When I was thinking about what to say in this first story, resilience kept coming to my mind. Storybook Wellness has emerged out of a story of resilience. Let’s face it, 2020 has been dreadful. It has been dreadful for me for reasons in addition to the obvious ones. In January 2020 I left my job of just over 11 years. I didn’t leave because of conflict or big feelings, I just needed to launch and grow and I thought I had found the right place to land and start my next chapter. I was wrong. I don’t like being wrong. I’m terrible at it. But I was and so, I had to stand up, brush myself off and launch again. This time into the unknown. That is scary as hell. I had to stop and look around me and make new choices. I chose Storybook Wellness. Fate is funny that way sometimes. Just when you think you’ve landed on solid ground, you need to leap again, and have faith that you can land and leap and land and leap until you find your footing and can stand strong.
I have always been fascinated by resilience. To me it is like armor, protecting us so our hurts don’t destroy us. As a psychologist, I’ve wanted to know what factors contributed to resilience so I could help my clients build their resiliency. As a parent, I also want to do what I can to help my children grow to be resilient adults. I have been amazed by human resilience as we have traveled down the rapids of racism, injustice, and C-19. We don’t give up. To me that is the beauty of the thing really. That despite all of this pain and suffering we press on and even rise up and fight back. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes renewed and beautiful, we are ready to face another day.
But some of us do it with more success than others. So what is the magic recipe for resilience? The American Psychological Association notes that one key factor in building resilience is building our connections with others. Humans need connection to be healthy and whole. When we face adversity, we are more resilient if we have strong relationships with others with whom we can share our stories and from whom we can receive support. Sometimes when we are faced with trauma or hardship we isolate ourselves. This isolation does not foster resiliency. This is especially difficult during times of social distancing. It is important for us to find our support systems and reach out to them when in need. Strong family relationships are especially important when building resilience in children. Children who feel loved, supported, listened to, and believed by their parents cope much much better with trauma or adversity than children who do not. Children who have strong sibling relationships also have greater resilience. Family relationships are the foundation of resiliency throughout the lifespan.
We can also build resiliency by taking care of ourselves. By making choices to promote wellness in our lives. Things like getting good sleep, eating healthy food, exercise, or staying away from self-medicating with drugs/alcohol. Modeling and implementing a healthy lifestyle for our children and our families will also build their resiliency. We can make these changes one choice at a time, one day at a time, and give ourselves grace when we slip up.
Practicing mindfulness is another way to build resiliency. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is intentional, focused, attention. We can practice mindfulness in many ways. Lately, when I feel overwhelmed, I have taken a moment to sit and close my eyes, and repeat- “Everything is OK right now, everyone you love is alive and is safe. Right now, in this moment, everything is OK.” This mantra has helped me so much in the past couple of months. Mindfulness is a big part of the work I do with both psychotherapy and yoga clients here at Storybook Wellness.
Another important part of Resilience is finding purpose. When we have purpose we are better able to put one foot in front of the other–especially on days where we feel we cannot take another step. Purpose drives us forward.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor E. Frankl
When we embrace that change and find purpose and meaning in it, we are the epitome of resilience, we tear ourselves out of the darkness and grow toward the light. I am blessed to have found my purpose in Storybook Wellness.
I have been raised with the privilege of having parents who always believed me and who allowed me to speak my truths. My mom is one of the strongest and most resilient women I know. I am the oldest of five children and am connected with each of my four siblings in different and special ways. My Grandmother is one of the greatest loves of my life and is always there for me. l have an incredibly loving and supportive husband and four great kids. I have a father-in-law with a heart of gold. My friends and family have supported me throughout this journey. Thank you Mom, Dad, Grandma, Sheila, Paul, Carl, Hillary, Keith, Morgan, Joe, Jenn, Olivia, Odin, Ophelia, and Olver for all your love, understanding, and support in 2020 and beyond. I am eternally grateful and love you all so much.
Thank you all for reading. If it feels good to you, please comment below on what you plan to do this week to build you/your family’s resiliency or any other thoughts/comments on this post.