Personal resilience has been severely tested in recent months. The challenge of repeatedly entering and exiting lockdown is a bit like stepping off a rollercoaster. It’s nice to return to familiar ground, but things are wobbly for a while and it helps to clutch on to something – railings or children perhaps. These are on hand near rollercoasters. For everywhere else there’s resilience.
The end of lockdown
Resilience, according to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is “our ability to cope with the normal stress of life as well as being able to bounce back from crises.” Bouncing back is the tricky bit, as we’ve all come to find out. For many of us, lockdown was shaped by the fate of the industry in which we work. From remote working to redundancy, most people have been touched by change. Routines have been uprooted, human contact reduced and cornerstones of our mental framework tested on a daily basis.
A study released in September by the MHF found that of those who have experienced stress due to the pandemic, almost nine out of ten (87%) used at least one coping strategy. These have included going for a walk, spending time in green spaces and staying connected with others. Most people (64%) are coping well with the stress of the pandemic, but 14% of the 4,000 people who took part said they are not coping very well, or worse. The MHF found that for some people, resilience has been propped up by potentially harmful ways of coping, including increased alcohol consumption, substance misuse, and over-eating.
As we move into spring, lockdown three is set to end. Like butterflies breaking free of cocoons, we’re returning to a world that we haven’t seen for a while. So much has changed that it will be hard to describe this as a flight back to normality. For all of us, a time of transition is approaching, change is a cause of stress and stress calls for resilience.
Definitions of resilience are broad. They include anything we might rely on – from physiology and attitudes to knowledge and skills. Together, these are the resources that help us withstand stress and adapt to change. Resilience is also supported by elements of our environment, from laws to the state of the economy. Some things are not within our control, but those that are can be strengthened.
Resilience can be developed ahead of change, making it easier to manage the transition to freedom and helping to bring unhealthy habits under control. The easiest and most cost-effective form of resilience training is via eLearning. This will help you break the patterns of negative thought that can disrupt your reserves of resilience. By using optimism and humour to manage challenging feelings or impulses, you’ll find it easier to be who, or where, you want to be – without tripping up along the way.
5 key techniques
By bringing negative thoughts under control, and bolstering a positive outlook, eLearning resilience training will make it easier to deal with the impact of change. To help keep you on track, here’s a sneaky peak at 5 techniques on offer:
1. Positivity ratio. Changing our thinking patterns can alter our emotional patterns. And when it comes to resilience, recognising our emotional patterns is key.
2. Acts of kindness. Numerous studies suggest that people who engage in acts of kindness, whether it be giving, receiving or witnessing these acts, experience increased serotonin production.
3. Relationships. The ability to turn to others as we move through challenging times can be one of the most important resources we have.
4. Refining our reactions. Being able to successfully leverage challenges as opportunities to grow and learn is a skill that contributes greatly to resilience.
5. Mental and physical health. Another component of a strong level of resiliency is learning to take care of ourselves, even when things go badly.