Transformation Tuesday: How to Build Resilience

Happy Transformation Tuesday! Today, we’re focusing on resilience and its ability to help us recover from difficulties, promote toughness and furnish us with the power to bounce back.1 In this time of stillness and shelter, we’re all feeling overwhelmed - financially, socially and professionally. Many of us have faced challenges head-on before – whether due to illness, disease or other catastrophes – and through them, we've learned that these life-altering experiences offer chances to cultivate the stamina needed to endure.

So, keeping in sync with that wisdom, what if we flipped our mindset (as we often do amidst the ebbs and flows of life) and looked at COVID-19 as an opportunity to develop strength and flexibility together? This kind of outlook could ultimately enable us, and those around us, to thrive and flourish as we emerge from these rocky times. Could resilience be the key to getting through this pandemic? What exactly does it look like, and what are some of the ways we can foster it?

We’re Telling Our Own Stories

Thinking back to the more difficult times in our lives, we can either be inspired or discouraged by the challenges we’ve overcome. Are we the heroes or heroines of our own stories? Do we see ourselves as vixens or victims of circumstance? Simply shifting the narrative in our life story to see how we overcame adversity, learned important life skills and waged important battles to become stronger versions of our already-badass selves is empowering. We’re owning our own stories, writing them down and finding strength in the process.2

We’re Committed to Our Goals

Families, faith, career, friends...the list goes on. Our goals are the reason we get out of bed in the morning (ok, caffeine helps!). Having something outside of ourselves to focus on, a sense of purpose puts things into perspective. Rather than personalizing what’s happening, we recognize that some situations are beyond our control, and we attempt to find new ways of being the change in the world and making a difference in the lives of others.3

...But We’re Also Flexible

A particular tactic of resilient behavior is called “framing.” We’re goal-oriented, but we know that some situations are just out of our hands, such as a pandemic. Our ambitions may have hit a major roadblock this season due to closures, restrictions, health threats and illness, but how we choose to frame the situation and react to it is key. We can either learn from it, move on from it or let it discourage us.4

We’re Being Kind to Ourselves and Others

Nothing helps us strengthen that “bounce back” mentality like a boost of feel-good, warm fuzzies. And practicing random acts of kindness is at the top of our list, such as joining volunteer groups (who need us now more than ever). Whether we’re honing our DIY skills to produce hand-sewn face masks, donating time or money to local food banks or signing up to foster a shelter pet, there are so many ways to help out. It makes a difference within the walls of our own homes, too. Being extra kind to just one person a day can go a long way. Leaving a thoughtful note, sending a heartfelt text or giving a friendly, socially-distanced, “Hi, neighbor!” all count.3

We’re Believing in the Future

The great thing about resilience is that like flexing our muscles, it has the ability to strengthen over time. If we didn’t believe that all of the effort we put into our health or hours spent at the gym would pay off, why would we do it? It’s a similar story for positivity. No, we don’t have to maintain a sunny outlook every time the world begins to fall apart—we're in a global pandemic and things are scary right now—but fostering something called "growth mindset" can help us achieve even greater resilience. It happens like this: Believing we can get better improves our health. Believing we can learn something new expands our ability to learn. And having more optimism that we can bounce back after a setback? Exactly! Knowing that we can do hard things is one of the reasons we build and maintain resiliency.4 

Living through a pandemic is crazy, bizarre and unique. It has the power to bring our spirits down and leave us feeling lost. We didn’t see this coming, but we're learning every day (as we have done with other curve balls thrown our way). Through each hardship, we expand. We better prepare. We step up. And we grow.

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