Building Resilience / Laura Roccaforte

A Leadership Message + Video from Laura Roccaforte, ICAN Faculty Member

Building Resilience During Uncertain Times

The coronavirus has brought significant changes to all of our lives – businesses are closed, we’re sheltering in place, working from home and wondering what our lives will look like when it’s safe to go back to work and life. We may be feeling anxiety about the future; sadness about losing our normal routine and what brought us joy; and we may feel anger about being in this situation at all.

All of those feelings are normal.  We’ve lost the comfort of life as we knew it, and we don’t know what’s next.

The uncertainty of this situation makes it hard to plan for our future and creates a high level of stress. And, our typical ways of de-stressing – whether that’s working out in a gym, watching sports, after work happy hours with co-workers, or hanging out with groups of friends – have come to a halt.

So what can we do to build resilience now and for the future? How do we bounce back and respond to these times with commitment and optimism. Here are four guidelines that we at ICAN believe are essential to recovering from this time in our history.

Manage your feelings and stress
It is important to accept that anxious thoughts and emotions will show up during this time. The same goes for sadness about our loss of regular ways of living, our worry about a lack of supplies, and our loss of control over others behavior. Pushing those emotions away will only make them stronger. So, be mindful – notice your feelings, look at them with curiosity, describe them without judgement and let them go.

Be focused, flexible and find new ways to approach situations
While eating and watching TV may feel like a great escape, be careful of those distractions. Instead, create new routines that connect you to what really matters in life. Stick to a regular schedule for waking up, working, exercising and relaxing. Structure is extremely important right now. This might be a time to learn a new language or teach your kids something you’ve wanted them to learn so they can become more resilient.

Reinvent self-care
Schedule time for self-care each day. It can consist of running or walking outside, meditating and using apps available through your gym for home exercise, and, don’t forget the beauty of nature. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors while maintaining social distance.

Be proactive, grateful and positive
It might help to realize that these difficult times offer avenues for growth and an opportunity to deepen our relationships. Leverage Facetime and Zoom to stay in touch with others. As our pace of life slows down, taking time to enjoy deeper and more heartfelt conversations with family members or friends will probably make for stronger connections going forward

Take a moment to think about what you’re grateful for. In fact, write down 3 things every day – no matter how small or how big – that you appreciate. More and more on social media posts, we’re seeing people post simple joys that matter to them in their lives – toilet paper, groceries, people who love them. In addition to writing down what you’re grateful for, take a moment to write a letter to someone who has helped you in your life. Don’t just mail the letter, call them and read it to them. It will make you both feel better.

This crisis also provides you with a chance to check in with yourself. What brings you meaning and joy now that you’ve had time to get quiet? Has the life you’ve created given you what truly matters to you? As you put the fast pace of your life on hold, where do you find your life purpose?

Know that stress can have positive consequences. People who go through difficult life experiences can emerge with a stronger sense of resilience, renewed relationships and a deeper appreciation of life. If you take the time now to build your resilience, you can come through this living life more fully and purposefully.

Learn more about Laura and her work with ICAN here