It’s Personal: Tapping into Resilience When Our Lives are Upside-Down

Published on: April 2020

Written by: Melissa DeRoche

How we think and feel personally about what is happening directly affects how we show up every day. In challenging times like these, when the sky seems to be falling, we cannot throw in the towel and give up. It’s the very moment we are called upon to double down on what’s most important and take radical action to reconnect with resilience, kindness and courage.




Human beings are hardwired to resist uncertainty, and therefore we experience greater stress when outcomes are uncertain. Plus our new normal in working in isolation adds a new vulnerability because it compounds feelings of not knowing what is going to happen next which impacts emotional well-being.

We can boost resilience by discovering the ways that will give us the necessary oxygen so we can be present to those we love and we can lead well in our personal and professional lives. Neuroscience studies all show that sleep, nutrition, and exercise are all key wellness components that enrich how we feel. Sleep in particular resets our brain and our body’s health each day. Mindset matters as well. The narrative we are tell ourselves about a given situation has a direct correlation to our emotional and physical well-being. If we are reacting, how we respond from that mental state greatly affects those around us.

Examining those narrative stories helps shift from reactivity to resilience. Ask, “What am I feeling? What story am I telling myself? Is it true? What are the facts? What can I control? What is out of my control? What can I choose that will empower me now?” Take a pause, and breathe deeply. Deep breaths slow the heartbeat, stabilize blood pressure and lower stress. Take time to reflect on our choices and commit to the action that reconnects us to our personal power and resilience.

Most of us are busy and juggling a lot already. Then add a crisis and it’s easy to forget about our own needs. Taking care of ourselves helps us be more creative and resilient. And that is a radical act.

Resilience boosters that help you stay calm and present:

  1. Play: Play is an excellent mood booster. It promotes brain functionality, releases endorphins and improves abilities to plan, organize, relate, and regulate emotions. So goof-off and laugh.
  2. Focus on gratitude: Research says a daily gratitude practice is healthy for the mind and body. It reduces stress, helps you sleep better and gives a well-being boost.
  3. Create a routine: A routine brings a feeling of order and gives a sense of control. Set a few manageable goals as less is more. Choose a schedule tailored to your needs that works for you and your family. If you have kids in the house, plan quality time to build stronger bonds. It makes them feel more secure.
  4. Virtual connection: Reach out to people you care about. Stay close to loved ones. Call up old friends. The more we stay connected the better we will feel.
  5. Keep your mind and body active: Listen to guided meditations, play music, dance, start a new hobby, build something, or create fun workouts. Invite someone to join you.
  6. Limit news consumption: It’s important to stay up to date but limit the amount of time as news negatively impacts your well-being. It’s okay to unplug.
  7. Seek support when you need it: If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to someone you trust. Teleservices are also available for therapy and coaching.
  8. Healthy Habits: Eating right can boost your energy and help you sleep. Take steps to create the right conditions for you to sleep well. Sleep is the ultimate rejuvenator.

And to those who are leading teams, you’ve got double duty. Be kind, be compassionate, practice self-care, and stay-informed. We don’t know what new moments are causing our people stress so it’s important not to assume what is hard for them. Three great questions to ask: How are you doing? What do you need? What could we be doing better? Then listen, deeply.

This disruption is real and the end unknown. Let’s be curious and grant each other grace to be wherever we are and make it okay to feel whatever we feel in the midst of these chaotic times.