building resilience

Photo credit: matti-keponen-APmBcTBLRic-unsplash

I mentioned in my last post that I needed resilience. I didn’t know yet the depth of that truth.

A few weeks later and the “drag” of our situation is wearing on me more than ever. I feel the weight of my own emotions and inconveniences. I am burdened by the pain and struggles of those who are suffering much more than me. I see others reacting with great frustration to the limitations and longevity of the virus impact.

Our stress behaviors show off loudly these days.

It helps to remember that anytime we adjust to something new (new job, new home, new family member), it tires us out. So much about our situation is new right now. New ways of working or going to school – or losing those things. New ways of getting basic supplies or doing without. New ways of interacting or missing interactions no longer available to us.

Uncertainty is wearing. We typically do not like to stand at the crossroads without clear direction, but everything about our future feels unknown. Many decisions that were previously straightforward require more thought now. In addition, we often have to consider the complexity of how our choices affect others.

The loss of anticipated activities and celebrations also depletes our motivation. Feeling out-of-control, vulnerable, or trapped is unnerving. Isolation, loneliness, fear, and grief are physically exhausting. So is living in tight quarters with others who are also expressing their reactions to this out-of-control life. Everyone is at least slightly on edge – some of us much more than others. So what can we do?

SHUT DOWN THE “SHOULDS”

Erasing unrealistic expectations and perfection-pressure helps us conserve needed kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. When I replace “I should be… do… act like…” with a humble recognition of my weakness, I often find others willing to step in with forgiveness and help. I am learning to set goals (significantly) lower than normal at times, leaving margin for those days when motivation, energy, and creativity wanes.

GRACE.  GRACE.  GRACE.

I have repeated this word more times than I can count. Encouraging myself and others to offer grace and acceptance rather than criticism, judgement, or anger is crucial. It’s not easy to do, and I fail often, but we all desperately need it. I’m taking initiative to reach out to others and lean into relationships – even when it is hard for me. I hope that practice will stick with me over time.

TAKE CARE

I am thinking about how I can prepare myself for the long-term effects of our “new world”. Awareness of all the above helps. As does taking care of my physical needs as much as possible (healthy routines, sleep, fresh air, good food, water). Working on a significant, joy-giving, or worthwhile project each day/week gives me energy too.

The flower above is my inspiration – beautiful, strong, and resilient – growing courageously and miraculously in the crevice of that challenging rock. Ironically, that impressive perseverance would not be needed or visible without the challenge.

What has been most difficult for you this past week? How are you building your resilience?

10 thoughts on “building resilience

  1. A friend once said to me that security is not what you have, but rather what you can do without. Covid-19 has taught me a lot about what I can do without. So I’d have to say that this past week hasn’t really been difficult at all. Can’t say that for a few of the weeks prior to this one though. As for resilience, I’d like to think that I’ve always had that.
    Great post. Many good points. You have a great perspective.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Dianne. And I really like what you said, “security is not what you have, but rather what you can do without”. So much truth in that. Thank you for joining the conversation and adding that bit of wisdom.

  2. You’re so right–apart from the challenge, we would never discover just what we can do when the going gets tough. And you, my dear friend, are full of grace. A sense of kindness and calm that radiates from you, which is how you reflect the love of the Lord. What’s been the toughest for me this past week? Being kind to all who now live in my house. Not grousing about messes and dogs peeing on rugs. So much to learn!

    • Daylio… you are too kind. Thank you for your encouraging words and for taking time to engage with my “thinking out loud”. Can’t wait til we can do this face-2-face over a cup of coffee! Until then, I pray with much empathy for you and your full house! xxoo

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