Resilience buds coming out

Resilience during coronavirus

Resilience is more important than ever, now that we are almost in the 6th month of social distancing and all the fallout after the coronavirus pandemic. It has been a time to pause and to take stock of where we are in our life.

This blog focuses on how to stay positive, despite the pandemic. The four sources model of resilience (which I have taken and adapted from Creative Career Coaching by Liane Hambly and Ciara Bomford). This book talks about these four elements that are sources of resilience:

  • Physical – e.g. good health, exercise, adequate sleep, eating well, safe housing etc
  • Intellectual – ability to solve problems, reframe events, change negative thought patterns, work out contingency plans etc
  • Emotional – managing emotions, having a sense of optimism, focusing on what can be controlled, a good support network etc
  • Spiritual (or purpose) – having a sense of deep purpose, being part of a community with shared values, opportunity to be in nature etc

These four sources of resilience can also be thought of as sources of energy (I wrote about this previously in a blog entitled ‘Looking after your energy levels’).

Definitions of career resilience

To gain career resilience will mean you can enjoy lower stress, more confidence and better mental health. Here are some definitions of career resilience:

  • Renewal after adversity
  • To get up after falling, or, after suffering adverse circumstances, to bounce back stronger than before
  • Bending, but not breaking

Applying the four sources resilience model in times of coronavirus

  • If you are going through a tough time in your job or your business. You are going to have to motivate yourself though these hard times. Which of the above four sources then you best tap into? Can you identify where you are low in energy? If, for example, this could be on the emotional side. Therefore, practising self-care and being kind to yourself will be important. This will be as well as getting support from your partner, friends, family members and community. If you are having negative thoughts, then it may be that you need to take notice of these. You should therefore be aware of any thinking traps that you may be falling into.
  • If due to coronavirus you have been laid off, you will want to try to build up your resilience as much as possible. Beware of the stages you will be going through. I talk about this in an earlier blog. Being as positive as possible and trying to deal with the change you are undergoing will be key as you will need to be applying your skills and talents to finding a new role.
  • If you found the restrictions on travelling difficult and/or still don’t want to take the risk of using public transport. You may also be far from family and feel isolated. Almost everyone has been suffering in this way. Again, try to focus on the positive, this won’t go on forever and there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

Thriving v just surviving:

Below I talk about a map that shows how you could be feeling if you have high energy and the positives and negatives of this. I also look at this from the perspective of thriving, as well as just surviving.

High energy/low energy model

Having low energy does not also have to be negative. On the thriving side of having low energy can be the serene, calm you, that sees the bigger picture and is more reflective.

The aim of the diagram is to highlight how we can raise awareness of where we are in our energy levels. With an aim to try to keep ourselves in the thriving side of the picture.

Reducing stress

I mentioned lower stress levels, as an aspect that is a result of having greater careers resilience earlier on in this article.

There is also a biochemical aspect to stress:

  • reducing cortisol
  • increasing serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin (the happy chemicals).

Much of this biochemical response falls within the ‘physical’ source of resilience e.g. getting enough sleep, exercise, taking breaks.

The ‘intellectual’ source also can help and examples of this are: getting into your zone of optimal performance (i.e. getting the right challenge for the brain and then having proper breaks). Another way of describing this is getting into a creative ‘flow’. You can try to practice positive thinking as much as possible. If something seems overwhelming you can try breaking down tasks, so you get a ‘reward’ dopamine hit for ticking things off your to do list.

You can tap into the ‘emotional’ source e.g. If you are managing a tricky situation, often you may go into fight, flight and freeze mode. If you realise this, then focusing on the here and now will be extremely helpful: breathing deeply, with a focus on relaxing your posture. You can specifically increase your dopamine levels by – listening or dancing to music, exercising, as well as, rewarding yourself for small successes.

Being outdoors, especially in green space taps into the ‘spiritual/purpose’ source of resilience and that will also increase your dopamine levels.



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