Life can be hard at the best of times but with the Covid-19 pandemic, things got even tougher for many people. In this article, I explain how, by building resilience, you can cope with setbacks and ultimately thrive.
It might seem overly ambitious to be talking about “bouncing back” right now. If you’ve recently lost loved ones, been sick yourself, lost your job, or struggled with caring for children or elderly relatives it may feel as if there is no respite and no way forward.
But the good news is you can cope, recover and flourish once again. The key is to build resilience. Let me explain how.
What is resilience?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to build resilience, let’s define what it actually is. And who better to turn to than the great Nelson Mandela, who said: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
I love that quote because it sums up (in a mere 21 words) the meaning of resilience to me. It’s not just a person’s capacity to endure or suffer – it’s their ability to bounce back from these difficulties.
What makes a person resilient?
The truth is resilience is not determined by one magic ingredient, but by several factors including our environment, our past experience, our education and even our biology.
It’s also useful to remember that resilience isn’t just about mindset. It is also applied to our physical health and well-being and the ability to form and retain relationships.
In my work as a WRAW coach, I focus on five areas to help people build resilience. These are Energy, Future Focus, Inner Drive, Flexible Thinking and Strong Relationships. Over the coming weeks, I’ll explore each of these areas in more depth but let’s get started here with the first and foundational pillar, Energy.
Our physical health and well-being influence how we deal with difficult situations. Poor sleep, a bad diet and a lack of physical activity can impact our mood, ability to concentrate and decision-making.
It’s important to make exercise a regular part of your life. Not only does it help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but it’s also good for your mental health. Exercise lowers the levels of stress hormones in our bodies and boosts feel-good chemicals (so it’s bye, bye cortisol, hello endorphins!).
When it comes to exercise, do what you enjoy – yoga, dancing, running, skipping or cycling – and don’t be afraid to vary your regime to avoid boredom kicking in.
Also, monitor the amount of sleep you get. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you often feel tired or wake up feeling foggy, make some changes. Banish blinking devices and buzzing phones from your bedroom to ensure your sleep environment is conducive to getting shut-eye.
Don’t use your phone or laptop just before bed and create a bedtime ritual for yourself. This could include a bath (add some lavender drops), herbal tea and relaxing music.
Diet and nutrition
In terms of nutrition, avoid white carbs and sugar and go for the good stuff: fruit, veg, grains, nuts, and healthy fats. Go steady on caffeine and alcohol and drink lots of water.
I enjoy short, sharp energetic workouts, like the ones put together by Zach Bush. Check one out here and give it a try.
In next week’s post, I’ll be examining the importance of Future Focus. In the meantime, if you would like to know more about resilience coaching read more here.
This article is based on a webinar I delivered as part of my Get Over It series.
Want to watch the full webinar replay, “Building Resilience”?
To access webinar replay click the image or HERE