Learning to be resilient



It’s World Mental Health Day this week (10 October). Flanders is taking this one step further with its 10-day mental health awareness event, under the motto of ‘Samen Veerkrachtig’ (Resilient Together). But what exactly is resilience? 

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Resilience is your ability to bounce back after a setback, your emotional resilience as it were. These days, we are bombarded with stimuli 24/7, we feel under constant pressure to have to do things regardless of whether we want to do them. So, how do you stay mentally and physically healthy in these chaotic times? How can you keep your energy levels up and maintain a zest for life? 

Try eliminating the energy-sapping things and people from your life for a while. Consider the activities and people that drain your energy levels, what and who are they? Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ more often and only choose to spend your time doing the things and seeing the people you actually like. Make a conscious decision to schedule these activities and meetings in your diary. That way, you can look forward to them, which adds to the fun and gives you a more positive mindset. Don’t wait until your schedule opens up, because if you do, you will probably never get round to doing the fun stuff. 

Take good care of yourself. And yes, that means a healthy diet and regular exercise, but also making sure you take enough time to relax. Eat wholesome food, without being obsessive about it. Exercise, but don’t go crazy. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which makes you feel happier. And why not plan a day of quality me-time at a spa or a weekend away with your husband? 

If you take good care of your body, you supply it with the nutrients it needs to support its natural repair mechanisms. 

Live your life mindfully instead of on autopilot. Now and then, think about why you do what you do, and choose rituals that suit you. Don’t give up too quickly. True, some things are impossible, but when you persevere and reach your goal, you will get an amazing sense of achievement. Don’t be distracted too easily. Instead, set priorities and find the right balance to increase your resilience. 

Surround yourself with the right kind of people. People who aren’t afraid to give you feedback, but who do so in a kind, constructive way. People who support you, who share your mindset. Also, meet up with them in person, instead of socialising via digital media. 

Try not to worry too much. And, if you do get stuck and can’t see a way out, seek help. A setback can actually help you grow or teach you a valuable lesson, making you feel stronger for having gone through this experience. 

Stop procrastinating, plan a few things now that make you happy. What makes us happy? A day of sauna or a divine massage.  And you? What do you do to be more resilient? 

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