Bouncing Back - How to build resilience in a world of uncertainty 

Regardless of where you live, what you do for a living or your living situation, almost every single human being is currently learning to manage work, families, friends, finances, and themselves, under the shadow of COVID. In some ways, COVID could be considered the great equalizer.

So why do some people seem to be riding the waves rather smoothly, while others are sinking into the depths of despair? For most of us, it’s resilience. Simply put, resilience is the ability to bounce back following a major disappointment, trauma or loss. 

Resilience can be measured on a continuum. There are ‘degrees’ of resilience that shift according to the individual and the circumstances. The great news is that resilience can be learned or enhanced. 

So how can you become more resilient? These are some basic but effective ways to increase resilience. 

Self-care.

“I am concerned about Canadians’ mental health ... more Canadians have increased their consumption of alcohol and junk food or sweets since the beginning of the pandemic,” Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam said in a statement. 

Self-care requires a conscious effort and a plan that focuses your time and attention on positive coping mechanisms instead of eating, drinking and numbing your way through. We’ve all heard the analogies - you must put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help others, you can’t pour from an empty cup, etc. This is especially true of caregivers, whether you have children or elderly parents (or both). 

Regularly schedule time for yourself. Just like you would a meeting with a client. Use that time to take a walk, meditate, nap, take a bath, or pursue a hobby - whatever brings you peace and joy. Self-care is the most selfless thing you can do because when you deplete yourself, you ultimately deplete everyone around you. If you feel overwhelmed, help is available. 

Staying connected.

Aristotle made the observation over 2000 years ago that “humans by nature are social animals”. Today, research and neurobiology continue to evolve and substantiate that theory. 

For people who thrive on socializing, travel, and generally connecting with others, the limits imposed by COVID-19 can be excruciating. Many workplaces have gone virtual, gyms have closed down and social events all but banned. 

Alternatively, for ‘homebodies’ or introverts, this pandemic may provide an all too-convenient excuse to self-isolate.

Both gregarious and reclusive people need connection, albeit in varying degrees. Though we’re being told to social distance, what we really need is physical distancing while maintaining our human connections. 

Humans spend about 60 percent of their waking hours working. In October 2020, Hays Canada released the results of a survey asserting that 49 percent of Canadian workers are seriously considering leaving their jobs due to feeling isolated, overworked and abandoned by their employers. There is no question that the lack of social connection employees are experiencing is having a profound effect on their job satisfaction. 

Practicing gratitude

Some days it may feel very challenging to feel authentically grateful. This too takes a conscious effort. Oprah keeps a gratitude journal. Some people just think about three things they are grateful for before they go to sleep or awaken. Sometimes a walk in the park and appreciating the simple things is enough. Regardless of what method you choose, actively practicing gratitude results in physiological changes in your body that decrease stress and anxiety and help you become more resilient.

Becoming your best self.

With the added stresses of navigating COVID-19, we may not always be our best selves. Or we may be the recipient of bad behaviour. Forgiving ourselves and others is not about excusing behaviour or tolerating the intolerable. It is simply about letting go of what we cannot control. 

We can’t control what others do, but we can use adversity to grow and become more resilient. Don Ruis Miguel’s book The Four Agreements explores four simple but powerful principles based on ancient Toltec wisdom. These principles focus on what we can control - ourselves. 

  • Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  • Don't Take Anything Personally.
  • Don't Make Assumptions.
  • Always Do Your Best.

Optimism

Optimism is also key to achieving resilience. Some studies have found that only about 25 percent of an individual’s optimism is inherited, with the rest being determined by effort and environment. So like resilience, there are steps you can take to become more optimistic

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
- Nelson Mandela

Life. Career. Opportunity Awaits. If you have any questions, are considering a change, or just want to chat, we would love to hear from you. 

At Urban Legal Recruitment, we have experienced, along with our clients, the impacts of COVID-19.  We’ve made the necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of our team members and our clients.