“Resilience is staying the course through a storm. Growth is charting a new course.”
If you like me are experiencing pandemic fatigue. It’s OK.
I yearn for the day when the morning news will be no news about the coronavirus pandemic because it’s over.
I hanker for more of those small things that brought me some small relief from the daily stress, anxiety and disillusionment with the world.
I’m deeply grateful for the one thing that saved my life.
We are all resilient. Some may appear to have a Masters degree in resilience, but the truth is, because we are human, we have all deep pockets of different strategies to help us get through challenging times.
It’s just that some of us also have holes in those pockets or we’ve forgotten how to rummage into the lining that’s become loose and has allowed a few valuable pieces to get lost.
Resilience is for the moment and by golly we’ve had a few. Moments that is.
Grief, loss, sadness are the emotions we feel when dealing with adversity or tragedy and that’s normal. It is only by using the power of all our emotions that we can reconnect to what makes us feel happy. They allow us to reconnect with what’s truly important to us, our values and beliefs.
I did not expect to be here today.
If you had asked me a year ago what I expected from 2021 I might have said nothing or replied with a platitude or “hopefully things will be better.”
I didn’t feel part of any future.
I had had enough.
I was ready to go.
Depression. I’ve experienced bouts of it before. You might think that I would have recognised what was happening and done something earlier. I didn’t.
Nor did I expect to find myself in the deepest, darkest depression I had ever experienced. My days were consumed with thoughts of suicide. I had a how, I just hadn’t worked out the when.
The one thing that changed my course was curiosity.
I remained curious to understand how my deranged thinking would solve anything other than alleviate my pain.
I was curious as to why, at a point in time when more people than ever before were experiencing intense fear, anxiety around the world I would let go of an opportunity to help, to use my knowledge and expertise to bring people together and build a better, healthier, happier world for our future and that of our kids.
I was curious to what needed to change in myself to reconnect to my passion and commitment for a better future.
We talk about self-care and the need to embrace those lifestyle choices that support us to be the optimal versions of ourselves. And it’s true. The better we get with our self-care, the better we are placed to take good care of others.
But no amount of healthy eating, exercise, good sleep or rest is going to necessarily change those engrained patterns of thinking where anxiety, high stress, panic or depression predominate.
Five ways to help you change your mind
- Stay curious about what’s happening to you. Tune into how this affects your body and your mind. Ask yourself what you’d like to be different and what that could look like. Look for ways to broaden your perspective, challenging those automatic negative thoughts, and ask – is this really true or just a story I’ve made up for myself?
- Show yourself some compassion. It sucks feeling really bad. But berating yourself for panicking again, making a stupid mistake because your anxiety prevented you from thinking clearly or missing an appointment because you couldn’t face getting out of bed or to talk to another person doesn’t help. Feelings are temporary. All emotions provide us with valuable information about ourselves and our environment. It sounds cliché, but showing some kindness and compassion to yourself really does help.
- Talking about kindness, try making acts of kindness something you do every day not just once in a while. And while you’re at it, do lots! Research has shown while one act of kindness boosts more positive emotions, there’s much more to be gained by doing 4 or 5 every day. And guess what, your kind act provokes greater kindness in the recipient who pays it forward. It’s the fastest way to start a kindness pandemic.
- Help someone else. Choosing to focus out, to help another person in need. Not because you feel obliged to, but because you can see they simply need help is another win-win. In times of natural disaster, bushfire, flood or drought. And ask yourself what could be done differently to prevent this from happening again or to minimise the risk?
- Align your values with a cause. When we come together to bring about societal change, to embrace greater empathy into our workplaces, to reduce inequity in education or health, working for the common good, it gives us purpose and meaning and a reason to get up in the morning.
What one small thing do you need?
- To experience greater positivity in your life
- To feel more optimistic and hope for your future
- To feel more deeply connected to others and happier overall
If you’re curious to find out what your one thing might look like and how to use it to chart a new course for your own life, I’m launching the Thriving Mind Academy a new 8-week online course to help get you there. Enrolments are open until April 30th.
I’m hoping you can join me.
Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase.
If psychological safety, resilience and mental wellbeing is something you’d like to find out more about, please contact me to set up a time for a chat.