7 Tips for Increasing Resilience
7 Tips for Resilience for Carers
As a carer, I know how important it is to think about and practice resilience. This isn’t just about ‘bouncing back’. For me, it’s about doing little things to keep yourself well and positive. Below are things that I find helpful to keep going and reduce the amount of overwhelming days!
1. Value Yourself
This is vital and the most important tip of all. If you can master this one, you are well on your way! Do you really value yourself as a person? Are you worth making the time for? This can be hard, especially when so much of you goes into caring for somebody else. However, it is so important for you and the person you’re caring for. They will also see the benefit of this. Without first recognizing and acknowledging the value of you, you will find it difficult to give the thought, time, energy in to looking after yourself.
It is important to be able to truly know your worth as a person. You deserve to think about you. You are a human being, not a robot.You need to know your worth and value yourself to be able to move on to the next stages. So really think about this one before moving on.
Self-care follows on very nicely if you value yourself. Once you value yourself you will understand the importance of caring and being kind to yourself. This could mean taking 5 minutes out, an afternoon, a day even! (Oh my goodness, that would be amazing wouldn’t it?!) Just whatever your caring role allows. Everyone is in a unique situation. Once you truly believe the first tip on this list, you will make the time. You have permission to do this guilt free. It does not have to be a day at a spa (if only!). Short amounts of time throughout the day really can help. Self care ensures you build strength, positivity and get to enjoy the things that interest you. This could be spending a couple of minutes enjoying sitting in your garden, reading a book or catching up on the phone with a friend.
Everyone is different. You know what would help you. So make plans and do it. Try short amounts of time first so they are achievable. People always manage to fit in what is important to them, so make time for you.
3. Positive & Affirming thoughts
This is one that is relatively new to me but has had such a big impact on my thinking and well being. Things like saying to yourself “I can do this”, “I’ve got this”, “I’ve managed before so I can manage again”. Spending a couple of minutes at the beginning of the day or at any time of the day, to remind yourself what an amazing job you are doing and how truly awesome you are. Speak to yourself in the present tense – ‘”I am amazing”, “I am resilient” “ I am strong”.
There will always be tough and overwhelming times when you feel you can’t cope, but tell yourself you will get through it. Start to recognize negative, self-doubting thoughts when they come into your head. Acknowledge them for what they are , they are self doubting negative thoughts –they are NOT the truth. Thank them for popping by and then politely tell them they are not relevant or welcome anymore and distract yourself with something else. Once you start to recognize them as unhelpful negative thoughts (and everybody has them) you can objectively tell them where to go.
4. Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Might sound cliché but it is so true. You are what you eat and you can not build resilience if you are not fuelling your body with foods that keep you well. Eating well (Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains) and avoiding fat, sugar and processed foods will all help ensure you keep well and feel your best self. Drink lots of water and get outside if you can. Keeping active, whether that’s just moving more at home or gardening, getting out for a walk or more rigorous exercise is all good. It will help you feel better about yourself, reduce stress, give you more energy and lift your mood. No one ever regrets doing exercise! (well maybe, if they got an injury!) but on the whole, you are not going to come back from a walk, wishing you hadn’t done it. You may regret not going!
The benefits of keeping active are more about emotional wellbeing for me and building mental strength than it is about physical strength. That is just an added bonus of becoming fitter, stronger and reducing risk of illness.
Nature is a connection for your soul and can give you so much. Bathe in its glory and you will feel the benefits. This could be listening to the birds, growing some flowers or vegetables, enjoying the view of a tree from your bedroom window, walking in a forest, going to the beach on tending to house plants. Nature is all around us including in our cities and most of the time, it is very closeby. One of my interests is to find nature in the city and stop to appreciate it.
Anything that connects you with the natural world and appreciating its beauty will only enhance you. When things are overwhelming, take strength from nature. Five minutes spent with nature can really boost you mood, build your strength and help calm stress.
6. Connect with others
As human beings, we like and often need to connect with others. Talking, having fun, sharing an interest or being part of a community can help us emotionally and reduce loneliness and isolation. This can often seem hard and sometimes takes a lot of effort to arrange but like all things that are, you are rewarded with feeling better, lifting your mood and easing some of your stress. Seek out positive people who lift you and inspire you, not those that bring you down or who are not supportive. This is even more important if you are struggling to find the time. Reaching out and supporting others can also be great for your wellbeing.
Volunteering or supporting others is a great way to build positivity, resilience and lift your mood. While you may not feel you have the time to volunteer somewhere alongside your caring role, giving someone a call to see how they are, saying hello to someone in the street or giving someone a compliment, can all help in feeling a connection to others.
7. Get support
Being resilient doesn’t mean not admitting things are hard and that you need to ask for help. Explaining how things are to a compassionate listener can be a great support. It will help to explain to others how things are for you and having some space to vent. Reach out to others when you need some support, help or guidance. Having support will enable you to respond to challenges and be able to keep going. This support can come from close family & friends, your community or online support and social media communities. No one ever achieved anything on their own – there was always something or someone that helped them in some way. So find out what your support ‘thing’ is – whether it’s a particular person or support community or one of the things above, and use it! There may be something else that you know works for you and helps you become a stronger, resilient carer.