Resilience – A much needed skill in 2021

Resilience is the ability to bounce back in times of crisis by cultivating habits of thought and action, developing agility and flexibility and to some extent relinquishing the concept of control over circumstances which are out of our hands.

Resilience is called for at this time, when frustration levels are high, hope is low, depression is soaring and many people are feeling confused. You are told, “Be grateful if you have a job,” even if you are doing twice the amount of work for half the pay. “You are lucky you are still alive,” says a friend who sits in tears from losing two loved ones in one week, leaving you feeling ashamed of your own minor worries.

We are flooded with all kinds of emotions: guilt, sadness, sorrow and stress are some of the negative ones. Those who are thriving cannot share their excitement. Those who are failing are filled with shame and embarrassment.

So how do we navigate this minefield of emotions, both our own and others, without catching negativity, like one would catch COVID-19?

  • Do not lend out your ears. The less you engage with negative news, people and social media, the more you will protect yourself against catching negativity.
  • Don’t put fuel on the fire. We have a habit of one-upping eachother with bad stories. If your friend tells of someone who lost a parent to COVID, you soon follow with a ‘worse than that’ story. Rather listen and stop the downward spiral right there, by simply saying “I am so sorry to hear that.”
  • Stop playing the blame game. Whether the Illuminati conspired against humanity, a person ate a bat or the Chinese are in competition with Bill Gates for world dominance, it doesn’t matter. COVID-19 is here and it will be here for a while. Be realistic about this fact and take the precautions and do everything in your power to avoid getting it or infecting others. Likewise, when your government makes stupid decisions, getting upset won’t change them.
  • Stop the Fake News fad: Passing on every ‘well researched’ video about Ivermectin, the vaccination and the thousands of others doing the rounds is causing apprehension, confusion and preventing people from making choices that serve their wellbeing. Often, we pass on these videos only to find out that someone was paid to make them or that they have other loyalties and agendas and are filled with lies and deceipt, the very thing we were trying to prevent.

Things you can do:

  • Stay centred and grounded by doing the things that work for you: pray, meditate, read, exercise, sleep, walk in nature or your hobbies that take you into your own world.
  • Stick to or create an uplifting daily routine that works for you. The many benefits of this have been scientifically proven.
  • Become the best listener you can be and give others the time and respect to have their moment.
  • Stay in your lane: don’t meddle in the inefficiencies of government and others but focus on what you can control.
  • Encourage someone less fortunate. This requires that you, yourself, rise and pull the other up, not down. It will also help you maintain an attitude of gratitude, which in itself is a mindset that facilitates inner contentment and resilience.
  • Surround yourself with a positive support structure who you can call on in times of need. If necessary, have them on speed dial.
  • Resilience comes more easily when we have a plan B and back up in the form of financial and other resources. In these times it is vital to save money wherever possible and despite difficulties and consider all options should the current one not workout.
  • Self-isolate but don’t hibernate. Social interaction whether one-to-one, via virtual platforms like Zoom or contact with a small circle of family and friends is absolutely necessary for our mental and emotional wellbeing as is a change of scenery, contact with nature and physical movement.

Resilience requires both adaptability and flexibility. It is a skill that can be learnt and constantly honed through choosing a positive mindset, making allowances for errors and showing up with kindness and empathy.

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