To say this past year has been full of challenges, would be an understatement. Recently we have been faced with the changing plans for hybrid and virtual schooling, fluctuating restrictions due to COVID-19, and a holiday season that will be limited in many ways.
In times of uncertainty and stress, it is common to experience a range of strong emotions like defeat, panic, hopelessness, and even anger. These are all very natural and valid emotional reactions to an incredibly difficult time. Fortunately, there are a range of coping strategies to help manage these feelings and challenges.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. We may find it hard to see our resilience in these times. Even if this feels like the hardest of times, it is strengthening our resilience for future challenges. We can also be grateful for the lessons we learn and the strength we develop by overcoming hard times. Recognition of our strength and resilience are a good starting point for us to develop a mindset of gratefulness.
Try writing down those lessons, things, people, and circumstances in your life that you're thankful for (no matter how small it seems!) When we make a daily list of gratitude we will find ourselves seeking this gratitude, taking note of more and more things to be grateful for in our daily lives.
It may also be helpful to focus on the things within our daily lives that remain in our control - setting a routine to follow, engaging in regular self-care, and maintaining a mindfulness practice. All of these strategies allow us to be grounded in the moment, promote health and well-being, and manage stressful moments.
We can often find the ability within ourselves to cope with difficult circumstances when we can see an end, knowing there’s a way out. When we know this is temporary, we find it easier to tolerate the stress for the short term. However, when overwhelmed with emotions, it can seem like these feelings will last forever. If we find ourselves wondering how we will ever cope, it's important to ground ourselves. Place your hand on your chest to feel it rise and fall, close your eyes, and remind yourself that this will pass. We can get through this.