“My barn having burned down; I can now see the moon.”
Although this quote from Samurai Mizuta Masahide is over 400 years old, the words paint a picture of loss and at the same time hope, that still resonates with our experience today. Since the March outbreak, Covid-19 has drastically changed our lives.
Studies have noted mental health declining across the globe, with almost half of women and a third of men reporting distress. Additionally, the CMHA found that suicidal thoughts are increasing, particularly among vulnerable populations. So, how can we develop the resiliency to look up from the proverbial barn to the figurative moon?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resiliency is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. Psychologists recommend that we view resiliency like a muscle. When trained it becomes stronger, when left unused it withers. We can train ourselves to be resilient in the following ways:
For those of us that do not currently have an exercise program, then today is the perfect day to start. Not only does exercise improve physical health and lower the risks of cardiovascular disease, but it also lowers anxiety and acts as a mood enhancer. This can alleviate social withdrawal symptoms, a noted side effect of social distancing. To experience these benefits, we should be exercising 3 times a week at a moderate intensity for about 30 minutes.
2) Social Connection
One of the great challenges of social distancing and Covid-lockdowns has been a dwindling of social opportunities. When we feel unconnected and uncared for, we can be left drowning in negative thoughts and feelings. By prioritizing relationships in our lives, we can support and be supported by others. Try to carve out focused time for close relationships, or seek out opportunities to part of groups, whether that be faith based, sports, or volunteering opportunities.
3) Purpose-Driven Life
During challenging times, those with a purpose have a reason to endure suffering. Practically, purpose can be garnered by setting goals, helping others, and being proactive. Taking part in regular, scheduled activities that encourage personal growth can be very helpful during unstructured times. Here at Cornerstone Counselling, we believe that faith in Jesus Christ gives us purpose and hope to weather any storm.
These past 9 months have had misfortune and change in spades. How we grapple with this change, not the fact that it happened, will define us now. Will we wallow in this adversity or will we work to become more resilient and purpose driven for tomorrow?
Blog post by Oliver Fenske, Volunteer
American Psychological Association (APA). (2012). Building your resilience. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). (2020, September). Resilience Impact Report 2020 (Rep.). Retrieved https://cmha.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CMHA_ImpactReport_2020_FINAL_EN.pdf Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Resilience. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resilience
Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 8(2), 106. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a).