Practicing Self Care and Resilience

— Written By Christa Gibson
en Español / em Português

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According to the Mayo Clinic, resilience means being able to adapt to life’s misfortunes and setbacks. Building resilience in ourselves and in our families can be challenging in the best of times, but may seem almost impossible in the midst of a global pandemic and national unrest- when we need resilience the most. Never fear, many experts have advice for building resilience and taking care of ourselves that we can- and probably all should-still implement now. I’ve summarized tips from the Mayo Clinic and other experts below.

Connect. Stay-at-home orders are no excuse to emotionally isolate. Reach out to those you love through a phone call or video chat. Continue to build strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends even now.

Make every day meaningful. This can seem like impossible advice right now, but it is doable if we insert meaning into our daily accomplishments or ‘change the narrative’ in our minds. You may not think that getting a meal on the table is an accomplishment, but it is just one example of how you are strengthening and building your family right now- which I’d say is pretty meaningful.

Learn from past experiences.The Mayo Clinic advises that we “Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through rough times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behavior patterns – and guide your future behavior.”

Remain hopeful and look ahead. As my mom always says, ‘This too shall pass’. There are many days ahead to which we can look forward. At the same time, we can anticipate that things will continue to change in our lives and try to make peace with this future change now. The Mayo Clinic advises that accepting and anticipating change makes it easier for us to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.

Take care of yourself.  Take a moment for yourself. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and getting some physical exercise.

Practice self compassion. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings and practice self compassion with yourself. I love this article about why parents need self-compassion, which also includes a few ideas for doing so!

Be open to and aware of your own feelings. Try not to ignore or try to suppress your problems, challenges, thoughts and feelings. Recognize the signs of stress (this great article lays them out for different age groups) and see if you can figure out what needs to be done to alleviate that stressor. Acknowledge challenging thoughts or feelings for what they are and try not to struggle against them. Meditation is a great way to both reduce stress and to practicing noticing our feelings. There are many, many free meditation resources out there, including these guided meditations and a cool app called Liberate, which bills itself as the only meditation app by and for the Black & African Diaspora.

Reach out if you need help. We will all have good days and bad- good spells and bad spells. Please don’t try to weather the big storms alone. Our website has several phone numbers and websites that you can reach out to if you feel the stress is getting to be too much.