After nearly a year of a pandemic and its quarantine, we are all ready to get back to normal. We all have been through the drill of a new year where we vow to get back to the gym, or we are going to take that exotic vacation, or we’re going to get back together with our friends. Not yet, we are being told … not just yet. Cabin Fever may be a mild description for what we’re feeling. Want to know the seven cures to what ails us all…and they all are about another word that begins with R.E.S.?
It exists when a person uses mental processes or behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting themselves from the potential negative effects of stressors. It’s not a resolution as in “being resolved”…it’s resilience. It’s when you can be that team that makes a comeback; when you’re that person who gets knocked down, but you get up again; it’s very simply about not just striving, but getting back to thriving. Please let me share seven skills of resilience:
- Glass that’s half full – The best poker players, I have heard, are not the ones with the best hands, but the ones who play their hands the best. Believe in yourself, because you have not come this far without “what it takes.”
- We are herd creatures – Humans are not a species that lives alone, and we look out for one another and we look to others for some of what gets us from today into tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to seek help…emotional, physical or fiscal.
- Get it out – As my kids were coming up, we helped them learn to give words to their actions, to talk about what “happened at school today.” Talk to your close acquaintances about what you have learned in the pandemic today…really!
- Pass it on – You may be surprised at how good it actually feels when you slow down your car to let another car into your lane or when you hold the door for someone else. That part about being a social species means we show empathy to one another.
- Getting to positive – Not every event or our response to it is inherently positive, but we can get to positive by shedding the negative. Getting back to my kids, we used to encourage them on a bad day that “crying gets the sadness out.”
- Be a survivor – Thomas Edison was an inventor who patented all of his failures on his way to the success of the incandescent light bulb. He’s quoted as saying, “I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Believe in yourself!
- Finding Meaning – In the aftermath of World War II, Victor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. He quoted the philosopher Nietzsche: The one “who has a why to live for can survive almost any how.”
If you take the big picture from all of these you’ll see that resilience is really about outlook. So, we could add to this list some advice I’ve offered in the past about using your brain so that you are less likely to lose it. So, this list is really seven ways to more effectively work out your brain; it will be good for you and for those in your orbit as well.
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.