Resiliency in Times of Stress

Resiliency in Times of Stress

It is a difficult time for all of us.

Everyone is impacted by the current global health crisis brought on by COVID-19.

Many of us are having to adjust not only to a new normal of social distancing and working from home, but also to other myriad and challenging set-backs.

In light of recent events, now is a good time to take a moment to think about not just good hygiene, but your overall health, how it’s affected by stress, and what you can do to stay resilient and “bounce back” from a difficult situation.

This is the primary goal of developing Resiliency Skills: the ability to face adversity and return.

There are many aspects to Resiliency, but here are a few simple ideas to help you build and maintain the four key aspects of your health: your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Conflict Management – Emotional

When tensions are high or our routines are disrupted, we often find ourselves more often in conflict with others.

Since many of us are having to work through online interfaces without the benefit of normal social cues in meetings and discussions, misunderstandings and arguments are more likely to spring up. A key point to remember is that if you find yourself in conflict with someone, the problem is more often the conflict itself and not the other person. Instead of seeing the other party as embodying the conflict, take a moment to step back and see the other as an individual. You are both dealing with the issue together. You may have different ideas and approaches, but you’re both on the same team trying to solve a problem. You can then follow these steps:

  • Define the Problem – Clearly articulate what the issue is without casting blame
  • Ask for Feedback – Give the other person a chance to share their view
  • Brainstorm Solutions – Don’t shoot anything down; all solutions are valid
  • Choose a Solution – Collaborate on the best option that benefits the most people
  • Seal the Deal – Say what you’ll do, and do what you say

Exercise – Physical

In this environment, we’re working longer hours to get the same things done.

Further, even if we weren’t more mentally exhausted at the end of the day, the gym likely isn’t open and it’s hard to run with a mask on.

However, we don’t need to put up racks of weights or run a 10K to maintain our fitness.

Get up, move around, take a walk, do 5 minutes of calisthenics; anything you can do to stay physically active throughout the day will go a long way to helping you manage stress.

And, the email from accounting about your expense report will still be there after 10 push-ups.

Know Your Strengths – Mental

We all have value and can express that value in a variety of ways.

Some of us are charismatic and natural story-tellers; quick to get a laugh from our colleagues. Others have a passion for learning and are happy to tackle a new problem all by themselves.

If you’ve never given it much thought, there’s a great resource for helping you understand where your strengths are. The VIA Institute on Character has a free, scientific survey that will help you identify your strengths on their website

Whether you know yourself well enough to already have a good idea what your strengths are or if you’re just thinking about it for the first time, the important thing to do is take time to consider how you can use those strengths every day.

Moreover, is there a way that you can utilize those strengths in a new or different approach? Make the effort to consider how you can leverage your value, not only in your job, but with your family and friends.

Finally, keep in mind that anything you didn’t identify as a strength is not a weakness; it’s simply a strength you haven’t developed yet.

Determine Your Why – Spiritual

You may have read this first part of this post and thought, “I’m not a religious or spiritual person."

"How can I improve something I don’t believe is a part of me?”

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to spirituality, but a considerable portion of the thought and philosophy that we’ve toiled with for hundreds of generations concerning our spiritual natures has been focused on trying to answer a very simple question, “Why?”

The challenge is to find your own “Why?”

It’s a deeply personal thing, but understanding the reason that you do what you do every day is important for all of us.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but taking the time to think about that reason will help you motivate yourself or keep you engaged in what you’re doing.

It may be as grounded as, “I want to provide for my family” or as lofty as, “I want to make the world a better place.” Your “Why?” is your own. In times of great stress or sadness, it will help to remember it. If you’ve made the time to consider what your “Why?” is, it will come to you all the more easily then.

The proceeding does not represent Medical Advice. If you, or someone you know, is depressed or having thoughts of harming themselves or others, please contact a Mental Health Professional or the appropriate authority.

About the Author

Stephen Watkins is a Solutions Architect at GPSL.

Prior to joining the team, he served 21 years as a Communications Specialist, First Sergeant, and Flight Chief in the United States Air Force.

Stephen has over 10 years of experience training fellow service members from E-1 to O-6 in Resiliency Skills and how to cope with personal and professional stressors.

Working with GPSL

As a solutions company, we try to meet our customers’ needs beyond just implementation. If you have other questions about how GPSL can help your organization with projects in these strange new times, feel free to reach out.

You can get in touch with us here.

Stay safe and healthy.

The GPSL Team


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