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Championing resilience in times of change

“If I hear that bloody word again…” Words from one of my clients recently who is on the board of directors for a FTSE company I work with. Resilience is a remarkable attribute that many of us work hard to build but for some it can be a word banded about to permit organisations to throw more work at people.

“You need to work on your resilience” is a phrase too often uttered by demanding direct reports. So we know WHAT we need to be but HOW is rarely discussed! When we’re facing a setback, facing it with resilience may seem like an impossible goal, but it IS something you can work on and develop. Read on to learn more about cultivating resilience and how this vital skill can support you through life’s setbacks.

Low resilience and its impact

Having low resilience can be described as the inability to overcome adversity effectively, allowing obstacles and hurdles to become overwhelming.

In a work setting, low resilience can have a negative impact on individuals and as well as the wider team. Anyone who is part of a team will note the importance of well-being within the working environment and when one person is struggling, it can have far-reaching implications. Thankfully, employers are recognising the impact that this year has had on many, and some firms are investing in tools such as mindfulness apps and employee support schemes to help. Addressing the issues that cause low resilience can help to understand how to formulate effective solutions, as well as being able to grow stronger and nurture a positive outlook.

Resilience isn’t only important in the workplace. It’s something that people of all ages need to cultivate, and Youth Mental Health Day 2020 is aiming to support young people who may be struggling, particularly following the events of the last six months. It focuses on building resilience with the theme ‘bounce not break’, highlighting the positive ways young people can bounce back from challenges and build personal resilience. Working on self-development and high resilience from a young age will inevitably encourage healthy habits in overcoming challenges and adversity, which will have a positive impact on personal and professional environments and relationships. 

The river of resilience

Let’s take a closer look at resilience and how it affects our daily lives. I like to think of resilience as a river – bear with me, it will all make sense in a moment! To set the scene, picture a bright boat sailing atop striking blue water. Below the water lurk obstacles, things in life that can cause us to feel overwhelmed or anxious – in short, setbacks.

The obstacles vary depending on each of our circumstances. For some, these may be work, or perhaps the challenges of working from home or worrying about a big presentation. It could be an illness in the family, or an argument with someone we care about. It could even be something that others may not see as a big obstacle, but something that keeps standing in our way. 

Now, imagine sailing through life in the boat. As the river of resilience is keeping us afloat, it’s imperative that our resilience is high to help us sail across these obstacles. If our resilience is low, we will eventually run into some of the obstacles which will slow us down and result in those heightened negative feelings.

Addressing these obstacles and navigating situations in a positive way will enable us to cope better with setbacks and become more effective for others. Taking the time to do things for ourselves that make us feel fulfilled and happy will keep the boat afloat and the river of resilience high, allowing us to become stronger and more resilient. Hear more about the river of resilience in my video from Stress Awareness Month in April:

Getting back on track

There are many contributing factors to low resilience, and one of them can be excessive change. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented change on a massive scale, with shifts in almost every aspect of our lives. Living through such uncertainty can undoubtedly lead to low resilience and make it more difficult to strengthen our resolve.

Perhaps the things we would usually do to replenish our resilience and lift our spirits during tough times, for example going on holiday, enjoying a meal with friends or even visiting loved ones, suddenly became out of the question. Thankfully we are now beginning to enjoy these activities again, but for many, the river of resilience is at an all-time low.  

Some may be experiencing low resilience for the very first time, and it’s important to be kind to yourself about this. We have just lived through a global pandemic that has caused unprecedented disruption to all aspects of our lives. It absolutely is OK not to be OK, even if you’re usually someone who can handle anything life throws your way.

My new Back on Track six-week programme has been created to support those affected by setbacks in 2020 to bounce back and get that river of resilience flowing again. The course will help attendees to:

  1. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities
  2. Communicate your needs effectively
  3. View yourself as a victor rather than a victim
  4. Work on understanding your emotions and feelings and managing them in a constructive way
  5. Ask for help when you need it
  6. Focus on the things you can control
  7. Reframe your mindset to a more positive outlook

Back On Track offers an in-depth insight into ways we can improve our resilience and utilise it effectively when dealing with challenges. In session 5, we discuss the positive impact of resilience and mindfulness and how to implement these useful tools in our daily lives.

For more information, register your interest here.

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