Hannah Wilson portrait

Hannah Wilson

Originally published March 24th 2020

“Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Resilience exists when the person uses “mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors”.

Resilience. It has become such a buzz word in schools and in society over the last few years. All of our thinking, reading and training about it will now serve us well.

There are loads of inspiring quotes out there about why we should be more resilient, but it is at times like these when our resilience is really tested.

A lot of the resilience quotes are about boats navigating turbulence and adjusting our sails. Remote working, social distancing and isolation are those adjustments we are making for our survival. We are not a lone ship on a sea, we are a fleet. We are in this together. We just need to put our anchors in for a while and sit tight, weather the storm. Blue skies and calm seas are on the horizon.

Another extended metaphor which we see for resilience, is that of a tree. The roots holding it in the ground. Our roots are our values, our families, our communities. We are bending, not breaking right now. Although the wind is so strong and the storm is so vicious that we are bending so far it feels like we are about to break, physically, emotionally and socially.

“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

We may be falling down, but we will get up. We may fall again, but we will keep getting up. We are stronger than we think and more powerful than we know. We will not allow this invisible predator to hunt us down. Together we will beat it.

We may be facing a myriad of adversities, but it is our reaction to these adversities which will determine our next chapter. For me resilience is about creating order out of chaos, it is creating calm in a storm. We need our safe havens to retreat to.

Accepting our new reality, considering our new normal is difficult. Some things will be irrevocably changed over the coming days, weeks, months. Some of these changes will be welcomed, some will be fought against. But those changes will come whether we like them and accept them or not:

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

So what is in your resilience store? What are the difficult and traumatic experiences that you already overcame? What are the resources you need to draw down on right now?

Self-care is of vital importance right now. When you are doing your home schedules for remote working, home learning, domestic duties and down time, make sure you are putting in ‘me time’. Whether it is a cup of tea and some silence in the garden, a book or a bath, build in those opportunities to stop, rest and recharge.

Consider what you can do to still your brain and calm your nerves. Focus your attention on what is in your control rather than what is out of your control. One thing we can control is our media consumption. I am watching the news and the Governmental updates, once a day, otherwise I am protecting myself. The social media hysteria will not help. Curating your communication sphere carefully is self-preservation. Turning notifications is not selfish, we need to establish new boundaries in our new world.

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou