Bouncing Back from the Pandemic: Learning Resilience in the Midst of COVID 19
Resilience is the ability to adapt well in response to stressful events. While many people are naturally resilient, it’s also a skill that can be developed. With practice, we can learn behaviors, thoughts, and actions to help us bounce back after trials. COVID-19, and the changes surrounding it, has brought stress to almost every area of our lives. Now more than ever, resilience is a needed skill. When individuals find it too difficult to recover from hardship, there is a greater chance of experiencing anxiety, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Qualities of Resilience
What does a resilient person look like? Typically, a person who adapts well to stressful life experiences is also a good communicator and problem-solver. He or she can identify and control personal emotions rather than be mastered by them. Resilient people have strong self-confidence and self-esteem, and they believe in their abilities. They set goals, make plans, and follow through with them. They also don’t hesitate to lean on helpful family or friends, support or faith-based groups, or mental health professionals such as a licensed counselor or therapist.
Building Resilience in Stressful Times
Someone who lacks resilience may focus on life’s problems and feel like a victim. Others may turn to unhealthy behaviors or develop substance abuse. There are genuine ways to improve our reactions to life’s challenges. Consider the following strategies to build your resiliency:
- Be Present: Keep your mind on what’s happening right now. Don’t focus on the past, which you can’t change, and don’t focus on your fears for the future. Pay attention to the people and blessings you have right now, in this moment.
- Be Active: Get off the couch and move! Take a walk, or dance to your favorite music. Play basketball with your children, or throw a frisbee with your dog.
- Be Connected: Connect with family and friends. Reach out to those you haven’t seen or talked to in a while. Plan phone conversations. Make appointments with live online apps like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts.
- Be Learning: Now is the perfect time to sign up for an online class, or learn a new skill by watching YouTube videos.
- Be Generous: Look for someone who needs help. Perhaps they struggle with anxiety. Maybe they’ve been emotionally or financially affected by COVID. Find a way to help another person and you will feel better, too.
Resilient people understand what not to do, as well. In order to promote better resilience in your life and the lives of your family, avoid stressful situations like negative social media posts or engaging in online arguments. Turn off the evening news, which is filled with negative stories that simply cause stress and raise blood pressure. If you need to know something, your family and friends will tell you.
Pace yourself. The stress of COVID-19 and the year 2020 will not go away overnight, or even after the election. Being resilient means knowing where, when and how to disengage and rest, recover and renew.
The Benefits of Growing in Resilience
There are several advantages to building resilience. One of the greatest benefits is the ability to learn from experiences and see them as opportunities. When life is viewed from this perspective, it’s easier to adapt to new situations and remain hopeful in the face of uncertain times.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed. There are support groups and programs in your community that can help in stress and crisis, as well as countless resources online and in print. Your EAP or other employer-provided counseling service is an excellent source of ideas for developing resilience.
You don’t have to wait for another crisis to practice building resiliency. Start building your bounce-back potential today. If you are finding it hard to cope during the pandemic and build resilience, consider reaching out to a counselor for guidance.