We still witness the sun rising and setting each day, but the world isn’t the same with the COVID19 pandemic.
At TIACS we are hearing from people that are worried about uncertainty. Many of these people feel disconnected from others. The questions TIACS are getting are, What will happen now I have lost my job? What will happen now my income has been reduced?, How will the economy recover? How is my relationship going to withstand new financial pressures? What will happen to the health of my friends and family? Though we are united across the world through this pandemic, people have grown incredibly apart. The animosity against each other is sad to see, the judgement on who is responding to COVID19 correctly and who is not sometimes is worrying. Finding mental tools to get through being hit from all sides with strength is important. Resilience helps keep us going without losing ourselves in the process. To not be taken away when the waves of uncertainty crash. Discovering the key to calm and fortitude as we build inner strength is important. Learning a set of resilient tools to adapt and navigate a crisis is key.
Unfortunately resilience is not genetic we have to learn the skills needed to overcome adversity. Some parents teach grit to their kids but not all of us had that experience. Below are tools to give you the grit to keep walking through hell when tough times occur.
1. Your body is like a fine car that you are responsible for !
Do not neglect your body because you are too busy getting from A to B, good health habits are key. Changes to our daily routine and stress means we neglect ourselves. We eat junk food and cease our exercise routine. Stress and negative thoughts push us into unhealthy behaviours or even addictions. The first step is to give good fuel to our bodies so that we can think better. There is a strong connection between our health and our resilience.
- Don’t take your sleep for granted. Sleep bolsters immunity. When we lack a good night’s sleep we act cranky. We don’t make good decisions.
- Get into a good exercise routine. Exercise triggers feel-good endorphins, gives us a ‘pick me up’ and elevates our moods. Choose an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your day. Get moving.
- When we feed our body junk we get lethargic. A hungry brain cannot think clearly. Make wise food choices. Our body needs premium fuel to get through the difficult days.
Be kind to yourself.
2. Choose positive actions to negative thoughts
It is very difficult to control our thoughts, it is much easier to control our response to thoughts. Our thoughts seem to want us to focus on bad experiences and negative self talk. Our brain is like an over helpful friend telling us we are in danger. Resilient people observe these thoughts like a curious scientist would and diffuse themselves from negative thoughts by saying. ‘I am having the thought that I will not cope if I lose my job.’ Then reword the thought, I will cope, we will find a way to bring in money, I will deal with future problems as they come. Resilient people reframe the negative thoughts with realistic optimism. This means we accept what we cannot change and then challenge ourselves to think: What can I have control over and change? What new skill can I learn now? What can I do now that I have always wanted to do but never had the time? How can I redefine my marriage/parenting/relationships in a positive way? And what can I choose to focus on right now. Start by being aware of what you are telling yourself. Catch yourself from moments of blaming, complaining, and being a self-defeatist. Notice if you are spending your day judging the people in your life and calling them names in your head like selfish, obnoxious, or spoiled. It is much better for you and your mental health to reframe your negative thoughts – ‘Fred is annoying but his work is really good’. It’s very difficult to control thoughts coming in but you can reframe them to be less dramatic and more optimistic.
Throwing up our hands in frustration and living life as a victim is the path of least resistance. But what is gained? Resilient people find a way to transform the pain into some type of gain. This does not mean we are happy with the situation. Rather, we find a way to manage the moment and not become overwhelmed with what we are going through. In the powerful book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes the pivotal moment in Auschwitz when he developed ‘meaning therapy’. He was worrying one day if he should trade his last cigarette for a bowl of soup. He wondered how he would work with a vicious new foreman. Suddenly he grew disgusted with his meaningless life. He realized that if he would survive this devastating darkness he would need to rediscover purpose to his existence. Frankl began to imagine him self giving lectures after the war, describing what he had been through. He created real goals for himself though he was not even sure if he would survive. That moment he was able to rise above his suffering. He went on to write “We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.” Anticipate the good days that will return. Create goals. Look at the challenges as opportunities. Seek meaning in your days.
3. Discover your life mission and inner core
We are here to build a legacy. We need to contemplate. Why am I here? How is this world better because I’ve existed? How did I touch the people around me? Tools common to resilient people are spiritual beliefs, connection to others, gratitude for the amazing things in our lives, doing kind acts for others, and the quality of our relationships. Gratitude will keep you grounded. Giving will bring meaning. The right friends and good relationships will buffer you. You will rediscover your inner core.
You have the strength to propel forward. Understanding your resilient tools will make a difference. If you are struggling please speak to someone at TIACS. TIACS Foundation support line gives blue collar workers the ability to reach out and get support when and however long they need it. TIACS employs mental health professionals to make sure the best care is provided. TIACS does not want those suffering from a bad week, month or even years to become another statistic to self harm. Quick chat or text – great; longer chat – cool; need a follow up – no problem. We’re here for as long as you need support. The service is not charged call 0488 846 988. Check the website at TIACS.org for operating hours.