Theresa Polley
January 26, 2022
August 16, 2023
Self Care

Resilience, unfortunately doesn’t come naturally, but it is the reward for surviving challenges and setbacks. Resilience is learned when you face (and overcome) trauma, adversity and tragedy. It's also a learned response to prolonged stress over time. Sounds a lot like the last two years!

I believe resilience starts with putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward despite what’s going on. Every step forward counts, even if somedays you find yourself at a stand still or even going backwards.

Resilience allows you to keep going, not just in spite of challenges, but because you've faced setbacks and obstacles in the past.

I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it. ~ Maya Angelou

How to Build Resilience

Recognize the situation. Oftentimes we engage in comparative suffering - thinking “I don’t have it as bad as someone else.” Instead of recognizing what you’re going through and how you’re feeling, you reduce it all to nothing. Comparative suffering doesn’t relieve the suffering of that other person, yet it disables you from responding. Allow yourself to see what you're going through without comparing yourself to anyone else.

Allow your emotions. With recognition - comes emotion - allow yourself to express your emotions without judgment. It’s okay to be angry, sad, disappointed and all things in between. A lot of times we like to distract ourselves from what we’re feeling with - a glass of wine, online shopping spree, Netflix binge watching or compulsively checking social media. The thing about distraction - it’s not really a solution - whatever you’re feeling and going through is waiting for you.

Seek support for what you’re feeling. If it's a good friend, a family member or a professional therapist. Talking through what you’re feeling allows you to process your emotions. Journaling is another way to process what you’re feeling. I don’t know about you, but when I’m faced with a difficult situation, conversation or email  it takes me a little while to figure out if I feel good, bad or indifferent. But with journaling, I’m able to process and respond. Without journaling, I react, which never ends well.

Use the power of mindfulness and meditation. These are powerful tools when it comes to interrupting the constant cycle of stress. That non-stop cycle of stress leads to your body being in the fight or flight mode which causes damage to your heart, brain and tissues. Take a mindfulness break by taking several deep breaths or taking a short walk. Start or end your day with a guided meditation that helps to release stress.

Stop your cycle of negative thoughts. Embracing your religious beliefs or your spirituality allows you to focus on the positive instead of the negative.  ending the cycle of negative thoughts. A gratitude list allows you to focus on the good things in your life - a hot shower, a cozy bed, enough food, a loved one, a fur baby. The list goes on. The little things really are everything. 

Laugh - a lot. Sometimes the best way to find relief from the cycle of stress is a good laugh. If it’s a comedy, a funny podcast or book that makes you laugh. Or someone that makes you laugh until you cry. Silliness is my antidote to too much seriousness.

I’ve found one of the best ways to deal with challenging situations is to remember “this too shall pass.” And it always does. The good, the bad and the in-between. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the feeling that things will never get better. But it does. Hang in there until you get to the good stuff.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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