We’re coming up on an anniversary—one that none of us could have imagined in our most vivid stress dreams: One year of living in a pandemic (for some of us, it’s been even longer).
Yes, we’re tired of this not-so-new normal…of being cooped up, physically distancing, separated from family and friends, the list goes on. But we know that. We’ve heard it. We’re living it every single day.
What’s less talked about? The strength it has taken to get where we are today. We have risen to a herculean challenge, without a choice, and we have stayed resilient.
Parenting, homeschooling, careering all at the same time, in the same space. That’s resilience. Leading a team in a pandemic. That’s resilience. A dozen shifts in a row at the clinic. That’s resilience. We have done it all.
Adversity is inevitable, as we’ve learned during these past 12 months. Resilience is not. We develop it. We practice it. And that’s what we have done—and will continue to do. Don’t give up now. Here are 4 ways to continue to rise to resilience and stand tall right here, right now:
1. Give Some of Your Love Back to Yourself
All that love you give and give? Give some back to yourself, in the form of self-care—and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Self-care comes down to setting aside small amounts of time for yourself to refill your tank, whether it’s enjoying five minutes alone in the morning before everyone else wakes up or closing the bedroom (or even bathroom!) door in the evening and taking 15 minutes for yourself. When we really dig into the reasons why we don’t practice self-care, the barrier typically isn’t a lack of time. It’s our Iceberg beliefs, deep-seated “rules” we make about how we should be in the world, that hold us back. Deep down, we believe that “I shouldn’t prioritize myself,” “I don’t deserve to take care of myself,” or “I should be able to do it all.”
When these thoughts pop up, practice a powerful affirmation around self-love, such as: “I am worthy of self-care. I don’t have to earn it,” or “I can always make time to take care of myself.” This isn’t just lip service; these affirmations actually help rewire our brains to accept these new truths. Secondly, schedule something for you in your life even if it’s tiny. I spent too many years to count never doing anything for myself. Put your oxygen mask on first, as they say, and you will have the energy to serve others.
2. It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Tell me how many times you’ve had this conversation:
- Friend/family member/coworker: “Oh hey, how are you?”
- You: “Good! Everything is good!”
- Reality: “I’m super stressed, worried about everything, and can’t keep all the balls in the air.”
Too often, we don’t allow ourselves to feel difficult emotions. We stuff the worry, stress, and anxiety down, put on a brave face, and keep moving forward. However, when we do that, the negative feelings don’t go away, and we continue to suffer, often silently. We need to give ourselves permission to feel the feels, and hear this: It is okay not to be okay. We aren’t expected to be okay all the time. Let those feelings out.
Pause and take three long, slow deep breaths, coming into the present moment and allowing yourself to feel what’s coming up. Continue to breathe and let those feelings go on the exhale. It should feel like a release. Ride the wave of the emotions and they will recede like the tide once it’s crested. Take it further, and tell those you love that you need more support: Delegate some of the responsibilities that drive the stress and anxiety. For example, I’ve delegated laundry to my husband—permanently. Yes, I’ve lost more than a few shirts in the process, but I no longer have that on my list. Even if you don’t have a partner, you may be able to automate more in your life, like bill paying and groceries. What can you take off your plate, even if you have to cede some control or get creative about it? Nothing will change if we don’t change.
3. Unplan It
One way we deal when we’re overwhelmed: We lean in to control. It makes sense. If we schedule everything and hold tight, maybe, just maybe, we can make it all work. It feels like the only way to keep it together. However, as 2020 demonstrated so powerfully, we do not have a large measure of control over what happens to us, or in the world. And letting go of some of the need to control, push, and hold tight can not only be incredibly freeing—like a heavy weight lifted from your shoulders—it can also make space for even more supportive or directive things to come into your life.
Right now, think of one thing you can control in your life, do it—and let go of the rest. Keep coming back to this activity in your mind when that drive to control comes up. The “letting go of the rest” is the hard part, of course. But think of it this way: Things will work out, whether you push, worry, and hold them tight or not. Ultimately, this lesson is about getting comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty. And once we can do that, we can let go.
4. Lean into Your Strengths
We don’t need to be perfect at everything. We know rationally that it’s impossible, yet we still expect it of ourselves. Perfectionism is a disease and it’s widespread: In fact, 55 percent of our meQuilibrium population cites the statement “I should get everything right” as their strongest limiting belief. Instead of trying to be perfect, what if you leaned into your strengths and superpowers and totally owned those? That’s where the magic happens.
What lights you up? What are your superpowers?
Finish these sentences:
“It fills my tank to….”
“I’m here to…..”
“I make a difference by….”
When we start on the inside, we build a strong foundation. And that relates to making an impact, fulfilling relationships, purpose, abundance—everything.