Wellness: How to harness your inner strength
Gemma Brown - a personal coach who helps people prioritise their wellbeing and live a life with increased direction, purpose and authenticity - shares ways you can maintain strength at a time when your ‘resilience tank’ may be depleted
Over recent weeks we have been living in extremely challenging and unprecedented times. Our fear over our health, our loved ones and our jobs has hit new heights. Layer on top of that the speed of change, social distancing, the deluge of news, social media chatter and the continued uncertainty, and our strength rapidly begins to wane.
During this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing a unique insight into how we manage under pressure. Our ability to shift and adapt is being tested. In normal circumstances, a good amount of pressure can strengthen us, help us remain focused and stay motivated.
Over prolonged periods, however, when that pressure shifts to unhealthy levels of stress, it starts to take its toll. How can we harness our inner strength even in times we don’t feel strong?
Ask yourself: “What one thing can I do today that will make me stronger tomorrow?”
1. Name your feelings
Self-awareness is a key part of staying strong. Be curious with how you’re feeling and try not to ignore some of the harder emotions. Put a name to what you’re thinking and feeling. Are you disappointed, angry or hurt? Perhaps you’re frustrated. If you’re hurt, what is it that hurts? If it’s disappointment, what or who is disappointing you? If you’re frustrated, learn what is frustrating you so you can take action. Awareness of this, will help you identify what you need to build your strength.
2. Attend your own needs first
It may feel counterintuitive to put yourself first, but in doing so you ensure you are able to perform at your best and be there for others. Recognise what is draining your energy and take action to rebuild your strength. Prioritising your self-care (in whatever form that looks like to you) will help you stay stronger for longer.
3. Maintain perspective
Rationalise a sense of what is going on for you. Avoid ‘what ifs’, and ‘maybes’. Set yourself realistic goals, be realistic with your time and how best to use your energy.
4. Focus on what you can control
Increased uncertainty means we want to exert more control over things in our day to day lives - even areas we have no control over. Stay buoyant by focusing on what is within your power.
5. Learn from each experience
All challenges give us the opportunity to learn and build resilience for another time. What can you learn from what you’re going through? New things about yourself, your values, what is important for you? How has this changed recently?
6. Celebrate your successes
We often focus on the negative and list everything that could have gone better. This negativity can spiral and drain our resilience. For this reason, it is vital to look at what went well and to celebrate that. What was your role in making it a success and how could you best utilise that skill again soon? Be proud of yourself and give yourself recognition.
7. Be kind to yourself
Negative talk, berating yourself and cycles of self-doubt are not helpful and will be exhausting. When you find yourself talking this way, try to turn the words into words of kindness. Be gracious, be gentle. Recognise the things you are thankful for. Journaling or meditating can be a great way to give yourself a bit of space to make sense of your thoughts.
I’ve been astounded by the strength and resilience of those around me in recent weeks. These are strange times, and even the strongest among us will have their resolve and inner strength tested. If practised consistently, these are a few ways you can maintain your strength, build resilience and come out stronger on the other side.
Gemma Brown offers one-to-one personal and business coaching via Skype, as well as face-to-face sessions in the Cambridge area. For more information about coaching visit gemmabrowncoaching.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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More by this authorLouise Cummings