2020 was a tough year. Lockdown, home schooling and the continuing effects of COVID both on myself personally and on family and friends was, at times, draining. As the night drew in and restrictions returned it became even harder. And this was without the added pressures of running a business, staff and the ever changing rules of what support was or wasn’t available.
2021 was going to be a better year. We knew the second full lock down would end. We know that, with the increase in the vaccine program and falling R-rates, at some point we would start to see a return to some form of ‘normality’. Then in late January I lost my mum to COVID. It was sudden and took the wind out of my plans for 2021.
I remember a friend asking me How do you continue to bounce back from the near constant stream of challenges or knocks?
Simply put: Resilience
The one thing I’ve learned over the past 12 months is that resilience has been key. Resilience personally, resilience professionally and resilience as a family unit.
But how do you build resilience? Everyone is different for sure but here’s a few tips that have helped (and continue to work) for me over the past year:
1. Learn to relax.
Seems easy doesn’t it but working from home takes away the usual end of day boundaries. Working mornings, evenings and weekends have become the norm. Ever said I’m just checking my email? on a Sunday? Yeah me too. Switch off. Add app restrictions to your delves. Turn off notifications. Walk away. Burnout is a real threat.
2. Find a sense of purpose
Be it professionally or personally that sense of purpose gives you a north star to revert back to, something to check your decisions and choices again. In the face of crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in your recovery.
3. Learn from your mistakes and failures.
We all fail. Look at Richard Branson. Or Steve Jobs. Or even Elon Musk. The difference between then and many others is that they take their failures and use them as a stepping stone for future successes. What’s the point in failing if you are not going to learn from it? When you take away the fear of failure, you become more free to succeed.
4. Maintain perspective.
Zoom in to any picture and you will see the smallest, most insignificant detail (or maybe flaws?). Details are fine. But focus only on that detail too much and you lose sense of the bigger picture. Life is often the same. Stepping back allows you to get perspective.
5. Develop a strong social network
It’s important to have a wide network. Professionally and personally. To have people you can speak to, get support & guidance from and who can help offer you that often needed different perspectives. It may not make the problem go away or solve it but they may be able to offer a view on things you may have missed or are out of your usual wheel house.
6. Give yourself a break
Both actually and mentally. Going for a walk, grabbing some fresh air, getting out of the house… it can make a massive difference.
But equally forgiving yourself, accepting that you are not perfect and rewarding yourself when things do go right are a must.
These are, and continue to be, unprecedented times. Whilst there is light at the end of the tunnel the future still holds a degree of uncertainty. In times like this building and maintaining resilience continues to be a must.
For more on this, from a more psychological perspective, take a look at Dr Ginsburg and the 7 C’s of resilience.