Take a Breath, Bounce Back, Go Forward

The reality is that some couples break up during the holidays, others face the grave illness or death of a loved one. A new year can conjure memories of past missteps, tragedies, failures or lead to unexpected disappointments.

It’s time for resiliency — the process of adapting well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

The American Psychological Association recommends building connections, fostering wellness, finding purpose, embracing healthy thoughts and seeking help. Do this by:

  • Prioritizing relationships with empathetic and understanding people. Don’t isolate yourself.
  • Joining a group be it civic, faith-based or other local organizations.
  • Taking care of your body through proper nutrition, ample sleep, hydration and regular exercise. Strengthen your body to adapt to stress, reduce the toll of strong negative emotions.
  • Practicing mindfulness through journaling, yoga and other spiritual practices like prayer or meditation. This builds connections, restores hope.
  • Giving your body resources to manage (not eliminate) stress. Don’t turn to alcohol, drugs or other substances to bandage a deep wound.
  • Helping others through volunteer work or supporting a friend. This fosters your own sense of purpose, self-worth and connection to others.
  • Being proactive allows you to acknowledge and accept your emotions during hard times. Ask: “What can I do about a problem in my life?” Break the problem down into manageable pieces.
  • Moving toward realistic goals. Ask: “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
  • Looking for opportunities for self-discovery. This increases your sense of self-worth and heightens appreciation for life.
  • Keeping things in perspective allows you more balanced and realistic thinking. You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you interpret and respond to it.
  • Accepting change as a part of life; focus on circumstances you can change.
  • Maintaining a hopeful outlook. Empower yourself to expect that good things will happen.
  • Looking back at who or what was helpful in previous times of distress. This may help you discover how you can respond effectively to new difficult situations.
  • Getting help when you need it is crucial in building resilience. Get professional help if you feel as if you aren’t able to function as well as you would like or perform basic activities of daily living.

And always breathe slowly and take a moment.