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Being resilient in the face of a pandemic

So here we are in February, after what felt, perhaps to many, like the longest January in the history of time and now only a month away from the first anniversary of Lockdown 1. How did we get here? More importantly, how do we survive here?

What comes to mind when you consider the word or concept 'resilience'? When life is tough our first instinct is often to withdraw, and certainly in the midst of Lockdown 3 many of us will already feel isolated. It was once said that life was never meant to be a flawless happy journey, that there will be good times, there will be bad times. But when the bad times last for as long as this, how do we get through? Resilience, you are stronger than you think.

So what can we do to be more resilient? First of all, cultivate a belief in your ability to cope, find a mantra of positive affirmation, something like "I can do this". Believing that you are able to navigate this difficult time will encourage a more positive mindset. Stay connected with sources of support - even if you are physically on your own, you are not alone, reach out to your support network. Let's change the rhetoric from 'social distancing' to 'physical distancing' labelling being social as a negative can lead to people closing down their social networks of support. Talk about what you are going through, name it, state how you feel, people care so let them know how you really feel rather than always replying "I'm ok" when asked.

Be helpful to others, if you see someone struggling, what could you do to help? Any small act of friendship or compassion can go a long way. Offer to do a neighbour's shopping or walk a shielder's dog, these small acts can really go a long way to support another. The feel good factor from helping another will activate positive emotion, which also supports resilience

Cultivate an attitude of being a survivor, congratulate yourself every day that you are going to get through this, you have the skills. Identify your life raft. Mine is my yoga mat. Yoga is a wonderful tool for cultivating resilience. Moving in harmony with my breath gives me a sense of strength, teaching via zoom gives me a sense of community, allows me to stay connected, I hope that in some way it goes towards me being helpful to others and it one hundred percent activates a positive emotion within me. What will it do for you? Well, yoga has many health benefits: it can improve flexibility (important for all you home workers) increase muscle strength and tone, improve respiration, energy and vitality, its good for cardio and circulatory health and helps to maintain a balanced metabolism. So, when you can't get outside so much, roll out a mat and move. If you've not tried zoom yoga before, maybe now is the time, get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.

And remember, in the end we only need to remember one thing; this too shall pass.

Picture credit Charlie Mackesy

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