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Resilience & Pandemic

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

It is easy for me to get stuck thinking of all the things that have changed or have been lost during the pandemic. These changes are true and need to be honored. Our task seems to be finding a way to hold all of what is, and also hold a bigger picture of ourselves, our community and our world.

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Many of us have self-care “go to” skills that may not be cutting it at this time of higher stress, or reduced access.

We are noticing disrupted sleep, higher levels of anxiety, increased alcohol & drug use, relationship conflict, financial stress, disrupted routines, and a lot of unknown.

When stress is increased, the dosing of self-care also needs to be increased. Attending to aspects of resilience is protective on a personal and community wide level to help cancel out the long-term negative impacts of this global disaster.

Resilience is built with the following basic components: Connections with others, finding Purpose in your life, being Flexible, having Hope.

The following are suggestions my friends and I have gathered for ways to attend to aspects of resilience; this is not an exhaustive list- get creative with your own ideas.

CONNECTIONS: Increasing # of Phone calls, Zoom, email, Facetime, Facebook, writing letters/cards to loved ones. Scheduling regular times to do this; people are doing Zoom happy hours or weekly virtual meetups

  • Spend time with kids

  • Radio, TV shows- watch/listen with another person or virtually

  • Join Facebook group or other online group of interest

  • Watch faith community’s services online

  • Zoom AA meetings, other virtual support groups- OA, NA

  • Help a neighbor

  • Run errands for those in need

  • Ask for help when needed

  • Read a book- start a virtual book club

  • Random acts of kindness

  • Spend time in nature

  • Spend time with a pet

  • "Driveway dinners" for feeling connected with your neighbors.

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PURPOSE: Many have found that helping others during this tough time gives a sense of purpose/meaning (both big and small ways),

  • Contact people by phone/email/written correspondence with the purpose of showing they are cared about

  • Make food for a neighbor

  • Donate to a cause of choice

  • Donate to the food bank

  • Volunteer opportunities, make masks, deliver groceries to someone not able to leave their home.

  • Prayer/meditation for peace/others in the world, etc.

  • Practice mindfulness

  • Focusing on what is within your control

  • Plant flowers in yard/make your space beautiful

  • At-home workouts

  • Lots and lots of hiking

  • Chalk artwork on sidewalk to entertain/inspire others

  • Start a project that has been put off: scrapbook, cleaning, exercising, yardwork, etc.

  • Adopt a pet

FLEXIBILITY: It’s important to balance having some things that are part of a regular routine, and then intentionally picking something to be flexible about (ex: meals, practicing getting creative with things that maybe less available; like if you’re used to going to the gym, figuring out a new activity to try; being flexible and creative with social interactions)

  • Learn mindfulness

  • Look at ways that your thinking may be distorted or stuck

  • Ask- what expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?

  • Practice doing things a different way

  • Learn a new skill/ try something new

  • Many opportunities are available online now. Food, work, school, gym, church, support groups, family, entertainment. Do not get upset with going virtual. It is a new and interesting time and stop waiting for it to go back to normal…it may never. Besides, you may be able to improve your overall productivity with the time spent not traveling.

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  • Read inspiring books/articles, watch inspiring movies/YouTube videos

  • Follow the “Good News Network” or other positive group on Facebook

  • Daily gratitude practice- write down 5 things you are grateful for every morning

  • Identify things to look forward to

  • Look at pictures from past pleasurable events/ being with people you enjoy

  • Listen to the birds

  • Watch online videos of baby animals/children

  • Write a list of personal goals

  • Share my new knowledge and enthusiasm for change.

  • Notice seasonal changes in nature

What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting into today?

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