Sonya Furlong

The Art of Resilience in Times of Change

How are you feeling?  Probably a mix of “I got this!” to “I’m in turmoil, it’s horrible!”  It’s ok.  You’re allowed to have your ups and downs, you’re human.

We all have 6 core needs that need to be met every day:  Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, Growth and Contribution.  These core needs are based on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs and adapted by Tony Robbins.

Right now, our need for Certainty is not being met.  Remember these core needs need to be met every single day for each and every person, and right now we have no Certainty.

People are losing jobs and are not sure how they are going to put food on the table and keep a roof over their families’ heads. People are unsure what the government is going to say next, what new restrictions are going to be introduced.  People are unsure about what food is going to be available in the supermarket and if they will EVER see toilet paper again on the shelves!

People are unsure if they are going to catch coronavirus, or if someone they love will, and every sore throat sends them into a panic.  People are unsure how they are going to continue coping with home-schooling, and if their children are going to have to repeat a year.

Staying at home can make people feel lonely, claustrophobic, isolated and low in energy.

People are shocked and distressed by stories of cruelty to Chinese people, bats being killed and pets being dumped.  These are uncertain times, and that doesn’t sit well with anyone.

What do we do about this? While it’s ok to feel uncertain, it’s not ok to stay in negative emotion for too long, as that affects both your mental and physical wellbeing.  It affects the way you show up in the world and your relationships with others. This is the time to dig deep and develop resilience.

What is resilience?  Resilience is described as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

If we were ever in difficult times, this is it, so how do we recover quickly? Here are my tips:

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

There is a whole lot of craziness that is out of our control at the moment, such as the list I mentioned above.  But focusing on the negative, what is not in our control, only leads to overwhelm, anxiety and discomfort.  Instead, focus on everything you do have in your control.  Here’s a few things that are in your control every day:

Your routines.

Your external daily structure may be missing right now, so count on yourself to:

  • Get up around the same time every day, even if you don’t have to be at work or school.
  • Go to bed around the same time every night. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, this allows the body to fight illness and keep your immune system strong.
  • Shower every day. Get out of your pyjamas and dress in clean clothes.
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day. This will keep your immune system strong and your digestive system working smoothly.
  • Exercise, even a little, every day. Go for a walk, do a yoga class online, or put on some music and dance around the house.  More on this in a moment.

Find your happy place.

There are less external distractions now with all live events and socialising limited.  So, it’s more important than ever to cultivate our inner wellbeing.

Believe it or not, your emotional state is more in control than you may realise.  By cultivating a grateful, optimistic and hopeful attitude, with practice, you can turn your life around.  Dr Martin Seligman, known as the founder of Positive Psychology, says we can retrain our brains to feel happier with a few simple techniques.  He suggests every day we:

  • Write down 3 things that went well that day.
  • Write an explanation as to why each of those went well.

When we focus on what is good in our life and why, we get in the habit of seeking out the positives and it becomes an automatic part of our daily thoughts.

Here’s some more tips:

  1. Music, Exercise and Laughter.
    Research proves these 3 things promote a positive shift in our emotional state, so use them every day! It is so easy to put on some music and dance around and be silly and have a good laugh.  Kids love this too.
  2. Meditation.
    Whenever you want to relax, make it a meditation date.  There are plenty of free meditations online, I love the Insight Timer app, to guide you into blissful rest.
  3. Digital Detox.
    As if we weren’t on our screens enough before, now we need to do all our socialising, work meetings and study with the screen as well.  Staring at the screen all day is bad for posture and eye strain, it makes it hard to switch off mentally and wind down, and all those WIFI waves are not doing us any good either.  So set yourself a time when you are going to turn your phone off each night, or even better, turn off the whole WIFI in your home every night.  Just one screen-free night a week is so relaxing and nourishing.  Try it.
  4. Personal Connection.
    Connection is another one of our 6 Core Needs and it is essential to our happiness.  Every day I aim to ring at least one friend to check in on them to see how they are.  This current situation is a perfect time to bring this personal connection to the forefront of our lives.
  5. Ask for help.
    Some days you are feeling strong and are able to help others.  But sometimes, you need to lean on a friend or loved one.  Put away your pride and reach out and ask for help.  We need to prioritise our mental health right now, so if you are doing it tough and can’t see a way out, please reach out.

I hope you find a couple of tips in here to make your day a bit brighter, more certain and more connected.  Whenever times are tough, I like to remember that “this too shall pass”.  Life will go back to normal, sooner or later, and we will be all the more resilient to handle anything life throws at all.

Please reach out if ever you want to speak with me.

Namaste and God bless.

Sonya

Makeup Artist: Lee-Anne Mendel
Photographer: Katherine Millard

Sonya Furlong

Life coach, Therapist, Meditation Coach, and Trainer of NLP & Matrix Therapies

Centre for Life Therapies
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