How are you? Building resilience through self-awareness and action
There has been huge amount of change for all of us since the start of 2020. These alterations to our daily routines may have led us to experience increased stress in areas of our lives, such as our relationships with other people, finances and health. In addition to this, we are dealing with the unanticipated impact of Covid-19 on our working environment. Some of us will be returning to very different workplaces to those that we left earlier in the year. Any one of these things, or indeed a combination of them, may be having an adverse effect on us right now or in the future.
At a recent webinar focused on mental health and wellbeing we asked teachers and education professionals ‘How are you?’ This is a question we probably get asked many times during the course of a week.
However, how often do we stop and think about the answer that we’re about to give? To a certain degree our response might depend on, for example, where we are, how much time we have and how much we trust the other person. Connecting with other people is an important component in looking after our own mental health. So, how do we begin the journey to being more confident in talking about how we really feel and seeking support when we need it?
When dealing with change in our lives it is helpful to understand our own personal level of resilience and how that might fluctuate. Resilience can help us cope with the things that are happening both to ourselves and others around us. Of course, that ‘bouncebackability,’ which enables us to face those setbacks in life doesn’t come for free! We need to invest time and energy into developing and maintaining it.
So what can we do? Well it’s not that different to the things that we encourage our children to consider:
- Be kind to ourselves: Our resilience comes from a combination of factors, which include our in-built personality and life experiences. It isn’t useful to compare ourselves to others and how they appear to be dealing with a situation
- Take time to pause: Allow ourselves space in our busy lives to notice how we are feeling on a regular basis. Use a simple tool, such as line drawn on a piece of paper, marked with the numbers 1 to 5 as a scale. We could then ask ourselves if 1 indicates our wellbeing is low and 5 indicates our wellbeing is high, where would we put ourselves on that scale today?
- Act on our feelings: If we recognise things are not going well for us, then it is important to make some changes. These might include visiting a GP, exercising, changing our diet, talking to someone or engaging in mindfulness
- Be reflective: When our levels of wellbeing are high it’s a good time to think about what is happening in our lives and who can we call on for support. These positive thoughts can be useful to draw on during more difficult times
Resilience is built and maintained through a combination of self-awareness and action. The next time someone asks ‘How are you?’ Let’s be ready to give them our answer!