5 ways to build your resilience during tough times

Apr 20, 2021

For many of us, our resilience has been tested to its very limits these past 12 months. And we can expect it to be tested a little more, most likely. So how do you keep sane in a world that sometimes feels like its very walls are closing in? It’s time to boost your resilience and to put yourself first! Today! And here’s how:

1. Let the little moments matter more than usual

When times are tough, it’s the little things that matter most. The sun that shines through your window as you wake up. That steaming hot mug of coffee that smells (and tastes!) delicious. That co-worker who tells you you’ve done a good job in that one meeting you attended. Your child who makes you a drawing. Anything and everything can be something to be grateful for. 

Instead of dismissing these small moments as things that don’t matter, let them matter more! Don’t immediately jump into the next moment before acknowledging that something great just happened. Sure, it may have only been one single moment in an entire day, but that moment mattered. Let it matter. And be grateful it happened. Practise gratitude throughout your day, every day.

2. Start your self-care in small ways

If you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope, people always say “oh just take the week off and decompress for a bit!” or “take the weekend and enjoy a nice spa time!”, but what if you don’t have the option to do that? And also: what a terrifying thought that the only way to practice self-care is by making these grand gestures for yourself? Nothing against them in principle, but self-care can also happen in easier ways that you can fit into your busy, day-to-day schedule.

Try a mindful meditation of 5 to 10 minutes and try to do this right when you wake up, or right before you go to bed. If it’s the only thing you can do all day, then that’s OK. Or go for a walk around the block to get some fresh air. Play with your pet for 15mins. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers to put in your living room. Whatever small thing it is that can boost your feeling of happiness that day: just do it. And don’t feel guilty about giving that experience to yourself.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others

In the digital world of 2021, so many of us share details of ourselves online. And it can be tempting to look at photos and videos online of our friends, family or influencers and see how they (seemingly!) have it all together. But that is exactly what it is: it only seems like they do. Everyone has good days, but everyone has bad days too – it’s part of the human experience. Comparing your own life with someone’s best day won’t help you feel any better.

4. Don’t throw yourself a pity party

I know it’s tempting, very tempting in fact, to wallow in your own sadness and problems until you’re blue in the face. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling your feelings and acknowledging them, but letting them take over completely until all you can do is complain and cry all day long… well, that just isn’t going to help. Instead, pencil in when you are going to cry into your calendar, like you would any other meeting. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.

And then, remind yourself of all the things in your life that are going well. Make a list. Even if you can write only one thing, so be it. Make that list every single day. See how it changes day to day and you’ll notice it growing longer, slowly but surely. It’s a cliche for a reason, but by focusing on the good things, you can find the energy to pull through and find your joy again.

5. Ask for help

Do you remember how it felt when your best friend called you in tears and you were happy to be there for him/her? You dropped whatever you were doing, because your friend needed you and you felt such an overwhelming sense of love for them, you wanted to help out immediately. Well, what makes you think that your friends or family don’t want to be there for you in the same way?

Allowing someone else to be there for you is a vulnerable act, but it’s also an act of letting someone else’s love for you in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone call, or a hug, or a letter sent by pigeon: allowing people to support you is simply invaluable. And if you notice that it’s still not enough, then consider talking to a professional about some of the issues you’re experiencing. You cannot put a price tag on your mental wellbeing, no matter who you are, what responsibilities you may have, or what’s going on in your life. Dare to ask for help. It’s a 4-letter word that can change your life.

And there you have it: 5 simple tips to boost your resilience, now and in the future. Because you deserve the feeling of waking up in the morning, with a smile on your face, excited about the new dawn. So take time for yourself, without guilt, and remember that it’s a process. The more you work at building your resilience, the more you’ll be able to face adversity and look on the bright side of things.

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