I have previously written about why it is so important to build your resilience muscle so that you can deal with the busy, stressful world that we all live in. If you missed that blog you can read it here.
Now that you know what contributes to low resilience and the vital importance of doing something about it, here are 7 simple, yet powerful ways you can strengthen your resilience muscle so that you are not as reactive to all the stressors that you are faced with at work and in life.
1. Better Sleep
We all know that getting a good night sleep can change our worlds. Unfortunately, it can become such a vicious cycle because when we are sleep-deprived it is much harder for us to deal with stress. Our resilience to challenges is lowered when we are tired, hence why finding ways to fall asleep and stay asleep are so crucial. Click to tweet
Action Step #1: Develop a sleep ritual that trains your body and brain that at a particular time each night, it needs to wind down, switch off, and settle into sleep. Be consistent. Do the same ritual every night at the same time.
2. Challenge Your Comfort Zone
When we try to do something that is a little out of our comfort zone, and we succeed, it increases our confidence, gives us a spring in our step, and a boost in our resilience. Each time we try to do something that challenges us a little more, we keep strengthening our resilience.
Action Step #2: Embrace the practice of life-long learning and continue to improve your skills in areas that are out of your comfort zone.
3. Self-Care – Physical & Mental
Taking care of your physical and mental health is a no-brainer when it comes to finding ways to strengthen our resilience muscles. We all know that moving our bodies (whether that is a gentle stretching / yoga practice through to a harder gym workout) helps to improve our mood, enthusiasm and positivity level. These factors directly impact how we perceive our ability to cope with the trials and tribulations of life.
Action Step #3: Walk outside at lunchtime. Go to a park bench and eat your lunch. Leave your phone in your desk drawer. Even a small distance of movement will increase your energy levels, clear the head, and boost your ability to deal with afternoon office ordeals.
4. Strategic Micro-breaks
In this digital world that we live in, it is very hard to get some time-out. We all feel pressured to be ‘on’ all the time and respond immediately to messages, email, social media etc. We have become addicted to our devices and a slave to our notifications.
Learning how to relax and have some digital downtime is one of the greatest skills we can teach ourselves. Click to tweet The long-term payoff of a strategic micro-break plan is that we preserve our energy, become more focused and committed to what we are working on, and save ourselves from burning out.
Action Step #4: Be strict and dedicate time in your day to have a micro-break. Perhaps it is the lunch-time break as stated above in action step #3, or maybe it is just 5mins of quiet time at about 3pm when you have started to feel overwhelmed and tired. Set an alarm each day so you are reminded to gift yourself this energy-boosting break time.
5. Positive Mindset
I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t struggled at some time to manage their mindset. That little voice in our heads can be brutal. Researchers say that it takes three positive statements to soften the pain of a negative one. I actually believe it can take more than that sometimes…depending how resilient you are feeling on the day!
It’s perfectly normal to have self-doubt. In fact, the recent expression of having ‘Imposter Syndrome’ sums up self-doubt very well. Everyone has it and learning how to manage internal dialogue to reframe thoughts, is an impactful way to strengthen your resilience muscle.
Action Step #5: Incorporate activities into your week that make you feel positive and happy. What lights you up? Is it going for a massage? Is it playing team sport? Is it watching stand-up comedy? Is it creating something beautiful or useful? Saturate yourself with all things that result in a positive mindset.
6. Connect and Contribute
Being alone and having feelings of emptiness will quickly spiral you downwards. By surrounding yourself with people who care for you is crucial to strengthening your resilience muscles, because these close relationships can be a saviour during times of stress. Click to tweet Also, if you can find a cause that is close to your heart that you can contribute to with time or resources, you will feel purposeful and validated for the special gifts that you have.
Action Step #6: Contribute – at work (become a mentor to a new staff member); at home (a small act of kindness like making a cup of tea can bring a smile to you and the recipients day); in your community (volunteer for a social cause you believe in).
7. Belly Laughs
Nothing beats having a great big belly laugh. What makes you giggle? Who makes you feel childlike? What brings you joy? Understand what it is that permits you to let go of all the seriousness of adulthood. Laughing helps to dissipate any feelings of stress and anxiety, become more confident, and see the brighter side of life. When we can feel this way we strengthen our belief in ourselves, which in turn builds our resilience muscle.
Action Step #7: If you are feeling down and out, make a conscious effort to find something on YouTube every day that makes you laugh. Click to tweet Maybe this will be funny animal videos, or a comedian that you love, or crazy bloopers. Subscribe to this and watch it every day until you start to find things in your normal schedule that make you laugh.
What Else Can You Do?
When you feel that life or a situation is not going your way, then try and pause, take a breath, and ask yourself all or any of these questions:
- “Even though this is not how I want life to be right now, is there any way in the future that this could be an OK outcome in the future?”
- “How can I turn this situation around?”
- “Who can help me with this?”
- “I know I have done everything possible, but is there anyone in my team who will be able to improve these circumstances?”
Knowing how to strengthen your resilience muscle so you are not as reactive to life’s stressors is a crucial skill that enables us all to get the most out of life. By being in the driving seat of our thoughts and actions, rather than being controlled by them, helps us to deal with the challenges that life throws us. Click to tweet
In his best-selling book, ‘The Resiliency Advantage’, the late Al Siebert wrote, “highly resilient people are flexible, they adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change. Most important, they expect to bounce back and feel confident that they will. They have a knack for creating good luck out of circumstances that many others see as bad luck.”
Take small steps to incorporate each one of the action steps above so you can build your armour and be resilient to stress and change at work……and in life.