P is for Pause

It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum of daily life where we simply move from one task to the next in an unrelenting effort to get everything done. 

Today in terms of personal resilience I want to encourage you to Pause: to take the time to consider how you have fared over the last week; to recognise those things you have done that have strengthened your resilience; and to recommit to making some of them a daily habit.

 In times of high stress, we need to practise habits of high self-care, as there are so many possibilities for having our energy and resources zapped!  So pause and set good habits for your self-care beginning today.

Affirmation: “I am learning the art of pausing often to check in with my wellbeing.”

O is for Open

In terms of personal resilience one of the best things we can do from a wellbeing point of view is be open about (1) how we are today, (2) what we are feeling, and (3) what our hopes are for going forward. 

This degree of openness comes more naturally to some than others.  Some will immediately go into thoughts when we ask them how they are feeling.  The answer to the feeling question is best described in one word. 

In my work with clients I often say of difficult thoughts and feelings that “it is better out than in”, that is, it is better to be expressed.  Whether that is releasing these thoughts and feelings through talking it out, writing it out, exercising it out or whatever.  Letting the steam out a little at a time is way more helpful than holding it in until it explodes.

Affirmation: “I am choosing to be open with those I know will help me reflect without judgement.”

N is of No

One of the keys to personal resilience is the ability to know when to say No! A long time ago I was asked a question: “What is your ‘Yes’ worth if you never say ‘No’?”  It is, and always has been, important to say ‘No’ to some things in order to say ‘Yes’ to what’s important.  If we fail to make this distinction, we will simply arrive at overload, particularly in times of high stress.

Today think of the things you ought to say ‘No’ to, in order to ensure you have time and energy for the ‘Yes’ that only you can provide.  Take time to re-evaluate your current priorities, and when you say ‘no’ know that it is for a more impactful ‘yes’.

Affirmation: “I am saying ‘No’ to some things in order to say ‘Yes’ to my real priorities.”

M is for Move

M is an easy letter to find words for when we think about personal resilience.  I’ve chosen Move.  It’s such a simple thing to do even when our movements are restricted.  Here are some ideas:

1.  Create a standing desk

2.  Set a Sports watch to ping every 45 minutes.

3.  Ensure you get out for exercise every day

4.  Join an online exercise class of your choosing

5.  Find a pair of skipping ropes

6.  Dig out a ball – or three balls and learn to juggle

7.  Play Twister or the Cereal box game

8.  Put on your favourite dance music and dance!

9.  Get out into the green gym if you have one

10. Start a Couch to 5K programme

Affirmation: “I am made for moving and am choosing to move with intention every day.”

L is for Let it Go

Sometimes we simply need to rebalance the priorities of our life and let some things go. The alternative is an ever increasing activity load which over time reduces us to exhaustion. 

Perhaps today would be a good day to take stock and ask yourself: “What do I need to let go of?”  Whether that is a routine we normally adopt or a thought pattern that is not useful, taking a moment to take stock and simply let some things go may help ease the pressure.

Take 10 minutes just for you today, to think about what you are trying to juggle, new activities and old, and decide what you can let go of. 

So review your activity load and make wise choices about where you simply need to let it go.

Affirmation: “I am decluttering my priorities in order to ensure sustainability and good health.”

K is for Kind

One of the hashtags I use is #bekindtoyoutoo. I’m reminded of a quote by the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.”

Today, the action is simple… Find a way today to be kind to someone else, and find a way today to be kind to you too!  And if you doubt the importance of turning this suggestion into action – think of the last time you benefitted from someone being unexpectedly kind to you.

In the midst of all the acts of kindness you have done this week motivated by compassion, care, or a desire to help others, take time today to offer that same level of compassion and care to yourself. I wonder what difference that will make to your day: I know it will make a difference to your personal resilience.

Affirmation: “I am building my personal resilience by focussing on kindness to others and to me.”

J is for Journal

I wonder if you keep a journal. I have a list at the front of my journal which gives 26 reasons for journaling. This picture shows some of my journals so you can see I journal regularly.  I don’t make a chore out of it and don’t journal every day but a few times a week.  I recognise it is something I have done more of when life has given me lemons!

Writing can help us to get rid of some of the jumble and structure our thinking; it can help us to explore our feelings in a safe way; it can help to give us perspective; it can help us to let things go; it can helps us to reflect; it can help us to process challenging experiences.

Perhaps you are thinking ‘I don’t have time for this right now!’  Set your phone timer for 6 minutes and just start writing.  When the 6 minutes are up stop… Try that for a few days and see what happens.

Affirmation: “I am taking time to clear my mind for six minutes every day.”

I is for Intention

In terms of developing and sustaining personal resilience, Intention is important.  In order to avoid the phrase… ‘I had good intentions’, it’s important we put actions, accountabilities, and checks in place to support us to meet the intention.

Of course, it goes without saying that for there to be any commitment to an intention, the intention has to have real benefits or outcomes in the first place.  So pause… what do you need to be intentional about right now in terms of self care and resilience.  It is likely to be something pretty simple that could have a profound incremental effect for you.   It is also likely to be something that is best done frequently, even daily. 

What do you need to be intentional about?

Affirmation: “I will back up my intentions by putting checks in place to support my actions.”

H is for Hopefulness

My curiosity is roused to wonder how much Hope and Hopefulness has played a part in your mental landscape this week.  And if so, what is it you hope for?  For me, Hope is, and always has been under-rated. 

As human beings we have the ability to future focus, and imaginations to allow us to experience the full range of thoughts and emotions of some imaginary place and time, and research confirms our future imaginings are as powerful as actually having the experience. 

One of the best things you can do right now to protect and enhance your resilience is learn the art of Hopefulness. Take some time today with a cup of tea or coffee, and pen and paper and simply take time to dream and hope and give your brain the chance to be filled with possibility and hopefulness. 

Affirmation: “Today I am creating a positive mental space of future hopes and activities.”