Today is World Suicide Prevention Day – an appropriate time to think about how we are looking after ourselves and each other right now, and how resilient we feel.
Have you found yourself (more than usually, on occasion, or more often) off-balance or overwhelmed this year as a result of life events that you may (or may not) have anticipated – plus, on top of all of that, everything we’ve all been dealing with/are still facing to do with covid-19?
I know I have, and that it’s also true for many people I know, personally and professionally.
How do you rate your own resilience amongst all this? Are you the ‘Weeble that wobbles but doesn’t fall down’ (maybe I’m showing my age here with this example…?). Or are you worried that you might actually fall down?
Do you think, maybe, that what you need to do to stay grounded – or maybe just to survive – has changed from what it may have been last year?
Is it, perhaps, about finding a (better) way to live with (more) uncertainty than you’ve historically been used to?
Or managing/reducing your expectations of yourself, others, and life in general right now?
Developing new/different/temporary/experimental habits, perhaps?
Finding new/different meaning in life – or at least, in your day-to-day activities?
Or might you need some (professional or other) help to navigate these stormy waters? There’s no shame in needing help – we all need it sometimes.
And there are also things we can do to help ourselves:
There’s a short BBC video I like on resilience (just 5 minutes long): click here which acknowledges that each day can sometimes feel like a struggle and suggests 3 tips to build personal resilience:
- Understand that suffering is a part of life – tough situations will happen
- Tune into the good – try not to get sucked into just the negatives
- Ask yourself (re what you’re doing or thinking right now): “Is this helping or harming me?” – and be prepared to seek help if you need it
I read Alastair Campbell’s new book ‘Living Better’ last weekend in which he writes about his experience of long-term depression which might resonate with you if you are one of the many people dealing with similar issues. He’s pragmatic and realistic about the ongoing nature of his condition and rates his moods in a way that helps him anticipate when things are going in the wrong direction as well as sharing his own tips for staying grounded and resilient.
Some of us, even if we’re finding life hard (or harder than usual right now), are also seeing the current disruption as a catalyst for change. I’ve written about this before – see my earlier blogs: Disrupted lives – what next? and Coming out of lockdown – easy or confusing?
And I’ve recently come across a podcast you might like: ‘Finding Joy and Resilience in the Face of Uncertainty’ by Caroline Webb on The Hive – this one’s a bit longer (just under an hour) and the themes that came through for me from this and my own thoughts as I listened were:
- Focusing on what is certain rather than what isn’t can help us feel better
- Plus what we can control rather than what we can’t
- And our strengths
- Focusing a bit more on ‘being’ vs ‘doing’ and ‘meaning’ rather than ‘achievement’
- Accepting that we will always have bad days and better days – it’s part of being human
- And that learning to name our emotions can be part of the path towards accepting them
- Paying attention to/looking for/finding the joy – what is good in the day/the moment – often these can be really simple things/activities/pleasures – a tree swaying in the wind, a good cup of coffee, a good stretch of the body
- Being helpful to others helps us feel good, too
That’s a good note on which to end, I think, for today.
Maybe find someone that you can help: pay them a compliment, ask them how they are (and really listen to the answer), or offer them something else they would appreciate to lift their spirits/let them know you care?