Flexibility is one of the ways to build resilience
People + Culture

5 ways to build resilience

Resilience is a skill that needs to be flexed, ensuring you can cope with unexpected challenges.

If we’ve learnt anything in 2020, it is that we must continue to learn new ways to build resilience.

Uncertainty and resilience

With the media peppering news stories with threats of a “second wave”, it’s understandable that we might be a little apprehensive and on edge. There’s uncertainty in a lot of areas of life:

  • What will happen after the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments conclude?
  • Even though restrictions have eased, should we resume life as normal?
  • Should we restock on toilet paper?

One thing is certain: 2020 has been the year to test and build our resilience and mental fortitude.

Developing resilience

According to HealthDirect, resilience is “the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in your life”. It means not dwelling on the negative or factors out of your control, but instead accepting the situation, and moving forward with whatever lessons you may have picked up on the way.

While stress and setbacks are normal, it’s unique for an event to affect the entire global population at the same time. And with this, we can see that each individual can cope with different levels of stress.

Taking care of yourself is one of the ways to build resilience

5 ways to build resilience

Thankfully—and as you might have come to learn over the past couple of months—resilience is a learned skill. Here’s how you can flex your mental fortitude:

  1. Take care of yourself

Sleep, exercise and giving your mind a break are all very important facets to build resilience. These little breaks give your mind a chance to rejuvenate and look at the situation with a fresh perspective. Some people find channelling energy into hobbies or journaling to be effective, while others go for runs, bike rides, or even indulge in their favourite TV show.

  1. Control your response

In a crisis, you often feel like you don’t have control. However, one thing you can control is your response to the situation. You can choose to panic, or you can choose to try to be logical and solution-oriented.

Don’t worry if this isn’t your immediate response. It’s normal to feel pangs of sadness or anger. Try to put a time limit on how long you dwell in these emotions before pushing yourself into a more practical headspace.

  1. Reframe the situation

Research demonstrates that self-esteem is an important part of building resilience. When negative thoughts creep in, practice turning these into positive ones, with a focus on your strengths. Turn, “I can’t do this” into “I can do this” or “I’m not good enough to get the job” into “I am confident in my abilities and skills and I will get the job that is right for me.”

Reframing the situation is one of the ways to build resilience

  1. Use your support network

One of the positives of moving through this shared crisis together is that we have created a support network that understands exactly how we might feel. Your immediate family, your friend group and even your work family (See: How workplace inclusion affects mental health) are now just that little bit closer.

Sharing your feelings with people you trust ensures that you feel heard and not alone. It’s an opportunity to get reassurance, be reminded of your positive qualities or new opportunities as well as problem-solving.

  1. Be flexible

Oftentimes disappointment is created when we have a set of expectations that are not met. When times are uncertain, try and be a little bit more forgiving on how exactly your future might look. (See: Workplace flexibility: What does it really mean?)

Resilient people view trying times as opportunities. Consider using this time to explore a new venture or up-skill.


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