Resilience and self-confidence in a pandemic

I had a coaching session this week and slightly unexpectedly we started to talk about resilience and self-confidence. Whilst I feel that I am pretty resilient, I do lack self confidence and have noticed that this has become acute at certain times over the last twelve weeks.

The coaching session gave me an interesting technique about creating mantras based on previous situations I was proud of or had survived which I should repeat daily, and particularly when in stressful situations. We talked through 3 situations I was proud of or I had handled and then I later produced a set of mantras that highlighted for me the essence of that situation. I have written this out on a post-it and it in a place I can easily see on my desk. Working from the same location all the time is rather novel for me. I am used to be a nomadic worker – working part time and from various locations, even when in the office I have so little time at my desk and my days are so varied that I do not really have rituals and routines around me. I am quite enjoying being in one place and able to set up my working environment to suit me. I have also written out my priorities on a post-it to remind me what I need to be working on at the moment, although these do need refinement I feel.

I can see how small rituals and routines can help provide structure and increase resilience and motivation at this time. For me there is also an inherent contradiction with this in that I also get “itchy feet” feeling like every day is the same. Keeping time diaries helps me realise that every day is certainly not the same and I made a commitment last weekend to actively do something different – going on a socially distant walk with a friend – to break the weekend “ennui”. We also did a family walk in the forest too.

I think this will also feed into my self confidence as I have felt a bit lost this week, like I can’t offer the children anything else except screens as an antidote to boredom and that there is no end to this. But connecting with friends and taking some time to draw up a list of summer “fun” as well as creating some new routines, such as family bike rides etc has helped. Reflecting back to the beginning of the pandemic we started with such grand plans but I realise it is ridiculously hard to sustain these through 12 weeks! And we need variety. My new “routines” will reflect a more realistic sense of time and “normality”, so we’re going to do four weeks of freewheeling family bike rides for example. This will be more manageable. This week has reminded me that although things seems the same, in fact, every day and week is subtly different and I do have the skills to enact change and respond to the situation we are in positively.

So, a few points to finish…

  • Small rituals and routines can create a sense of control, normality and also progress
  • Build in new activities but limit them, so review them after a period of time
  • Keeping time diaries helps you see how things have changed or reflective journals
  • Remember situations you have overcome or been proud of, this can help build resilience and remind you that this phase too “shall pass”.

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