We face new and unfamiliar stresses every day. Whether they manifest in our work or personal life, to stay on top of our game we need to be resilient.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought additional challenges and uncertainty for many of us. Whether juggling work and childcare or facing the isolation of living alone through lockdowns and curfews, the need for resilience has become even greater.
The key dimensions of resilience
Catherine Bardwell, TPC Leadership UK Associate Partner and Jacco Levits, TPC Leadership Netherlands Associate, explore with us how to foster resilience using four pillars of wellbeing. Further explanation of these pillars can be found in Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’®, which outlines four core dimensions to wellbeing: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spirit.
The four pillars in practice
“In terms of the physical element,” says Jacco, “we mustn’t underestimate how important daytime rest is for getting the best out of ourselves.” If you spend 4-5 hours in back-to-back Zoom meetings, your batteries will be drained. Plan your diary and agenda to avoid this. “You don’t need hours of rest,” advises Jacco, “but you do need to take short breaks where you can get up and move around.”
The pandemic has reminded us that we are sociable animals. “When working remotely,” says Catherine, “we need to look after our social and emotional needs and continue to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues, as this helps fuel resilience.”
Jacco suggests focusing on emotional intelligence. “Are there emotions you’re unaware of that come out unexpectedly?” he asks. “Try to look at yourself from a third person perspective and recognise those emotions in time to regulate them.”
When it comes to mental wellbeing, we can sharpen the saw by learning, reading, writing and engaging with content that stimulates our minds. But Jacco reminds us that to genuinely engage and enrich our mental wellbeing, we need to be fully present — it is all too common for multitasking to dilute the moment.
An exercise to bring your mind back into the present is to pause, switch off your devices and take a moment to notice your surroundings. Catherine explains, “I often do this on my commute, and it helps to re-energise and ground me.”
Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What’s important to you? What is your purpose? Your answers illustrate your higher meaning and the spiritual essence of who you are. “That’s the fuel that drives us through life, both privately and professionally,” says Jacco. “If you feel a lack of that fuel, search for it.”
Recognise when your batteries are running low
Catherine helps her trainees recognise that we all have a performance curve. “You are often propelled to the top of your curve by positive stress,” she says, “but we all reach a point where that energy begins to drain.”
“I know that’s happening to me when I start to rely on coffee in the afternoon,” Catherine explains. “What’s important is to pay attention to your symptoms so that you can take a break, re-energise and stay resilient.”
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