A palm tree in a storm

Practical ways to build resilience during difficult times

Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

Nelson Mandela

Life is unpredictable. We are all fully aware of that right now. 

I usually write about career change and how to transition or shift to another career. 

After speaking with clients recently about uncertainty regarding their jobs, stuck at home waiting for news from their companies due to the global crisis, I decided to share some practical ways to build resilience.

This is to help rebuild confidence about the future and manage your emotions during changing and difficult times. 

These practical exercises can be applied in any challenging situation such as loss of a job, business being at risk, re-entering the workforce after a long period of sickness or unemployment. 

The aim is to bring you awareness and a methodology so that you can adapt to your needs and acquire new ways of thinking that give you resilience against adversity.

Furthermore, these exercises can help you to find inspiration, motivation and ways forward for yourself, your career or your business. Feel free to share them with others who may be struggling right now.

Build resilience with structured journaling

I know that I have learned a lot about myself during the past month and I am grateful to be where I am today. Self-reflection exercises are an essential part of what I do to keep a healthy mental attitude and keep moving forward with clarity.

When was the last time you asked yourself how you feel?

Journalling is a great way to cut through anxiety and invoke clarity. When you do it regularly in a structured way, you’ll gradually build awareness and acquire new ways of thinking that serve you better. Self-reflection and introspection using journaling can produce some amazing results and are essential to planning and moving forward.

I’ve put together four sets of questions to structure your journaling. It’s up to you to choose which sets you answer and how often. The important thing is to make this a regular resilience building activity. 

Resilience Building Journal download

Use this template for your structured journalling.

Set 1

  • What’s bothering me?
  • What do I need?
  • Who can I ask for help?
  • What things could help me?

Set 2

  • What are my thoughts?
  • What makes me think this way?
  • What does it mean?
  • How important are those thoughts?

Set 3

  • What’s bothering me?
  • What type of emotions does that create in me?
  • In which part of my body do I feel them?

Set 4

  • How am I acting?
  • What can I change?
  • What would the benefits be if I change?
  • What happens if I don’t change?

Create your daily resilience practice

Live in the present moment

When we let anxiety about the future take hold, it undermines our resilience. The secret to a healthy mind is to stop ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, by living more in the present. 

It requires practice for sure. Start practicing now and you’ll be building a life-long skill of resilience.

There are things you can do daily to remain calm, stop thinking about the past and worrying about a future – both are things that cannot be controlled. At the same time you will understand what you can control. With reduced stress levels you’re more likely to see a clear way forward.

Here are some activities to include in your daily practice for resilience building:

Breathing and reflection

5-10 minutes

Stop everything and breathe. Observe your thoughts about your current situation. Ask yourself “do these negative thoughts serve me?” If not, ask yourself “how can I switch those thoughts to more helpful/useful ones?”.

Gratitude affirmations

5-10 minutes

Keeping yourself grounded is vital to get through difficult times. Focus on what you do have, and what you can control. Speak out loud affirmations such as, I am healthy, I am alive, I eat, I can breathe, I can walk, I can buy food etc. 

Creative flow

From 20 minutes up to 2 hours

Nothing makes us live in the present moment like losing ourselves in creativity. Break your daily routine with singing, drawing, gardening, cooking…whatever gets you into ‘the zone’.

Connect with someone

15 minutes to an hour

Research by Dr Antonio Bifulco shows that those who find it easiest to bounce back from adversity have someone they trust to confide in. It’s important to make time to maintain relationships with people who will listen to you and support during difficult times.

A daily energiser

10-30 minutes

Shaking yourself out of a negative mood before it gets a grip is a way to build resilience. Look for something that motivates you. It could be exercising for 10 minutes, listening to a song that lifts you up, or calling with that friend who always makes you laugh. 

What will you do every day to build resilience?

In any time of challenge, we all seek clarity and purpose, whilst also taking time to discover our own resilience, flexibility and acceptance in order to ride the storms.

Make a commitment to include resilience building activities into your schedule. Here is a template to help you.

Daily Resilience download

Use this PDF to create your resilience building practice.

Daily practices keep you grounded but be flexible with yourself. It’s normal to have ups and downs. 

None of us will come out from the global crisis the same

Right now, it’s the best time to ask yourself what you really want, understand what’s important to you, what’s not, and to focus on what you value.

If that’s leading you to rethink your career, give me a shout by booking a free discovery session. Don’t wait until the storm ends to take action and gain clarity on where you want to go. Take action now.

Sylvia Nicolas

Sylvia Nicolas
Verified Coach
Verified for professional standards and commitment to clients. Read more Close

Sylvia is a career transition coach. With one-to-one online coaching she helps people discover a new career path and make the practical steps towards it. Email sylvia@snhumanresourcesconsulting.com to find out more or book a free consultation with Sylvia right now.

1 comment

  • Great article, I especially use the ‘PDF to create your resilience building practice’, because it helps me to organise my day like a ‘Plan to action’. Thank you for sharing your tips and boosting us during this particular situation. Hopefully it would end soon 🙂

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