This week I went on a great little course with Stuart Chambers, a trainer and sports coach who teaches resilience and how to be a resilient person. This really struck a chord with me in terms of what do and I have rewritten the AndWhatElse blog to cover resilience as a topic. It always strikes me how meeting someone else helps you to define what you are better.
In a way that’s the effect of coaching and being sociable, your defined and shaped by the people you hang out with (so, chose the right friends that help you be what you want to be, not limit you…).
Anyway, Stuart got me thinking about the different ways you can be resilient, in order to cope with the Ups and Downs of life. I’m an optimist, but change happens, things break, some days it will rain. You need to be ready. (Be prepared…some guy with a very sensible hat for all weathers once said…).
In a way, resilience means readyness – so are you ready?
Ways to be more ready:
- Buy your loo roll in a 12 pack. This might seem like the most unlikely resilience advice and I started with this for obvious comic effect, but seriously get into the mindset of good purchasing habits. My friend Gary Sykes buys huge packs of loo-roll, but he used to work in materials and logistics, so he’s a bit obsessed. Shop resilient. It saves you money and trips to the shops.
- Keep the mota running. So many people drive their car around with the warning light on or worse, park it at home with no fuel left. If you have an emergency and need to travel (a bit like the loo-roll…), you will be glad of it. And, it reduces driving stress and anxiety of whether you will make it to your destination. Expectant parents and Hitmen (allegedly) always have their car fuelled and a bag packed.
- Keep yourself fit. In an emergency or disaster scenario, something bad will happen and you may need to run to save yourself. You don’t need to be doing marathons every week, but imagine there was a fire at your house or you needed to get to the shops quickly (loo-roll – again?…) Like the car scenario, have some spare energy in the tank for emergencies.
- Stay sharp upstairs. Whether it’s doing the crossword, a Sudoku or reading the Ts and Cs on your holiday insurance, find ways to keep yourself alert mentally. Like fitness, the brain responds to regular use. There are plenty of memory or quiz Apps for this or go old school by remembering how a group of items covered up by a tea towel.
- Plans. The adage that no plan survives contact with the enemy may be true, but be aware you won’t survive either without a plan. Fun things to practise planning on include travel and holidays. It’s also worth agreeing a plan for what happens when that elderly relative goes or sudden childcare or pet issues. Although it seems hard to think about these in advance, if you’ve been over the ground once you’ll be more composed for yourself and others when the time comes.
- Calmness. When life gets difficult, it’s easy to get into a rage or become pessimistic or focus inwards. While these are valid reactions to bad stuff, keeping a calm head and returning to a state where you can still function is a valuable skill. Practice can be obtained by gaining more awareness of yourself under pressure/some self observation is needed next time work or homelife pushes your buttons. Calmness reserves can be built, from Yoga, mindfulness, Martial arts or recovering from intense exercise/maintain your focus. Neuro-linguistic work such as NLP or other therapeutic practises to improve self awareness and control is worth exploring.
- Supporters club. When bad things happen, it’s good to know who your friends are. Think about your local and wider network and who you go too when the chips are down. Which of your friends are good listeners, which ones will coach you, which ones will tell you to get a grip. Not everyone will react in the same way, so think about what’s useful to you.
There are many more ways you can be more resilient and build your robustness ahead of difficult times. Don’t forget a sense of humour and think about how you can react positively when life throws you a curve ball. Be ready.