Helping Others Build Resilience

In a workplace setting, I once had someone tell me I needed to work on my resilience. They handed me an article about resilience and asked me to read it. I really believe they thought that would be helpful to me in the current situation; their motives were disingenuous. I also know that article didn’t help me and I didn’t feel supported.

The thing about helping people build resilience is that it takes action. Certainly, the “heavy lifting” of increasing one’s resilience is internal. However, I believe people in our support networks can be part of the growth process if they are willing to rolling up their sleeves and get in the muck with us.

How do you do that? 

  • You have to really listen. It is imperative to understand and offer an ear, even if you aren’t solving the problem or giving advice. 
  • Putting yourself in their shoes and offering support shows that you empathize with the situation. 
  • Being present through the mess shows that you care. 

That’s not a job that many people want. When we ask people, “how are you doing,” we often expect a flavorless answer. Obviously, we aren’t going to tell every person exactly what’s going on with us. But I have found that building resilience requires support and trusted individuals in your corner when the going gets tough. 

Recent Opportunities to Practice Resilience

A week before I was set to launch Sabbatical Vibrations I went in for an eye appointment. It was a routine exam to update my glasses prescription. During the exam, I found out both my optic nerves were swollen and that I needed to come in almost immediately to complete a series of additional visual tests. By the end of the week, I had completed several tests and met with a neuro ophthalmologist. The brain MRI ruled out a tumor, but confirmed there was pressure on my optic nerves causing the swelling. I didn’t even realize I had been having symptoms of the issue for months.

The following week was mid-March and COVID-19 was just starting to shut down activity in the US. The next month is all blurred together, but I remember two specific decisions. One was the decision to reach out to my Facebook friends and ask for prayer. I’m not one to ask people for prayers for myself, but I believe in the power of prayer, so I asked. I didn’t specify what is was about; I’m guessing people assumed it was business related as I was just launching. The other decision was to cancel a gathering I set as the launch of the bakery. With all the unknowns of COVID it made sense to be safe. That month was turbulent, to say the least. 

Mindfulness + Support + Resilience

I have been practicing mindfulness in a variety of ways over the last decade. It wasn’t until my sabbatical in 2019 that I decided to really focus my energy on building resilience and being mindful in my life. I know that the actions, practice, exercises, and time I spend during 2019 prepared me to be in the situation I was in the spring: launching a business while facing unknown health issues during a global pandemic. 

We all have our COVID stories, right? There are countless changed plans and schedule adjustments, and life adjustments, and health crisis, and births and deaths happening still today. As a world, we have been given the opportunity to strengthen our resilience as individuals and collectively. I love seeing the increased spotlight on being present and mindful during this pandemic. Mindfulness, support and resilience are definitely connected!

Reflection & Gratitude for the Journey

I’m beyond grateful for the people who stepped in this spring and listen to me complain, cry, express both rational and irrational fears about what was going on with my health, while having their own life concerns during COVID. Those people were present, they got in the trenches and listened to me, and they helped me to practice resilience through the challenges.

Fast forward, and my medical team has ruled out any major health concerns after what seems like never ending appointments. I am thanking God for treatment and improvements in my vision and symptoms. Sometimes resilience is taking the next right action, even when you can’t see the end of the path. 

In a few short months, this “business“ has given me more than I ever imagined. I set out to be helpful – to help others practice mindfulness and help them be present in the joys and the turbulence of life. Yet, I have been given the gift of watching Sabbatical Vibrations grow and evolve, while also practicing resilience and mindfulness in my own life. 

Please continue to come along on this journey with me! I believe that mindfulness can increase your resilience and help you to see the miracles of the present.