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Resilience: at Work, at Home

Mona is a veteran writer, educator, and coach. She is presently affiliated with Enrich Magazine and Pressenza


WHO and COVID 19

"Enhancing resilience removes the notion that employees are passive recipients of workplace stress without anything they can do about it.

~ Dr. Sam Harvey, psychiatrist, Black Dog Institute

I am hoping that by the time you may be reading this, COVID will be under control and we’ll have a vaccination that works with no side effects. I’m looking forward to a new, wiser normal life. Sadly, as of this writing, we are still wrestling with the COVID and a possible second strain of the virus. But on the upside, vaccinations are now being distributed.

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has been globally damaging, due to:

  1. Poverty and social turbulence.
  2. The poorest are hardest hit by hunger resulting from lockdowns, trade constraints, and closed borders.
  3. Public health, mental disorders, loss of some 3.3 billion jobs globally, and a lack of alternative job opportunities.
  4. The addition of tens of millions of people globally who are on the verge of sheer deprivation.
  5. The addition of 132 million undernourished people globally, on top of an already existing 690 million by the end of 2020.
  6. Some 1.8 million deaths globally, with the additional strain of dying without the company of loved ones.

Resilience on Job stresses from Covid 19

In this article, we will focus on job stress from COVID 19 and resilience. True, one is lucky to have a job at this time, but job-related work stress on a regular basis is challenging. The goal is to balance one’s coping skills with one’s work stress. Failure to do so will leave one so overwhelmed by unrelenting work stress that one is in danger of incurring mental health issues. The feeling of being overpowered at work and/or at home can leave us withering, sad, and burdened. But resilience can be learned, no matter how bad things are.

Resilience defined

Resilience is the ability to adapt to even the harshest adversities such as serious health issues, painful family relationships, or work-related stress, among others. With resilience, we bounce back quickly, both mentally and emotionally, when life presents us with difficult situations.

Work stress starts on Monday

Monday is the first day of the workweek. Maybe our workload requires daily overtime. Maybe while working overtime, you still deal with your boss talking down to you. Furthermore, in weekly group meetings, some people may bring you down by referring to you in innuendos.

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Resilience in the work climate enhances corporate productivity

Jeremy Gutsche, bestselling author, “Work teams that laugh together produce resilience,” says a positive, inclusive work climate raises production levels and strengthens workforce loyalty. Resilience is present in workplaces where employers work in rhythm with employees.


How can resilience help you?

Resilience involves:

  1. Stress. Find ways to lower your stress levels.
  2. Excelsior. Learn how to deal with stress even when things are at their worst.
  3. Get real. Acknowledge your realities, best exemplified by the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  4. Have a realistic, positive mindset. Even when we feel totally hopeless, there is the true possibility that a silver lining exists. We need to deliberately look for the good things that exist in our situation, no matter how hard they are to find. Note: This isn’t the same thing as magical thinking.
  5. Be flexible. The ability to adapt to change is essential to resilience. We must adapt positively and with optimism that allows us to look past the negatives to discover the positives in our new normal.
  6. Humility. There is false humility and false pride. Both are bad. Humility is assessing oneself and one’s situation realistically, and seeking help when you need it.

Mindset. You can’t turn resilience on or off like a faucet. It is a mindset that is geared to facing life proactively.


What are Resilient People Like:

Studies have shown that resilient people are:

  1. Healthier than others.
  2. Controlled amid psychological discord and tensions.
  3. Adaptable to ordeals, hardships, threats, relationship problems, money problems, miseries, and disasters, even beyond the boundaries of the office.

They are like this because when they are in a tough spot, they:

  1. Habitually scrutinize every emergency they find themselves in, while they’re still in it.
  2. After analyzing the situation, they tap on their positive qualities like fortitude, and seek comfort and help from their supportive network of friends, life coaches, etc.
  3. They learn from their mistakes and from their past experiences.
  4. They apply the lessons they learned by anticipating a painful stressful event.
  5. They bend when they face a new situation. Resilient people see change as an opportunity to grow. They see things that can be altered, and work on them. Also, they accept what can’t be changed, and live with it.
  6. They rally despite strong, emotionally-charged struggles.

They are flexible in terms of cognition, emotions, and behavior when dealing with chronic problems.

Helen Keller, born deaf and without speech, won the American Presidential Medal of Honor. She was a writer, humanitarian, and educator. She fought for women's suffrage, co-founded the American Civil Liberties, and was an advocate for the bline.

