When our priorities change, and pressures in life outweigh our ability to cope with change, we feel stressed. Our tolerance to pressure is based on own behaviours, experiences and mindsets. We are creatures of habit and routines offer us ways to get through our everyday life and promote our own wellness through organisation and structure. Routines greatly improve our wellbeing. But what happens when those routines are disrupted?
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the limits of our strengths and we have to adapt to ever changing lifestyle conditions for our wellbeing to thrive.
It’s easy to resist change as it brings a rollercoaster of emotions- despair, sadness, grief and frustration. Change is inevitable. Accepting and getting accustomed to it, is the best solution.
COVID-19 came along without warning. The pandemic is changing our lives, and we are only just beginning to make sense of what it means for how we live, work, and care for one another. We are not only recovering from loss, we’re also learning how to be different people in this world.
Now more than ever we have to remember that it’s very important that we focus on what we can control. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does need to be consistent. When we start to do this we will begin to feel more in control and able to expand our comfort zone. The goal is to cope effectively rather than avoid loss or pain.
Finding ways to overcome adversity, navigating the unknown to become more resilient is challenging. Isolation and disruptions are part of living with COVID-19. There is no easy way through this pandemic, but building coping skills - adaptability, mindfulness and resilience can help you work through the emotions triggered by COVID-19.
Adaptability, mindfulness and resilience are key elements in overcoming adversity since they allows us to live in the present while still being fully aware of what needs to be done to rebuild a better future.
These are not fixed qualities, but they are ongoing processes that requires effort to build and maintain over time.
Ideas to help you build you’re adaptability, mindfulness and resilience
Be present. You have a unique opportunity to reflect and rest. Cherish the rain and enjoy the sunshine.
Don’t withdraw in tough times. It’s easy to retreat into your shell when you’re facing challenges in your life. You feel as if you’re a burden to friends and loved ones. This is when you should keep in contact with you’re loved ones or seek help if you need to. Good friends and you’re loved ones will never consider you a burden, and talking can help ease anxiety and frustrations.
Nurture yourself . Your emotional and physical health are connected to one another. Self care is comprised of daily self love habits (nutrition, good sleep, exercise). Over time, these habits will become non-negotiable.
Offer help. If you know of a person who’s old or alone and cannot go shopping at the moment, offer to go for them. Research and understand what different charities do and represent , and if you can afford to - make a donation or offer to volunteer. Giving you’re time selflessly to those less fortunate is a humbling experience and can boost you’re inner resilience, by teaching you the strengths that lie in compassion and understanding.
Do not shame yourself for failures. We have been conditioned to feel shame around failure. Failing is a normal part of life, proof that you care and that you are willing to take risks. The trick is learning from failure so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.
Pursue you’re hobbies. For many of us, hobbies define us as individuals and bring meaning to our lives.
Avoid negative people. Avoid anyone who magnifies your problems, leaving you feeling emotionally drained, makes you feel judged, stressed or only fuel negative emotions in you.
Failing to appreciate what you have. Everyone is fighting a battle within that no one knows about. Just because someone has materialistic possessions does not mean they’re internally happy. Try and focus on what you are fortunate to have, instead of focusing on what you think you are missing from your life.
Focus on growing you’re skills. Everyone can learn to be resilient and it doesn't involve any specific set of actions or behaviours. Resilience take time to build. Push yourself to build on your existing strengths by learning new skills and being open minded to understand others. Don’t get discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events.
Insecurities. Don’t consume yourself with worry about what other people are thinking, chances are that they are way more concerned with themselves than you. Insecurities will hold you back. Confidence is a state of mind. Believe you’re enough and worth it- Then you have a great start to building you’re own resilience.
Adaptability and resilience do not mean the repression of feelings. Instead mean assessing the positive and negative sides of change. When sudden change involves loss, it means actively grieving and processing feelings at the same time.
Small steps take you on long journeys. Our transition to build our own resilience and become adaptable begins with letting go of some of our old ways so we can build new habits. It is important to find out what one big thing is, that’s holding you back. Everyone has something. Use this as you’re starting point to work on improving you’re strengths.
During these challenging times we are also presented with an opportunity to expand our experiences, renew and start fresh.
“A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will." -Spanish Proverb
Life is all about continuous progress, ups and downs and can be unfair sometimes. You need to make peace with your past and learn to accept things the way they are, whether it makes sense or not. Once you let go of the things in life that are holding you back, the quicker you will be able to achieve your goals.
Savannah grasslands, Southern Africa