What is it to be resilient? | Coping with Healthy Behaviours
I wanted to share some recent work I did with a group of colleagues on well-being and coping with healthy behaviours and share some of the key tips that came up on what you can do for yourselves to look after your well-being and develop strategies to be the best you can be.
A bit of context.
Our aim was to facilitate a supportive and confidential space to explore issues and concerns that
arise for the group in their various roles and to share with each other what and how to
manage using healthy behaviours and strategies to support themselves and each other. It was timely as it was 3 years since the pandemic started, which for many people heralded the first time they’d worked from home. Now, returning to normality, we’ve found our working lives are not quite the same. We’ve also become more self-aware about the
importance of looking after ourselves keeping an eye on our mental health and well-being
as well those around us, whether at work or our personal lives.
One of the things we asked the group in our workshops was, what are you like when you’re
at your best and what are you like when you’re at your worst and what can you do, to
support your well-being and resilience, as individuals and together? We asked them to
explore stories about their experiences of what’s it like working under pressure and how do
you cope with challenges where resilience and well-being is tested. We gave permission for
a variety of responses and triggers and worked through these as a process of normalisation
using discussion and reflection.
We put together 3 workshops around the following themes:
Building resilience and reflecting on a shared experience
Sense making with peers. Coping in a healthy way, spotting the signs, and
Coping in a healthy way, exploring the questions what will I/we see when I am at my best? and What will I/we see when I am at my worst? And then asking, what can I do? what can we do? And what can others do?
What resources are needed to support healthy behaviours.
We started by considering what we mean by resilience, and how do we build resilience?
The Cambridge dictionary defines resilience as “…the ability of a substance to return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched or pressed”; “…the ability to be happy, successful, etc., again after something “bad” or “challenging” has happened”.
Resilience is about how we cope under pressure, with setbacks or difficulties, how we
maintain our emotional health, and manage our stresses to allow us that to continue to be the best we can be whether at work or home or at play we can ensure that our life has
balance we are healthy and can manage when challenged.
9 tips for coping with healthy behaviours, and how best to look after yourself.
These are the key tips our group came up for supporting their well-being:
The way you look after yourself. It can be practices supporting your physical self, looking after your body’s health, your mental health, such as being mindful to help ease stress, build awareness and boost mood, and your emotional well-being such as nurturing our connections with those who are important to us.
Doing what works for you
Use what you have in place and already works. Give yourself permission to prioritise this. Be self-compassionate and kind to yourself by staying in contact with how you feel. Having self-compassion will help you to be resilient and sustain your work. Check in with yourself regularly.
To a trusted friend or colleague, or another support person like co-worker, a mentor, coach, or your manager. Talking to someone can really help to lessen the burden.
Foster supportive relationships
Regularly check in with your colleagues/ friends and offer support when it’s needed – whether it’s simply a listening ear. This helps us feel secure and can reduce feelings of stress. Helping and supporting others can have a positive effect on well-being so actively playing a part in supporting your colleagues/ friends can give you both a boost.
Taking the time to listen to your colleagues and friends lets them know that you value what they have to say and, importantly, gives them the space to come up with their own solutions and conclusions. Learn to listen to problems instead of fixing them.
Make sure you rest and relax. It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to improving learning and memory function. Have some time with no goals e.g., taking naps, watching clouds, lying on the beach, develop a wise mind—mindfulness, meditative practice. Find a way to escape physically and/or mentally – give yourself permission to prioritise this e.g., reading, days off, holidays, walks, seeing friends. Honour your scheduled breaks and annual leave.
Have fun and do things that make you laugh e.g., playing with children or your pets, creative activities, watching a favourite comedy. The idea of been proactive about having fun can seem counter intuitive. It’s not so easy to get home from work and think ‘right, it’s time to have fun’, especially if you’re tired and a bit stressed. However, scheduling in a ‘fun’ activity – something different from that list of things you must do (gym/housework/haircut). Something that lights you up and smile. Making dates gives you something to look forward to and makes the tedious
or difficult daily tasks more bearable.
Focus on your purpose and what you are achieving
Have a plan for who you will ask for help if you need it and pay attention to the factors that can develop your resilience. Be realistic about what can be accomplished.
Where and how we use our workspaces
For many of us remote working is becoming normal as is hybrid working, that combination of working from home and going to the physical office are now more common. Many recognise working remotely is more productive, but this also brings some unintended pressures of working more intensively, a feeling to keep on working, or just do one more task. One of the key messages when working in these new ways is to ensure your workspace is conducive to wellbeing, make sure you build in boundaries to delineate when working from home, take breaks, avoiding starting early and finishing late. Find ways to separate the workday from the home life and switch your activity and your brain away from work. Go for a walk, create a separate space. Be kind and supportive to yourself and those most important to you---- make sure to celebrate achievements, take time out. Think about what is important and prioritise that. Set yourself boundaries. Do the things that matter.
Make time for reflection
Whatever you/we do, our mental wellbeing and health should always be a priority. Using a wellness action plan like the one used in our sessions can support in coping in a healthy way.
It asks questions about what affects our wellness. It helps to reflect on what keeps us well and encourages us to be as specific as possible, to think about what we can do to overcome challenges and who can help us with that. These sessions on coping with healthy behaviours can work equally well with groups/ teams and in 1-2-1 coaching settings. The sessions are safe, mindful, compassionate, and exploratory.
If you feel you would benefit from seeing a life coach or would like to know more about this piece of work and how it might work for you or those you are working with, then please do get in touch.
- Wesley Powley-Baker