How’s your resilience holding up?

During periods of constant change or excessive pressure, what often keeps us going is our resilience.

Resilience = the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, or having a level of toughness.

So how do you top up your resilience levels?

… By celebrating all your ‘wins’ – even the smallest?

… By keeping up with regular exercise to reduce stress levels?

… Or by giving yourself something to look forward to?

A recent publication from the University of Nottingham states that rather than focusing on managing stress, it would be more productive to work on fostering resilience. They suggest that context is important and would account for why some teachers suffer stress as a result of the demands of the job, whilst others don’t.

Whilst coaching a Head Teacher recently, resilience came up in our discussion. She commented that resilience for her was about deflecting unwanted situations, and being able to bounce back when you couldn’t deflect them. Deflecting unwanted situations (particularly potentially stressful ones) can be dealt with using assertive responses. Things you can’t deflect are often things you have no control over.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change …” (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)

Here are my Top 3 Tips for Building resilience for things you can’t change …

Build good focus

Focusing on the negative stuff and the things you can’t do anything about is counter-productive. Don’t drain your already depleted energy levels this way. Focus on the things you can do something about. Focus on what you do well, and do these things at every opportunity!

Build optimism

Find a positive perspective from which to view the situation (e.g. I can’t change the new OFSTED framework, but I can use it to help refine and improve elements of my practice). Look for opportunities to create a positive outcome; remind yourself of your strengths and resources to help you do this. Tell any negative thoughts that work their way into your mind that you haven’t got time for them!

Build flexibility

See things you cannot change as a positive challenge, and use flexibility to find a range of options that are potential solutions to the challenge. The more flexible you are, the more in control you will feel.

So how do you build and maintain your resilience?

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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