Helen Keller, born deaf and without speech, won the American Presidential Medal of Honor. She was a writer, humanitarian, and educator. She fought for women's suffrage, co-founded the American Civil Liberties, and was an advocate for the bline.

Resilience strategies

Before you learn some ways to develop resilience, we must first ask you to make a judgment call. Are you facing a situation of overwhelming stress that is constant and on a daily basis? If you feel that the stress is more than you can bear, you may consider the option of removing yourself from a toxic situation. Otherwise, the constant stress may lead you to incur a mental health issue.

For example, if the source of stress is in your workplace, changing jobs may be a healthier choice for yourself. With a fresh start, you can try to develop resilience with some of these strategies below:

  1. Learn. Maria Konniva, author of “The Confidence Game” cited research indicating that resilience can be taught. People who read more self-help books, especially books directly addressing their personal circumstance, tend to be more resilient than others.
  2. Find support networks. Although it’s not advisable to share office gossip or specialize in it, you do need a support group in your office that will have your back. You can stick to safe gossip, like talking about celebrities or mutual hobbies, and the like. Resilient people seek and accept help from others who care, and reciprocate by helping others when they are down. Belonging to a mutually supportive group helps build resilience, self-confidence, and self-worth. Conversely, isolation leads to struggles at work, and vulnerability to anxiety and depression. You also need support groups outside the office such as family, friends, or professional help
  3. Exercise. This is biological warfare. Dr Sam Harvey, psychiatrist, Black Dog Institute says, "People who are physically fit have a different physiological reaction to stress." Dr. Harvey adds, "The evidence shows people who are more physically active are protected against common mental health problems."
  4. Articulation. Resilient people articulate both internally and externally. They can dwell on their challenges, coping strategies, and viewpoints while listening intently to others.
  5. Curiosity. Resilient people have a sense of amazement and curiosity. They are interested in what might happen, or what has already happened. They are mindful and observant of theirs’ and others’ thoughts and feelings.
  6. Assess your work-life balance. Is your work taking up most of your time? If so, give yourself a break. Set your mind and body free from the pressure of work. Do something that you really enjoy doing. It is very healthy to rest easy.
  7. Think about the good things in your life. Declaring what is going well for you in your life will make you stronger and make you consider your problems to be smaller than what you originally presumed them to be.
  8. Remember your past achievements. When was the last time that you successfully coped, dealt, and resolved a problem? Try to list down all the things that you did that led to this success.
  9. Apply strategies that you used to resolve past problems. Choose the strategies that are most applicable to the problem on hand now. Strategic thinking will raise your morale, boost your tenacity, and empower you so that you can apply your strategy to your current strategy.
  10. Don’t be intimidated by setbacks. You can only master resilience if you have faced huge setbacks and great emotional pain. But bear in mind that we’re all human, and some may naturally bend with adversity but others will break. Determine which type of person you are.
  11. Analyze. What parts of the problem are under your control? Act on them. What parts aren’t under your control? You will have to accept those parts.
  12. Crisis management control. Resilient people take the long view when facing a huge tragedy. For example, they may view a crisis as a milestone. Resilient people see this as a chance to improve, a time to switch strategies and regroup. Although their first response is emotional, they leapfrog over it and land on the mindset of determining solutions.
  13. Break the problem into digestible chunks. After you’ve done that you can also break down your goals accordingly. When your goals are smaller, you can monitor your progress better and work through your challenges bit by bit. Be sure to celebrate every time one of your small goals is reached.
  14. Plan B. Anticipate the possible hindrances and errors that may come your way and focus on your plan B so that you’ll be prepared if obstacles occur.
  15. Focus on confidence. A resilient person knows that when things are hard, it’s important to be self-confident and to build a core of confidence in their team members. They refrain from panic and negativity and focus on staying positive, which is much more useful when facing a crisis.
  16. Creativity is powerful. A study by Colin G. DeYoung and Paul J Silvia, published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, says creativity encourages positivity and unlocks our inner selves to better deal with stress and uncertainty. Daily creativity produces alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with relaxation, mindfulness, and opens our minds to new ideas and experiences.

Know when to disentangle. If you are too overwhelmed by a problem, distance yourself. You deserve some space and besides, it will help you cope better. Space also allows you to see the same thing from a different perspective. With this new perspective, you can find alternative strategies and methods to solve your problem.

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