Resilience, is a hot topic at the moment. But what does it mean, why is it important and how can we build it? Is it just another buzz word?
What is resilience?
The Collins English Dictionary defines it as ‘(person) recovering easily and quickly from misfortune or illness; (object) capable of regaining its original shape or position after bending or stretching’. I’ve also heard of it being described as ‘bouncebackability’. Basically, it’s our ability to cope when things go wrong and how quickly we can get back on track.
In uncertain times like these we are experiencing now – political unrest, threat of terrorism, economic hardship – resilience is a useful thing to have. It’s also useful in our daily life and relationships. We all experience pressure from various sources. Resilience helps us to cope better with stress, feel more optimistic and gives us strength to keep going. That’s why it’s important.
Over the last 12 months I have had some difficult circumstances to deal with – both personally and work wise. At times I have felt as though I have been on an emotional rollercoaster. I would say I’m a pretty resilient person and take my well-being seriously but I recognised the need to start taking more conscious care of my mental and emotional state.
I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors, particularly walking and I believe over the years this has helped to build my resilience. I think if I didn’t have this level of resilience I would have felt far worse. During stressful times I went outdoors more often; not necessarily going far but the fresh air and act of walking made me feel better. Movement got my blood flowing, it helped to distract me from the negative emotions by enabling me to connect with the world outside my own little bubble. I could literally feel the stress start to dissolve the further I walked.
To build resilience it’s important to make time for yourself and do the things that matter, even if it’s just 5 minutes peace and quiet. If you don’t look after yourself then you aren’t going to be any good to anyone else. There’s a great saying ‘Meditate for 20 minutes a day, if you haven’t got time then meditate for an hour’. It’s essential to build time for self-care into your weekly routine, but preferably daily. The more you say to other people, through your actions, ‘I matter’ the more likely they are to respect you and your boundaries. Sometimes you just have to say ‘no’.
I understand that not everybody can get out walking but if you can, I highly recommend it. Other things you could do to build your resilience include:
- Being physically active (anything from household chores, to gardening, to cycling)
- Spending less time on social media and more time with people who inspire you (people generally post about all the great times they are having and don’t mention the stuff in the background. This can make us think everyone is living a great life apart from us).
- Setting a routine and sticking to it, which might include going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
- Connecting with other people (even if it’s as simple as smiling at a passer-by and saying ‘hello’).
- Stretching your comfort zone by trying something new.
Try out a few different things and take note of what works best for you. Let me know what you do to build your resilience.
If you would like support to move forwards or increase your resilience, get in touch to see how Life Coaching can help you.