Everyday tips to build resilience
Whether it’s stress at work, pressures at home, or just concern at the parlous state of the world, every now and then we all need a little resilience boost. Here are some simple steps you can take to build yours.
Resilience isn’t something we are born with it, it is something we develop over time. As we grow and experience setbacks, both big and small, we learn more about ourselves and the strategies that will help us to get through the difficult times. And bounce back.
This doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pressure, or are immune to failure; it means that we have an inner ‘bank’ of resilience to draw on. But, like any bank, we need to make some deposits, and not just withdrawals, if we are to stay in resilience credit.
Here are four simple ways we can top up our resilience levels:
COMPASSION. Developing compassion for yourself is a tough job! We can be the voice of reason for our friends and loved ones, but very hard on ourselves.
Think about a situation you have been in recently which you feel you didn’t deal with as well as you could’ve done. Now ask yourself:
“What would I tell my best friend if this had happened to them?”
“What would I have done in that situation if I had been “my best self”?”
Use the answer to reframe what happened and identify what, if anything, you would do differently in the future to get a better outcome. Avoid ruminating on what didn’t go well and try to see failure as an opportunity for growth.
CARE. How well do you look after yourself?
What does this mean to you? Eating healthily, adopting good routines for better sleep, or perhaps taking more regular exercise?
Is there something you know you should be doing, linked to the above, but you aren’t doing?
For example, could you MOVE more (walk, dance)? Drink less? Or moderate your social media use to improve your sleep patterns?
"What change could I make today to improve my well-being?"
"What do I need more of in my life? what do I need less of?" Make a list!
Don’t be over-ambitious. Even making small changes can charge our emotional batteries.
COMPANY. Building meaningful relationships can help us to be more resilient.
Surrounding ourselves with resilient people can also help. These people will support us to make the changes we need to look after our own wellbeing.
People can be either RADIATORS or DRAINS – sometimes, when we want to take extra special care of ourselves, we need to avoid the drains (however much we love them) and spend more time with the radiators.
How do you know who is a radiator? Seek out these positive thinkers, who are good to be around and who don’t make you feel your energy is being zapped. Spend more time with them. This also applies to you. Be the person others want to be around. Be a supportive friend to others. Be positive and give energy.
"Who could I contact today, to arrange to meet up?"
"Who haven’t I seen lately, whose company I always enjoy?"
....and maybe just share a coffee or a meal with one of them.
CONTEMPLATION. Practice being in the present moment, without judgement. You can use a mindfulness app like Headspace to help with this.
Or simply take time to get out into nature, go to an art gallery, or do something creative.
"What do I really like doing, that I haven’t done for a while?"
"How many times do I say I “ought” to do something, instead of “I would like” to do something?"
Resolve to make a plan to do something you really like doing, perhaps instead of something you feel you "ought" to do. Maybe you can get in touch with someone you haven’t seen for a while – one of your radiators – and arrange to go with them to a gallery, or for a walk?
These simple steps to improve personal resilience aren't going to change the world, or help anyone recover from massive trauma. But, by keeping our stocks of resilience topped up, we are likely to be supporting ourselves and those closest to us much better than if we are constantly thinking that everyday life is all a bit too much to cope with.