whether we will adapt to working online. It can also bring additional worries about the impact on our relationships with our family and friends, as well as on jobs in the future.
And while it is normal to feel apprehensive and worried, sometimes these thoughts and feelings can be challenging, particularly if the uncertainty goes on for a long time. Having the belief that we can trust ourselves to manage these challenges – a sense of self-efficacy – can boost our confidence in our ability to deal with difficulties or setbacks in a constructive way. It can protect us from feeling overwhelmed by stressful situations, which can have a detrimental impact on our health.
Strategies to develop resilience:
As human beings we like to feel in control so when things are beyond our control, we can feel vulnerable, nervous, and worried about the future. But, if we focus on our sense of our self-efficacy – our belief that we are capable – we can trust ourselves to deal with situations even if we do not know yet what we could do to resolve the situation. We can draw on our experience, what we have learned in the past.
Starting the day with the intention of paying attention to the things we can control, focusing on the moment – being present. It will help us to value what we have, and to identify alternative perspectives that could provide us with a different understanding of what is happening. We can manage our energy level by pausing and taking a moment.
Keeping active and create a structure:
Doing some exercise every day is essential to maintain our physical and mental health. It helps to manage our emotions and our energy level.
Developing a structure for our day helps to manage our energy level. It allows us to have some predictability within our day enabling us to plan our work or study. It allows us to manage distractions so that we can focus on what is meaningful.
Developing constructive or helpful self-talk can make a difference to how we feel. When dealing with challenges focus on what is meaningful or has value. It helps to manage our emotions and turn our attention to maintaining hope that things can change for the better (Neff, 2011).
Connecting with others:
Looking for social connection is our natural drive; it is part of our human condition.
When we feel alone, we tend to isolate ourselves because it is hard to explain to others how we are feeling.
One way of dealing with this feeling is to view it just like when we are hungry, we know that our body needs some food, so we get something to eat. When we are feeling lonely, we can do the same – acknowledge the feeling as our body telling us that what we need is connection.
Taking the initiative to approach others will boost our confidence and a sense of shared meaning as we all are in this together.
Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. New York, NY: William Morrow.