WASHINGTON – We are now in the seventh month of living with Covid-19 in the US. And at this time we cannot say what our “new normal” will be. We have seen positives – people reaching out to help one another. And we have seen negatives – stress and anxiety that come from losing a job and income, from declining health, and from simply not knowing what’s coming next? But as we try to navigate through each day during these challenging times, two personal attributes can often help make our lives easier: resilience and flexibility. In fact, both have become a current necessity.
This reminds me of the following helpful quote:
The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.
Just how resilient and flexible we are can determine the level of stress we can successfully take on (and how we deal with it). These traits can also help determine our likelihood of achieving happiness.
Resilience: It’s not just about getting back up
Most people view resilience as the ability to back from adversity. But it is more than that. Resilience is not only about getting back up. It is also about how long it takes to get back up. Think about your own circumstances. Are you staying down emotionally and physically and letting circumstances take the wind out of your sails? Or are you looking at a situation or circumstance and learning from it to get back on your feet?
Resilience is actually a thinking style. In fact, I view is like a muscle. We aren’t born resilient. We have to build our resilience the same way you build your arm muscles. If you want to get strong and have muscular arms you need to work out consistently and build those muscles.
It’s the same with resilience. You have to develop that muscle so that each time you metaphorically fall down, you need less and less time to get up and bounce back.
Emotional resilience also means not letting other people, situations, or circumstances dominate you to the point where you deplete your energy. Where you spend your time is where you place your energy. So be aware of where you place your thoughts. In fact, check-in with yourself frequently, and make sure you are aware as to whether your thoughts are productive or non-productive.
In short, consciously make your thinking process resilient. For example, when negative situations arise, immediately begin to think of choices and possibilities. A resilient mindset won’t allow you to think there are no available options or choices.
Flexibility is another crucial attribute
Tied into resilience is flexibility. Being flexible allows you to handle change in a way that makes things go more smoothly. Flexibility also means you can see the options that give you choices, resulting in that positive, “go with the flow” attitude. The next time there you encounter a strong wind outside, notice how some trees are flexible and bend while other trees might snap and fall because they aren’t flexible.
My 95-year-old mother is an outstanding example of resilience. No matter how she’s feeling physically, she wakes up each day with a positive attitude to keep moving forward. Her failing health does not deter her. Nor does the fact that she has seen very few people since the Covid pandemic hit.
When I ask her how she can stay so positive, she says you simply do what you have to do to keep pushing ahead. Over time, she has bounced back from many health scares. But she continuously chooses to make the best of life. And believe me, she is no Pollyanna. But she is incredibly resilient!
Coping with today’s “new normal”
Today, our uncertain, Covid-driven future may indicate we will need to adapt to a “new normal” way of life. But hang in there just the same. Stay safe and be well. It is a time for us all to come together, live peacefully and see this moment through.
To learn more about this and other topics, here is a link to my book:
Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Professional Certified Coach, Facilitator, Trainer & Author
Business, Life, Leadership & Career Coaching
Positive Self-Talk/Confidence Strategies, Resilience Techniques & Transition Work
Former ICF Metro DC President
Enhanced C-IQ Coach
Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.