Amidst the challenges and struggles of life, how do we remain optimistic? How do we cope with stress? How do we overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles? We are resilient.

Sometimes we don’t quite feel resilient. Sometimes life or work just “gets” to us and makes us feel overwhelmed. Here are some tools for building your resiliency:

  1. Identify your sources of support! Who are your “go-to” people when you feel lost, afraid, hopeless, angry, or exhausted? Identify someone (a friend, a leader, or a counselor) who knowingly serves as your support person. Make sure this is a partnership and your support person agrees to serve as a support for you in the manner you need. Or, locate a support group – professional, personal, or spiritual. Joining a group filled with other people with similar struggles is a great resiliency booster.
  2. Self-care hand massage exercises that you can do to help unwind and de-stress! Remember to be mindful when you do these exercises. Think about your day or week or month. What were your Rock Star accomplishments? What positive changes might you make moving forward? What do you still need to let go of? Take note, take some deep breaths, and then do your thing!
  3. Physical activity reduces stress! You don’t have to run 45 miles in order to benefit from a reduction in stress. Simply walking more, stretching periodically throughout your day, or having a personal dance party will do wonders!
  4. Try the 3-6 Breathing Exercise. On a slow count of 3, inhale through your nose. Try to feel your breath reach the back of your throat and travel down into your belly. On a slow count of 6, exhale through your nose. Stop and rest for a moment before you inhale your next breath. Do this 5 or more times…..being mindful as you go. Here’s a video from Dr. Anna Baranowsky, of the Traumatology Institute, that demonstrates this technique and explains why it works. 

  5. So often, we go through the motions of life…..our day begins, we get busy, and then it ends. How about if we remember to focus on our 5 senses….let’s start with smell! Paying close attention to the smells around us – from our skin cream, to a burning candle or fireplace, to the cup of coffee we just brewed – brings us into a state of mindfulness. As you recognize smells today, allow your sense of smell to bring you into the present moment. Pause, smell, and reflect.