Word on the street is Co-Vid will define our decisions and directions for the next 3 years.

In our past 2 blogs we discussed ‘Compassion Fatigue’ and ‘Situational Depression’, all very real effects of the pandemic. Let’s acknowledge these, validate the experience of those suffering the symptoms, and build resilience!

Resilience is a buzz-word commonly thrown around in the workplace and our school systems. We’ve decided to break it down into a simple formula.

Research shows resilient people possess three common characteristics:

1. Being a realist (vs denial, avoidance, or eternal optimist)
2. Strong belief that life is meaningful (finding meaning & experience in life events)
3. Ability to be flexible & improvise (adapt, change, progress)

You can bounce back from hardship with 1-2 of the above characteristics, but true resilience lies with all three.

Being a Realist – Eternal optimism is great but comes undone when timelines of hope aren’t delivered. However, when aligned with a clear sense of reality the two become a superpower. Facing reality is tiring and challenging but provides clarity that prepares us to act in ways that allow us to endure and survive hardships.

Finding meaning – Resilient people create ideas/theories about their suffering to determine a meaning for themselves and others. Through hardships, you may very well lose many things, but you may also gain new friendships, career changes, new opportunities, stronger family relationships, gratitude and appreciation for today, and a more grounded, purposeful life. Finding meaning helps us link present-day hardships to a better-constructed future, and this link enables us to manage the present better rather than be overwhelmed.

Ability to improvise/be flexible – Resilient people have an ability to make do with whatever is at hand; to improvise or be inventive. When challenged, improvisers step forward, imagining or creating possibilities where others may well be overwhelmed and pack up. These people can think outside the box, apply objectivity – or rely on a trusted support network to provide objective feedback & ideas.

Research shows the vast majority of Australians report greater levels of gratitude and appreciation for the things we have in life, which may be behind this robust picture of resilience in the Australian population. Studies have shown those who self-assessed themselves higher on resilience levels did the following:

• Be kind to yourself
• Keep up social connections
• Notice when you’re stressed, name it acknowledge it, manage it
• Move, exercise, happy endorphins
• Sleep – reset button
• Practice mindfulness to reduce anxiety
• Tune out from negative news
• Switch up your habits

To summarise: During this unending period of unknown variables relating to the pandemic, wellbeing needs to have a spotlight glaringly beamed upon it – yours, your family, friends, neighbours and co-workers.

Be aware of changes in your own thoughts and behaviours, and monitor those around you as well. Strengthen wellbeing by staying connected to those you love and trust the most. Look after yourself, look after those around you.

For further help contact your GP, Beyond Blue 1300 224636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14