I know these days you could probably stand to improve your emotional health.
Every time you flip on the news or scroll Twitter, you are freaking bombarded with headlines about death, and war, and violence, and political turmoil.
It can be a lot to take it. I know it certainly is for me. So often, I find myself needing to unfollow or shut off notifications but to get by.
A key part of your mental health journey is learning to be a little more resilient.
But what does that mean exactly?
Resilience is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”
We all have tough pills to swallow sometimes. For you, that might be needing to have a tough conversation with someone. For others, it might be needing to be careful about how much alcohol they’re consuming. But for me, it has been needing to go back to therapy after about 3 years’ absence from it.
So often we, especially mothers, have this notion that we can do it all. Better yet, we should do it all. I am a major supporter of those with mental illness, as I hope my posts show. And I understand that it is an incredibly hard thing to live with. It wreaks havoc on our mind and heart and body.
But even I get into these phases where I think, Pssh. I got this covered. Self care, shmelf care.
How wrong I have been! My body has basically been free falling into a pit of fatigue and anxiety and being overwhelmed and just plain crankiness. Simply put, I haven’t been coping with this season of life very well.
It is a tough pill to swallow to go back to therapy. So how do you cope with the disappointment that comes with that decision, and turn that into acceptance? How can you handle major changes without totally losing your mind?
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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
Things to consider to be more resilient
If you practice these 3 things on a regular basis, I guarantee you will find yourself clinging on a little tighter to your life raft. Hang in there. You can do it, friend.
Think back to previous successes
Any time you are going through a tough phase, or there is a tough decision to make, think back to a time when you survived a similar circumstance. This probably isn’t the first time you (or even someone close to you) has been through something like this.
How did you get through it the first time? What coping skills did you rely on?
A lot of times our memories are foggy when we live with mental health issues. One thing I like is free association journaling. Just write what comes to mind, without stopping to judge or edit. This can be a great way to unlock memories that you didn’t realize you had.
Figure out who you can lean on for support
For me, heading back to therapy means a few things. First of all, it means talking to my husband about how much it will cost and how to work it into our budget. You have to see which therapists your insurance will cover, and how often you need to (and can afford to) go.
Second, it means arranging childcare for my children while I’m at my appointments. Since these sessions take place during the day, and my husband works a typical 9-5 job, this involves calling upon one of our moms to watch their grandbabies for a couple hours. Luckily they are more than willing to help!
Imagine all possible outcomes
When you are in a tough season of life, think of all the positive things that could come out of it. This is maybe the hardest step of all but it is a really helpful one.
For every negative thought you encounter, how can you put a positive spin on it?
In my case, instead of saying, “Damn, I wish I didn’t need to go back to therapy,” I could say
- Therapy is going to help me cope better with stresses.
- Mental illness is not a sign of weakness, and this will help me be the best version of myself.
- Lots of people go to therapy and have seen great results. This could (and will!) be me.
Click the image above to order a copy of Resilient by Rick Hanson, PhD
How to raise resilient children
Now, it’s time to pass these lessons on to our little (or maybe not so little) ones. Here are some ways you can use 3 steps to teach resilience to your children.
- When they are upset about an accident or mistake, remind them of past successes. (“But remember all those times, you didn’t spill? This is just an accident, and you can do better next time.”)
- Remind them that you are always there to support them. Tell them you are proud of them, but if they ever need you, you are there for them.
- Teach them the power of positive affirmations. If they say something negative, model for them how they can turn it into a positive.
Whatever your situation, you can get through it.
It might not seem like it at the time, but it is possible. Close your eyes and picture a time in the future when you are looking back at the current situation you find yourself in. In 2 or 3 years time, it will just be a distant memory.
If you situation is very dire and traumatic, make sure you connect with a therapist. They will be able to help you work through your issue way better than me.
Tell me in the comments about the last time you needed resilience. How did you get it?