Building Your Resilience With Self-Care

Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, such as when you may be experiencing personal or family issues, a serious health concern, work stress, money worries, or other challenges. One of the key ways to build resilience is to focus on self-care. “Taking care of yourself,” writes the American Psychological Association, “helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.” Here are some ways to take care of yourself to help build your resilience.

Make meaningful connections. Strong ties — to family, friends, co-workers, and community groups — help you find the social and emotional support you need to bounce back from setbacks or disappointments.
• Make time for your closest relationships.
• Talk about what you are going through with others.
• Spend time with like-minded people.

Pay attention to your physical self-care.
• Make exercise a priority.
• Follow a healthy diet.
• Follow good sleep practices.

Reframe how you view problems and challenges. A key element of resilience is your perception of an event, according to the Columbia University psychologist George Bonanno, who has been studying resilience for 25 years.
• Reframe a difficult experience. Instead of saying “I will never get through this,” try, “I will get through this by using the techniques that have helped when I’ve had difficult experiences in the past.”
• Remember that stressful events usually provide opportunities to learn and grow.

Build your emotional resilience.
• Learn from others who are role models of resilience.
• “This too shall pass.” Try to see your situation as temporary, no matter how difficult.
• Try to avoid catastrophic thinking. While it is good to be prepared, it is rare that worst-case scenarios come true.

Give yourself a break from media. Many media-worthy events can be presented in an exaggerated or false manner to attract attention. Unplug for part of each day from all your sources of media and news.

Keep your life simple. Simplifying your life is especially important during stressful times.
• Simplify your routines and set limits to protect your time.
• Make time for simple pleasures.

Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga — four widely used relaxation techniques that can help improve mental and physical well-being.

The LifeWorks program also provides a network of counselors who can offer you in-person support. The service is free and available 24/7, whenever you need it, and it’s confidential. No one at work or at home will be told that you’re using the service. You can also find online resources at www.lifeworks.com including

Call LifeWorks at 888-267-8126 or visit www.lifeworks.com (AAA members have login access).

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