Mental Health Training

Covid-19: Resilience in Adversity, by Jane McNeice

Posted by on 19 Mar, 2020 in Mental Health |

Covid-19: Resilience in Adversity, by Jane McNeice

Well I have to say that when I sat down and put together the March e-news in late February, I didn’t for a moment think that my next bulletin would relate solely to a virus, Covid-19 Coronavirus no less! What a difference a month can make, but that gives me hope too…

I’m hoping that out of this adversity can come better things, among other things more resilience. But we don’t just need to be resilient, we need to be flexibly Resilient.

For those of you that have attended our Strengthening Personal Resilience programme developed by Dr Derek Mowbray, you will recall that Resilience is not a coping mechanism, but rather an attitude, an attitude to the level of control that we may or may not feel we have. In the case of Covid-19 Coronavirus we may feel very out of control but there are still things we can do to improve our Resilience and to help us to feel more in control.

In the coming weeks and months we may have to work hard to chose the right attitude for maximum Resilience. The key ingredients of Resilience, as illustrated in Dr Derek Mowbray’s Resilience Development Framework, include things like self-awareness, determination, vision, self-confidence, organisation, problem solving,  interaction, and relationships. With these in mind, we offer the following ‘Tips for staying Resilient’ during these unprecedented times we are facing:

  • Self-awareness – Take time to reflect, maybe write down how you are feeling, or have some way of expressing it in a healthy way, perhaps through art and creativity. You can always share your experiences with us at Mind Matters in the Mind Matters blog. I’m currently documenting my own experiences of Covid-19 to help me to cope with the anxiety, so will share this in the blog in the coming weeks.
  • Determination – Don’t lose who you are during this time: be true to yourself, and maintain your values and beliefs. If you feel strongly about trust, integrity, kindness, generosity, etc, you can still feel strongly about these and stay true to them. You can still be kind to both yourself and others, even in times of adversity.
  • Vision – Keep in mind your long term plans or goals, but use the extra time to make any small steps you can. If you don’t have a plan for the future, it’s a good time to think about one. It’s an opportunity to take stock and reflect on what is most important to us, and what we want from our lives. It’s still okay to plan for the future. Whilst Covid-19 may take some time to work it’s path, there will be a time beyond it which we can look forward to.
  • Self-confidence – self-confidence is about facing fears. Many of us will be facing a lot of our fears right now. It’s still important to step outside of our comfort zone during this time, because that’s were we find growth. We still need to face the fear. A good related read during this time is Susan Jeffers’ book ‘Feel the Fear & do it Anyway’
  • Organisation – Maintain some organisation and have a plan for your day. Your plan may not be the one you had envisaged a few weeks ago, but nevertheless having structure to your day is important. Many of us will be working from home, and attempting to home school our children as well. It’s good to get out of bed at the same time, and set out a timetable for your day, just like you would if you were going to your place of work. And remember to schedule a break from work in there too! Having a work plan will help you to still give meaning to your leisure activities e.g. watching TV, board games, reading. These things are fun, but can lose their pleasure when they become the only activity.
  • Problem solving – Keep your brain occupied: quizzes, puzzles, or maybe learning something new with the extra time you will have. What was that thing you never had time to do that you now might be able to? Okay, it’s most likely we will have some restrictions placed on our spatial mobility in the coming days/weeks, but there’s indoor learning that can still take place. Could you start learning a new language via an on-line course, learn calligraphy, master a Rubix Cube!
  • Interaction – For many of us this won’t look like our usual interaction types. It will likely take different modes of communication. Most of us will make use of things like social media, but remember to pick up the phone and talk to others, maybe reach out to someone you haven’t been in contact with for a while, or someone new. Put a note through your neighbour’s door and let them know you are available to talk if they need it, especially if they live alone. Knowing someone is there can really reduce someone’s anxiety and make a huge difference to their day. Remember it’s often the #smallthings that make a big difference.
  • Relationships – Make sure expectations with loved ones and those who live with you are clear both ways. Maintain household rules and expectations, communicate feelings, check in with one another, and make sure alone time needs are met. Introverts will relate here – being around people 24/7 can suffocate us, even when it’s the people we love. Go and sit in the garden, car, or an empty room and have some recharging time, and respect others need for this too.

And importantly, make those around you feel valued and fabulous. Despite the challenges we all face, it’s always possible to BE KIND. Resilience is about feeling good about yourself, and then you are half way there!

The team at Mind Matters wish everyone out there good health and mental wellbeing during these challenging times. We are here if any of you would like to talk and you can contact us in various ways.

Jane McNeice,
Founding Director, Mind Matters