What does it mean do be resilient? It means having the capacity to bounce back from a challenging situation. It means not just powering through some stressor, but actually getting through with the same amount of mental and physical energy you had before all hell broke loose.
So, how do we know if we’re ‘resilient’? Well, since the issues are in our tissues, y’all; resilience can first be noticed by how our bodies feel. Stress is felt all over the goddamn place, right? Headaches, back aches, shoulder aches, sweaty palms, racing heart.
This is our body in fight or flight mode, ready to attack or run until we can run no more, safely out of danger’s way. It’s nature, our bodies doing what they’ve done since saber tooth tigers threatened our humble cave dwellings.
We all need a little stress in our lives. And thanks goodness, because Lord knows we’re going to keep experiencing it. There’s an optimal amount that sets us up to feel challenged and purposeful as opposed to completely overwhelmed and panicked. But managing to stay at that optimal point at all times is pretty unrealistic. Especially when colleagues pats on the back when we ‘yes I’ll do it’ at every staff meeting. That kind of positive reinforcement, though, isn’t sustaining. A pat on the back won’t fuel us through til dinner or relax us enough at night so we can get some goddamn sleep already.
|Juju's going cross-eyed and angry. So much work, so many loud phone conversations .|
The go-go-go lifestyle is all sorts of problematic. Physiologically, our bodies and our minds all but shut down after a stretch of overdoing it.
But we’ve been living this way for so long. Surely it can’t be all that bad. Well, let me tell you this: a depleted system, your body’s battery, leads you vulnerable to all of this…
Low immune function
Increased emotional fear/panic
Decreased cognition/problem solving
Increased social isolation
Renewing the juice in our batteries reverses all of this symptoms. Not only are we able to think clearly, we’re able to actually follow through with the plan that our mind comes up with. We’re less susceptible to depression or depressive ‘fuck-it’ thinking. The absolutely totally ridiculous hard part is the act of changing from the stuckness of depletion to the healthfulness of renewal.
If we’re depleted and can’t think straight, how do we get out from under? How do we re-juice enough to run or fight the tiger?
|Juju grabs a snack cause she's hungry and needs some life juice.|
YOU JUST DO IT. During my times of greatest despair and greatest ‘stuckness’ there came a point where I just had to change what I was doing. I just had to make that pivot. What came first was the acknowledgement and the self-awareness that I was depleted, that I couldn’t go on living how I was living, and that nothing changes if nothing changes.
|Juju takes a moment to check-in with herself|
The act of self-witnessing is in and of itself an act of self-care and stress-management.
Scan your mind and body. Take a moment – when you feel that head ache or heart rate increase – to see how your mind is thinking. When was the last time you ate? When was the last time you took a deep breath, chatted with a supportive friend? Where is the depletion coming from? Renewing those batteries will increase your resilience. And increasing your resilience? Well, that is a bit of a Shangri La for your sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Every time you’re able to manage a situation, thinking and feel and communicate with a sense of pride, you’re putting juice in your battery; heart, mind and soul.