Over this pandemic period, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of personal resilience. COVID-19 has brought about changes and challenges in so many aspects of our lives, straining and testing our resilience. The social distancing, isolation, home-schooling, working from home, travel restrictions and postings during a pandemic have pushed our patience and our ability to adapt.
Resilience is our ability to positively adapt to adversity, trauma and other significant sources of stress. Becoming resilient helps us work through difficult events, but it also helps us grow and improve our lives even in the absence of adversity. Resilience comes from a combination of the natural capacity that human beings have, but also what we learn through experience, education and good nurturing. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised and strengthened through practice. We often think of resilience as our ability to “bounce back,” but it’s really so much more than that. It includes learning from past experiences and developing new coping strategies for moving forward.
There isn’t one specific strategy to use in order to build resilience. The process will often look different for each one of us. But generally, it involves establishing supportive connections with others, learning healthy coping strategies for stress, adjusting your thought process and fostering physical wellness.
Another aspect of resilience that is often overlooked, is the importance of rest. All too often, we associate resiliency with muscling through and toughing it out. We keep plugging away, pushing through difficult situations and taking on more and more work. But if we want to develop and build resilience, we need to include strategic times of stopping, resting and allowing ourselves to have time to recover. Downtimes replenish the brain’s stores of attention and motivation and encourages productivity and creativity. Rest allows for times of reflection, which can help us maintain our moral compass, put things into perspective and maintain a strong sense of self.
“Resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure.” ~ Shawn Achor
And after the uncertainty of the last 16 months with COVID and the tremendous requirement to adapt in our workplaces, our family life and with our own mental health and wellbeing; we are probably all in need of a little rest time. A time to take a breath, step away from our daily routine and recharge. We all need that time to break from those workplace stressors and enjoy something which energizes our spirit, allows us a chance to reconnect with family, make some wonderful new memories and bring us back to what is really most important.
As we see COVID restrictions lifting, it is my hope that during this summer, you are able to have some well-deserved rest which allows you to unplug and recharge. It could be enjoying that road trip you have been planning or going for that long-awaited visit with friends and family or just spending some quiet time on the lake or at the campground. May it help you unwind and allow you an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned over these unprecedented 16 months of COVID.