As a passionate advocate of achieving a balanced and enjoyable life, I am constantly amazed by people’s resilience, especially in challenging times. In recent times, my sister, Hilary has died of cancer, at the age of 56, my daughter has been diagnosed with celiac disease and is now recovering after a very tricky emergency appendicitis operation. Compared to other people’s situations, it far from the worst set of circumstances. I do know, however that my own resilience has been tested over recent months.
Reflecting back, I can identify what behaviours and approaches I adopted which helped me deal with these situations. Firstly, I accepted what was happening. Even though at times, I felt an urge to run away or deny to an extent what was happening, I faced into the situations fully. At the point when it became clear, I accepted my sisters imminent death , and began my grieving at that point. This also enabled me to really appreciate the times I had with her and her family.
I also recognised what I could and could not control. I had no control over my sisters cancer or my daughters illness and how the subsequent operation went. What I could control was how I choose to respond to the situations and how my responses could help me cope with the situations I faced.
There is also an aspect of focusing ones attention in the present moment. This means prioritising and understanding that there are limits limit to one’s individual capacity and setting ones boundaries accordingly. Whilst my daughter was ill, my elder son was doing his AS levels and my younger son was sitting his SAT tests. Normally, I would have been very aware and keenly interested in what was happening, but I recognised that the majority of my resources was taken with grieving for my sister and concern about my daughters recovery. Finally and very importantly, I relied on my own support networks, my immediate family, my close friends. I was able to articulate my experience in a trusting and caring environment. I also managed to enjoy myself at times, arranged pleasurable activities so I had these to look forward to as I emerged out of this period of transition.
How do these lessons translate into everyday life with it’s plethora of competing demands and resources. How do you mange your own resilience and well being?
- Firstly, acknowledge and accept your situation, however challenging it might be. Observe it objectively and see what you can and cannot change, what you can and cannot control.
- Secondly understand your needs and boundaries, and if necessary re-establish them. This may require you to be assertive, but in the longer run, it will pay dividends.
- Finally always remember to nurture your support networks and spend time on enjoyable activities. These will sustain you until you emerge out the other side, blinking in the sunlight and stronger and wiser than before.
If you want to truly understand your resilience, how it works and develop it, then please do have a look a the resilience workshop emintell is running on July 19th, here at Stanford house, in the centre of Nottingham.