Tough Cookies: 5 Tips for Resilience
Do you ever see those people that seem to really have their shit together? You know the ones. The ones that come across a challenge and deal with it so smoothly they make it look easy? Meanwhile you’re sitting there feeling like you’re adulting hard when you manage to get to work AND have a packed lunch? Wanna know a secret? Those challenges are just a chance to become stronger.
Let me take you back to earlier this year. It was Tuesday morning when I walked into work and said hello to my favourite barista (who is also conveniently located in my workspace.. dangerous I know!). She asked how I was and my answer was “Yeah… I am here. It has been a rough week.” She replied with “Rough week? It is only Tuesday morning!” Admittedly I had been housebound studying from the previous Saturday morning until Monday so it kind of felt like it was all one big week. I was feeling pretty drained and had a massive day ahead of me. That night I headed to an event for work where I was talking about resilience. I was under the impression I would be providing a presentation about resilience yet when I got there I realised it was a more relaxed event for conversations with university students. As we broke out into groups the first thing I was asked kind of took me back. I was asked “How do you stay resilient in your daily life?” Although a simple question, the answer was more complex and quite personal. I started answering pretty generally and was stopped by the person asking me, with him interrupting “No, how do YOU stay resilient?” From there the night became a mix of different conversations with people from all walks of life, many who had encountered challenging times yet they were there talking about these experiences being the best things for them. Why? Simply because challenges can do one of two things; break you or make you stronger.
So how do challenging times result in resilient people? It isn’t something that happens overnight, but there are a few things that resilient people have in common. Focusing on these things below can allow for change to become easier over time.
1. Being open to change: If you know me well, you’ll know I am a massive fan of change. I mean sometimes it just downright sucks, sometimes I hate it so much all I want to do is chuck a tantrum, stay in my pj’s all day while eating ice-cream and yelling “I don’t wanna!” and sure, sometimes that would be a useful strategy to deal with it but it isn’t a solution and it is not long term. As much as you may want to run away from change, it just isn’t possible. Change is inevitable. It can be helpful to look for the positives when change is occurring and have a think of what you can you gain from the change rather than focusing on what you may be losing. Maintaining a positive outlook doesn’t mean you have to always be happy. Allow yourself time to be upset, grieve the change and then move forward.
2. Finding your purpose: What drives you? What do you love doing? Maybe you aren’t quite sure, and that is okay. It is the perfect chance to find that out. Throw yourself into new activities, try hanging out with someone you normally wouldn’t or doing something you’ve never done. Maybe that is a joining a social meet up group or starting a new hobby. Always wanted to build something? Give it a crack.
Maybe you already know what drives you but what you want seems unattainable. Try setting small goals each day. Starting with something small can allow you to move closer to your final goal without being too difficult or feel to overwhelming.
3. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses: Somethings are going to be really easy for us and others are going to be much harder. It is important to not get too wrapped up in this. Identifying the things that are more difficult is a good way to determine how much effort you may need to put in to achieve certain goals.
4. Knowing your crew: Surround yourself with people that encourage you to succeed and are also there when you don’t. There is nothing worse than being surrounded with people that bring you down, especially when you are going through tough times. Know the people in your life that love you and look out for you and don’t be afraid to walk away from those who don’t. If you don’t feel you have those positive and strong relationships in your life, by doing the things you love, you’re more likely to find others you’ll click with through similar interests.
5. Looking after yourself: You probably hear it all the time but looking after your body is a really great way to look after all aspects of your life. Eating a nourishing meal, getting some exercise in and getting 6-8 hours sleep will enhance your ability to function well and help you to tackle any challenges thrown your way. Make sure you take time to relax and reflect on what is going on for yourself.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.