Building Mental Stamina and Resiliency

COVID-19 has added an additional layer of challenge on top of the on-going stressors we all face. Also, the coronavirus situation is having an extreme isolation effect together with the health and financial worries it brings. And, according to the experts, it’s going to take a while to control. Not easy!

All these factors, we don’t control. What we control is building mental toughness. For this, we can use some techniques to help offset the negative, lingering effect of these stressors.

SELF AWARENESS: We, humans, are highly adaptable. That’s good but it can also mask anxiety and mood issues as these symptoms can increase gradually. Our tendency is to adapt, ignore and assume we can handle it. What we need is being in touch with our mental state and being honest with ourselves. Also, notice signs such as becoming more irritable, having difficulty concentrating and performing up to par, eating more or less, sleep issues, etc. Noticing such changes, subtle as they might appear, can help you identify and prevent further deterioration in our mental state.

REACH OUT: Yes, talking to others, sharing, asking for help, are signs of strength and insight, not of weakness. Having an outlet to vent or to seek feedback or advice can make a big difference. Talk to your peers, to your boss, to family and friends. And, if needed, talk to a psychologist who can guide you cope through these difficult times.

PACE YOURSELF: Life is not a sprint, it’s more like a marathon. In a marathon, establishing the right pace ensures you reach the finish line. It is tempting to rush and to cover a lot, it provides with a short-lived adrenaline high. But, after that, there can be a plunge too deep to recover. Instead, establish a rhythm that is sustainable. As part of this, thinking about the processes instead of the outcomes also helps. As you pursue your goals, also maintain a positive outlook and self-talk.

BREAK IT DOWN: Sometimes when facing a task or a project it can seem monumental. By breaking the project into smaller, more manageable blocks it helps making it more actionable and viable. Also, focus on goals and steps that are controllable. This will build self-confidence and appreciate small wins towards the major goal.

STRUCTURE: Waking up with no clear structure will provide a feeling of being lost, of just drifting. Having some rituals or set structure will contribute to positive movement. Structure will help you fight feeling bored and lonely. Create a routine that is comfortable and that creates a sense of normalcy.

TRY SOMETHING NEW: Bring novelty to your life! Learning a new skill (personal or professional) such as a new language will bring renewed energy. Something to look forward in your day and in your life. Most new hobbies or skills may entail interacting with new people and making new connections. All together this is a great way to fight boredom and loneliness. Take advantage of these times to evolve, learn and enjoy.

As with any challenging situation, reaching out to the right professional can make a big difference. As an experienced psychologist, working together can make a positive difference in your life!