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14 Ways to Strengthen Your Mental Resilience Through Crisis

A crisis, whether global, national, professional or personal can seriously challenge our emotional, social, economic and business stability, as well as our normal daily and working practices. It is not surprising that this can have a detrimental impact on our mental health. Our human vulnerability and ability to cope with severe threat is exposed. Naturally people may feel fearful, anxious or uncertain

In safeguarding our mental well-being, we can take action, following any necessary precautions, as well as keep a tight rein on our emotional reactions. It’s important to recognise any dangers and to acknowledge our fear and anxieties, rather than be driven by them. This means constructively handling our health and stress, developing ways to cope and not allowing our fears and irrational reactions to get out of hand

How to Build Mental Resilience in Times of Crisis

During a crisis it’s important to know ways, in which we can adapt and strengthen our resilience, in order to maintain good mental well-being

  1. Make Healthy Home-Work Adjustments: Set and maintain your personal & professional boundaries. Managing time spent on work and socially, in a way that best suits your present needs and situation can help to reduce pressure and conflict
  2. Arrange & Engage in Positive Activities: Schedule time with family, friends & colleagues, such as; mindfulness, yoga, meditation, listening to music, dancing, reading, book reviews, or just chatting. These can help to reduce stress and lift your mood. Avoid putting pressure on yourself and thinking negatively, as this is counter-productive
  3. Limit News: Control your exposure to negative media and interactions. Consciously focus your time and energy on supportive activities, along with the things you enjoy
  4. Perceive Things as Challenges Rather Than Problems: When presented with a problem focus on finding a way forward and attaining a clear goal. Having a constructive view on the present situation and working towards a specific outcome, enables you to positively draw on all of your resources, in order to get you to where you need to be
  5. Cultivate a Positive Mindset: Formulating your positive internal and external messages can help build confidence and counter our negative bias, supporting a more productive mindset
  6. Establish Good Sleep Habits: Sleep is essential for your overall physical and mental health & well-being. Good sleep helps to build your resilience in dealing with stress and anxiety. Create healthy routines and behaviour:
    • Get up and go to bed at regular times
    • Avoid heavy meals, exercise and using screens, a few hours before going to bed
    • Ensure your bedroom is dark enough and a comfortable temperature
  7. Set Realistic Expectations: Reflect on the expectations set by yourself and others. Examine how realistic these are and adjust them according. Identify manageable steps in meeting expectations. This helps to limit disappointment and stress, as well as enabling you to achieve your goals more easily
  8. Eat Healthily & Remain Active: Eating well and being active will help to keep up your energy, strengthen your immune system and assist to maintain your physical and mental fitness
  9. Beware of Your Alcohol or Drug Intake: During crisis or times of high stress it can be easy to be tempted into increased or improper alcohol or drug use. Remain vigilant and keep busy. This will enable you to remain focused and avoid creating or worsening your mood or situation
  10. Stay Safe: There is a huge amount of advice being given about how to keep yourself and others safe. It is not only wise, but can be lifesaving to follow informed messages and official sources
  11. Stay Connected: To help build security and cope with difficulties regularly check in and connect with others – This enables you to gain reassurance and companionship through being connected and supported
  12. Talk About Your Feelings & Seek Support: Sharing your experience can be a great relief. This enables you to gain understanding and support, assisting you to deal better with your situation and feelings
  13. Self-Care: Monitoring your mental health, along with engaging in actions to reduce stress, such as exercise, taking breaks, healthy eating habits, having fun, meditation & listening to music, can help lift mood and maintain better health
  14. Gain Support: Reach out for support if you notice signs such as; prolonged low mood, excessive anxiety, increased anger and aggression, anxiety and panic attacks, obsessive thinking and behaviour, loss of hope or interest, feeling or thoughts of self-harm

The Road Ahead

During crisis our human limits and mental capacity are strongly tried. Therefore, there is an essential need to take care of our mental health. This is a top priority for everyone. Getting through, requires significant support, commitment and investment in our mental well-being and resources

Seeking Mental Health Support

For anyone seeking support with their mental health useful contact resources can be found on the Free Choices Mental Health Support Information Sheet

Author: Caroline Ribeiro-Nelson Date: 14/04/2020
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