The COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has completely changed life as we each know across the whole world. Schools may not reopen till next school year in 2021. Businesses have closed their doors. Hospitals are flooded, and economic infrastructures are crumbling. Industries centered around travel will face serious economic bailouts in the next year. People are being mandated to stay-at-home to prevent further spread of this novel virus, and social distancing has become the new norm when we once congregated together for church, concerts, or even getting brunch with our friends on the weekend.
In some countries, people can’t even leave their homes to enjoy an afternoon walk.
We can all agree that life as we know it has changed so rapidly over the course of a few weeks, and the impacts of COVID-19 have not just rippled around the world, but they have released tsunamis on every continent, except Antartica.
We each are navigating uncharted waters and trying our best to stay afloat amidst what may feel like drowning.
The COVID-19 situation is ever evolving and changing every day, and global and national leadership are doing their best along with healthcare providers, researchers, and scientists to manage this crisis.
Although this exact experience with this novel virus has been unprecedented, human beings have never been immune to adversity. We have faced giants as a species over the 200,000 years we have existed, and guess what?
We have overcome.
We have persevered.
We have SURVIVED.
Oppression. Slavery. World Wars. Mass Genocides. Nuclear weapons. Terrorism. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Tsunamis. Drug Overdose Epidemics. Countless pandemics in our history, the Bubonic Plague, the Spanish Flu, Polio Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola…
Despite these adversities, we are still making our mark on this planet and generating new innovations and ensuring promise for generations to come.
I have full faith we will get pass this, and thrive once again.
But how do we get there?
Most of us, including myself, would love if we could all go into some magical hyper-sleep and wake up in a different time where a beer with a twist of lime would be the only thing we think about when we hear the word Corona.
So, I’ve been asking myself a lot lately how did our predecessors conquer the adversities they faced in their time?
What helped prior generations make it?
I’ve settled on one key factor that has helped past generations overcome hardships and is going to be the key for each of us – resiliency.
Resiliency is the measure of a person’s capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s about how tough you are when you face a trial and how you continue to move forward.
Resiliency is also described as the ability for an object or substance to bounce back to its original shape, like a rubber.
If we are going to see life again after this pandemic and thrive, we have to learn to be resilient. It’s the only way humanity is going to make it.
It’s the only way we can continue to prosper despite all this change and uncertainity.
Right now you may be asking so, “How do I know if I am resilient, or how can I become this way if I’m not already?”
First of all, adversity breeds resilience. To be able to recover quickly from a hardship, you HAVE to go through a hardship.
It’s like that saying if you never go through a test, you can’t have a testimony. Or the idea that you can’t learn how to get up if you are never knocked down.
I’m sure each of us, in some degree, has endured hardships. You have faced trying times where you did not know the outcome, but you made it through that. You are clearly on your way to building resiliency based on that simple fact.
I think it’s important to share that although adversity is a requirement to become resilient that does not necessarily mean once you endure a hardship, everything is tiptoeing through the tulips. Quite the opposite can happen to a person who goes through a struggle.
Adversities have the ability to truly make or break us. Some people face a trial and never bounce back, but I believe if we can strive to build a more resilient community through the COVID-19 pandemic, then we will be better than we have ever been.
In this post, I wanted to quickly highlight 3 important qualities that resilient people have that will serve as a guide to help you bounce back after this.
1. Resilient people FOCUS on what they CAN CONTROL versus what they CANNOT.
Often, we can get so focused on our external circumstances and problems and lose focus on the things we actually have control of – which results in a worse outcome. For example, right now, all of the world is feeling the effects of COVID-19, from social distancing to job loss to actually being sick with the virus.
Each of us may not be able to control the decisions our governing officials are making, the severity of this virus, or the economy right now, but we each play a role in the spread of this virus and making sure we each stay healthy – both physically and mentally.
Implementing preventive measures and practicing social distancing as well as making sure you are eating and sleeping enough, exercising, and doing things you love to help make stay-at-home mandates enjoyable are what YOU can control.
I also want to emphasize that I am not saying resilient people never stress or worry and lose focus, which brings me to point #2.
2. Resilient people manage the stress and worry well, not clinging worse case scenarios and catastrophizing, but rather use healthy coping strategies and solve the problem rationally.
I want to be clear here. I am not saying resilient people never stress or worry. That’s simply not true. They just know how to manage their stress and worry well from practice and experience.
Resilient people have developed healthy coping strategies to manage the stress, such as talking to a supportive friend or a therapist, rationalizing irrational and negative thoughts, using deep breathing exercises or a stress ball, listening to soothing music, or exercising to relieve stress.
These strategies to manage stress yield better long-term effects on mental health than some other way of coping, such as self-medicating using drugs or alcohol (which may just cause you to end up with more problems..).
Resilient people also break the problems they are facing down into steps and work day-by-day to resolve them rather than allowing uncontrollable fear and panic to drive their decision making.
Although it can be an effective strategy to think of the worst case scenario to prepare, resilient people still continue to hope for the best possible outcome which brings me to my last factor to build resiliency.
3. Resilient people are optimistic.
Resilient people are able to see the silver lining in every situation and are hopeful for the future despite the negative experience they are going through. This incurable optimism helps them continue to move forward.
An optimistic life outlook is actually linked to numerous health benefits, such lower risk of heart disease, lower blooded pressure, and longer life-span, which shows the clear benefits of being optimistic and how this can help you thrive in life.
As I previously said, resilient people are not living in “La La Land.” They are rational but still optimistic about achieving and building a bright future despite the hardships that have happened.
I fully believe despite the devastating effects of COVID-19, this crisis will produce some of the most resilient generations that have ever existed in human history.
In my lifetime, I have never experienced a crisis at this global level, and I’m not sure, other than the World Wars, if there has been such a mass crisis across the world.
But I trust God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, and I know if we all realize we are in this together, we can build a bright future.
If across cultures and nations, we all learn to focus on what we can control versus what we cannot, manage our stress and worry well to solve problems and cope, and remain hopeful and optimistic in this season, we will be stronger and better than we have ever been. Once again, we will thrive.
Thanks for reading, now go wash your hands!
Hey there, it’s Sarah!
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If you are struggling with overwhelming anxiety during this time, I have written a blog post with 16 scriptures to manage stress and worry during this uncertain time.