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New year’s reflections

Welcome to another historic year of pandemic living. With chronic stress we will need to refresh our resilience skills on a regular basis. In the quiet week between Christmas and New Years I chose a big re-set to prepare for 2022. I reviewed my Passion Planner reflections for signs of positive coping through the struggles, strife, and triumph of each month. I created a resolution for resilience, vowing to make space in my new planner for the strategies that will boost my courage and lead me to greater bounce back.

I’ve composed a list of my favorite resilience strategies for hoping to inspire you to do some reflecting of your own and possibly to spark your interest to try something new. Now is the right time to do deep thinking about coping. January is often a great place to start reflecting.

Resilience defined

Everyday life presents change, sometimes change that we do NOT want. Resilience is the process of adapting well to unwanted change. Pandemic changes have been dramatic and traumatic: virtual or closed schools, illness, job instability, lost access to typical routines and support, death of loved ones, separation from family and friends. More mundane, unwelcome change can come in the form of a car that won’t start, a missed deadline, conflict with a coworker, or running late for an appointment. Each of these different sized stressors puts pressure on our sense of calm and disrupts our desire for predictability and tests our (irrational) belief that we control the outcomes of our life.

Resilience is acceptance of change and the return to calm with the added bonus of growing in wisdom. I learned that I have little control over the universe. If I tune into my emotions, I can manage those better. A key component of bounce back is flexibility. Living through adversity with resilience will make me stronger for the next sad surprise in life. Resilience skills include: Building connections, fostering wellness, embracing healthy thoughts, and seeking help when needed. For extra credit, finding purpose in the struggle will add to resilience for the next big-or small- plot twist in your life.

Resilient resolution #1 Build connections

There have been many obstacles to social interaction. Fortunately, I’ve discovered some effective ways to stay in touch with special relationships. I’ve bonded with friends and developed a passion for Lavender lattes. Scheduled lunches gave me something to look forward to on the calendar. My key interest groups for work, writing, and reading are already in place on my calendar to avoid overscheduling. It seems that many people are finding a pandemic silver lining of more time for family and/or friends that feel like family. After a recent trip to the East Coast to meet friends we decided to create a quarterly zoom time. Making space for special people will always make the list of a few of my favorite things. The pandemic brought this priority into sharper focus.

Resilience resolution #2 Foster Wellness

Many thanks to You Power Yoga in Edmond and internet guru Yoga with Adriene, online yoga grounded me through the lockdown of 2020 and well into 2021. From the safety of home I deepened my established practice and returned to in person classes with a deeper appreciation for the benefits of gentle movement for my body, mind, and soul. Yoga and walking, in regular combination, increases my energy, mental clarity, and emotional/physical flexibility. Stressful conditions crave calm. Wellness in my mind and body through movement is key to resilience this year for me.

My increased yoga practice guided me to enroll in Yoga Teacher Training. If all goes well, I will be a certified Yoga Teacher in early March. I hope to bring some new wellness tricks into my clinical office in the new year.

resilience resolution #3 embrace healthy thoughts

Every January I declare a word to orient my growth efforts. Hope was my 2021 winner. I shared my hope with others. At times of discouragement I turned to the science of hope to lead me to a better frame of mind and functioning. Gratefully, I am more resilient from my year of hope. This year balance will receive the full focus of my attention and intention. I am committed to calibrating my physical, emotional, spiritual, and social balance. Updates will come throughout the next twelve months.

resilience resolution #4 seek help

Seeking help is not often talked about in our self-reliant culture. Sometimes I got stuck in navigating a slow and gentle path towards re-entry. I found it encouraging to connect with friends and colleagues to validate feelings and add to problem solving options. To gather courage from others helps us to be brave, and is a strong sign of resilience. Don’t underestimate the power of vulnerability. We can learn through adversity, that seeking help is a strength.

resilience resolution #5 find meaning

The pandemic wiped out many of my regularly scheduled commitments. I find purpose in letting go of controlling every moment. This forced surrender has illuminated the power of unscheduled time. I am resolved to putting “pauses” in my schedule, giving myself permission to leave openings in my personal time for whatever suits the day. As a natural (practiced) planner, I notice resistance to let the day speak for itself. I am curious to see what I learn by leaving blank spaces and listening more to intuition in the moment. Who knows? This may be my very favorite resilience skill of all. Time will tell.

choose your (resilience) adventure

As the pandemic continues, we are challenged to create new patterns of living to move forward. Every day presents a unique opportunity to build our resilience muscles. Be creative in exploring strategies to “bounce back” and become a hardier, better version of you. This year, make a resolution for resilience.

May you:

Be well

Be brave

Find ease

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Lisa Marotta