Being resilient is the ability to bounce back after challenges, but according to Knauf’s Wellness partner AccessEAP one challenge after another can make it harder to just keep going.
In AccessEAP’s latest newsletter CEO Sally Kirkright explains that Australians have had a tough year to date. “It’s been a stressful summer as the drought led to the worst bushfire season in memory. Then the rains that should have been so soothing caused floods in many areas. And no sooner did we accommodate that development, COVID-19 appeared,” she writes.
When it feels like there’s no time to catch your breath during a series of such devastating events it can lead to feelings of anxiety, fear, stress, anger and irritableness.
When a challenge arises, a rush of adrenalin increases blood pressure and heart rate as part of our fight-or-flight mechanism. But when one crisis hits after the other the body doesn’t have time to work the last dose of adrenalin from our body, and we go into overdrive.
“Short term, that’s OK. If it goes on without reprieve, we get worn out, making it harder for that resilience ‘bounce back’ to arrive,” Sally says.
Stress is experienced physically and emotionally: You might feel tightness in your neck, a sinking feeling in your gut, heartburn, a sensation of pounding blood in your ears or chest.
You or those around you might also become aware of behavioural changes – being snappy in a conversation that you would not normally worry about, or being abrupt towards someone you care for. “Sleep disturbances, needing a drink after work, difficulty concentrating (or obsessing on bushfires, floods or viruses!) indicate that we are stressed,” she writes.
Sally suggests the STOP technique to deal with those moments:
- STOP whatever you are doing
- TAKE a few slow breaths
- OBSERVE what you are thinking and feeling – remembering that thoughts and worries are not facts
- Feeling calmer? Go on with the task. Still tense? Get up and move, make a cup of tea, walk the dog, do the dishes. A five-minute break is really restorative!
To build resilience you can also think back to previous events or times where you faced something daunting at the time. Realising that you made it through difficult times before will help you to deal with the current crisis.
It’s also important to take care of your body and mind, so make time for exercise and mindfulness. Keeping social distancing measures in mind, you can go for a walk or run, do yoga or gardening. These activities boost natural endorphins and serotonin, making you feel calmer and happier.
Knauf has partnered with AccessEAP to provide mental health and wellbeing support to you and your family. Register on their website and download the app for access to a range of services, including recorded meditations, specialty consultation and counselling and a range of support services that relate specifically to COVID-19. You can also contact them on 1800 81 87 28 to book a consultation or for immediate support.
- Also read our article Anxious about COVID-19?