We are all facing difficulties, some of us are sick, some have lost their loved ones, their jobs, don’t have any income, can’t see their families, feel lonely, scared, anxious, uncertain about their future. What we all need is to stay psychologically strong. We need to be resilient. Here are some tips that can help you to be strong in these difficult times.
1. This moment will pass
According to Martin Seligman one of the optimistic explanatory styles is to believe that bad things that happen to us are just temporary. We need to remind ourselves that the coronavirus, quarantine and lockdown will pass sooner or later, and things will get back to normal. Don’t give in catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is when you imagine the worst scenario possible. I will never get a job again. I won’t be able to have a good salary as I used to. We won’t be able to travel for years. It’s just a belief that is not true. Everything passes sooner or later.
2. Accept what you can’t change
There are things and people we can’t change, being upset about it or trying to change them is just a waste of energy and time. What are all the aspects of this situation that you have no power to influence or control? Write them down! It might be the decisions of the government, other people’s behavior, spread of the virus etc. Stop trying to change what you can’t change! Accept them and let them go! Trust that everything happens for a reason and only in the future you will see the dots connecting, you will understand why it happened.
3. Focus on what you can change and take purposeful actions
Now, ask yourself: What aspects of this situation can I change, control or influence? Write them down. This is where you should spend your energy. These are the things you should focus on. Ok, so I lost my job, but I can create something new, I can work online, I can reinvent myself. When you identify what is changeable, think of purposeful actions that you can take. What can I do to make this situation better? Start a youtube channel, write a blog, create a webinar or online course, study, spend time with your family etc. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
4. It’s ok to cry
We are going through very difficult times. It’s ok to cry ones in a while. Having feelings makes us human. Don’t bottle your emotions up, let it out. What happens if I tell you not to think of a white bear? You will think of a white bear. What happens if you tell yourself not to be sad, you will feel miserable. The more we fight our sadness, the sadder we get. As acceptance and commitment therapy suggests, accept your feelings and learn how not to overreact to them. Then commit to some actions that will help you to feel better. I was crying when I started to write this article. Cry for a while to let it out but then start to do something maybe still with tears in your face but do something. Read more about how to get rid of disturbing thoughts and feelings here.
5. Ask for help
One of the most important ingredients to strengthen our resilience are connections with other people. When we have people around us who we can trust and count on, there is no mountain high enough that we couldn’t climb. We are social animals we need to have people close to us. Don’t be too proud to ask for help or support. Scientific research has shown that helping others makes us happier. Asking for help you are actually going to make that person happy while helping you. What about social distancing? You might ask. We have great technology available! You can use whatsapp, Skype, Zoom and other apps to talk to your family and friends. Use it! And remember one more thing: together we are stronger.
6. Exercise, eat healthy and sleep
Despite of being closed at home, do some exercise every second day. There are a lot of live videos on Instagram or you tube to exercise at home. You can jump, do squads, run around the living room. I personally like BOSU, you don’t need much space to use BOSU and there are videos available on you tube. Exercise will release happiness hormone serotonin and tire your body to sleep better at night. Eat healthy, don’t overeat or eat junk food. We are at home and have nothing to do, so let’s hit the fridge.. NO.. I see so many jokes about people gaining 2O pounds during quarantine. Practice your self-control. You can’t control yourself you say? There is an easy fix. Don’t buy junk food! If you don’t have it at home, you won’t eat it!
These are just a couple of things you can do to stay mentally strong. If you need more help in building your resilience, contact us and schedule your first psychological resilience coaching here. Or directly per whatsapp +55 21 967871433. Happy to help!
Author: Pavla Belostikova, Master of Human Decision Science