The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “..the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.”
Well, as a COVID-19 survivor, work from home, gainfully employed person, you might say to yourself “I am resilient”.
You are, but here’s the danger.
Given the trends of infection rates over the holidays and expected vaccine distribution timelines, at least the first half of the year is likely to be as disruptive as the last.
Worse still, we’re entering the year ahead with most of our fuel spent on dealing with the last. Now would be a perilous time to let our guards down in hopes of an imminent “return to normal”.
One needs to continue being resilient as cracks start to appear in our work personalities and social lives.
Word of the year: Resilience
“Resilience is the quality that was summoned in us by all the challenges of 2020. The reason ‘resilience’ is my word of the year is because, unlike quarantine and coronavirus and social distancing, resilience is the only one that’s going to be just as relevant when the pandemic is over. It’s the quality that’s going to carry us forward into 2021.”
7 ways to build resilience in the face of stress
COVID-19 wrought fear in its wake, as many have wrestled with worries about their health, safety, financial stability, and an uncertain future. The ongoing isolation has been particularly difficult.
Vinita Mehta, Ph.D., Ed.M., is a clinical psychologist and journalist writes that as we emerge from the pandemic we can expect that many will experience an increase in various psychological conditions, including anxiety, stress, substance abuse, depression, and PTSD.
Craig Polizzi of Binghamton University and his colleagues suggested in a recent paper that we can invoke the “3 C’s” model of resilience, which refers to control, coherence, and connectedness.
1. Control refers to the belief that you have the personal resources you need to meet your goals with things like planning daily activities, checking on loved ones, focusing on getting good sleep, and staying informed about the virus.
2. Coherence speaks to the human drive to make sense and find meaning in the world. Polizzi and his team recommend becoming non-judgmentally aware of the flux of emotions we may feel, like doubt or self-blame. The idea is not to chase away our feelings, but to observe them in a nonreactive manner and then develop an effective response.
3. Connectedness encompasses the fundamental need for social contact and support. Being connected to others after a collective trauma can be one of the most powerful healing factors in recovery.
Other ways to build resilience are through:
4. Gradual stress reduction, starting with something specific and doable, then use the energy you saved to tackle something new.
5. Doing what you love such as looking at beautifully weeded gardens, playing with your toddler, reading a good book, or getting that workout in.
6. Schedule self-care, whether that is going for a walk or getting that extra hour of sleep to cross thinner boundaries when the home is both office and classroom.
7. Keeping things in perspective by accepting that change is unavoidable but that there are also millions that found themselves unemployed. This is a trying time and an extreme example of circumstances that are out of our control.
At work, our collective resilience continues to be shaken to its foundation and is showing serious signs of erosion as a result.
In a recent podcast interview, Salesforce president Bret Taylor notes that when the company polled its global team last June, remote work seemed to be going well, with only 23% of staff indicating they wanted to return to the office. Now, he reveals, that number has risen to 72%.
That’s a drastic change. One of the key culprits behind it is familiar: fatigue driven by endless Zoom calls, which are not only a more taxing medium but also a driver of more work.
Microsoft’s in-house Modern Workplace Transformation Team also reported similar strains on their own work-life balance in a July article for Harvard Business Review.