Tips to enhance our ability to face difficult times during confinement.
We are all exposed to the same confinement situation, and we endure roughly the same stressors: fear of contagion of the disease, uncertainty regarding the next phases, limitation of freedom in our movements, combining telework with housework … and, if there are children, the work multiplies.
Likewise, there are people who have lost their jobs, and others are currently facing one of the hardest moments of their life, losing a loved one in this period, without being able to accompany them or fire them.
Despite the fact that we are all suffering, more or less, the same situation, there are people who “coexist” better with this time of adversity and have more capacity to adapt, with which they suffer somewhat less emotionally.
It is more difficult for other people to deal with the uncertainty of a possible contagion, they have more negative thoughts related to the fact of not being able to go out, pessimism about having to adapt to another way of working or not seeing their loved ones. For this reason, they will settle into obsessive thinking loops, and in a reactive way, they will experience more intense negative emotions and, even, they will somatize, developing important physical responses to these emotions (insomnia, headache, muscle contractures, knot in the stomach, chest pressure, urge to cry, decreased or increased appetite, etc.).
And what does it depend on that some of us take it better and others worse? Well, of our resilience.
The Foundations of Resilience: Facing Adversity
What exactly is resilience? In psychology, resilience is the ability to face a complicated situation and emerge stronger from it. That is, accept the situation, face it, learn something from it and “take” something positive with you.
Therefore, it seems advisable to maintain a resilient attitude in general, and at this moment in our lives, it seems essential. The problem, as we said, is that not all of us have this capacity.
Studies show that resilience is a capacity that comes “standard” in some people, and it comes naturally to them, due to the education received, due to the role models that they have experienced in their childhood, and so on. On the other hand, other people have more difficulty facing adversity, showing more pessimism and frustration, letting themselves be carried away by events, do not take responsibility for their self-care and emotional well-being, and settle in the complaint, waiting for the problem to be solved by the the rest.
The good news is that resilience is a “trainable” ability, and perhaps this is a good time (if not the best) to learn how to do it.
How to train resilience?
To be resilient, it is important to keep the following guidelines in mind.
1. Focus on the present
First, it is better to focus on the present. If we think about the past, that is, what we did before confinement (if I shook someone’s hand, if I used public transport, etc.) or if we start to anticipate the future (and if I get infected , and what the economic crisis will be like)… the only thing we will achieve is to become more anxious, since we do not control the past or the future.
The only thing we can do is focus on the present, paying special attention to the positive things that are around us: something has gone well at work, I have shared a nice moment with my children, I have managed to resolve an argument with my partner well. Today it is sunny and I can go out a little to the balcony or the window, enjoy a good dinner, etc.
2. Accept the limits of our control of the situation
It is also important to accept that there are variables that we do not control, that do not depend on us. Resilience implies knowing how to identify what part of control we have and taking responsibility for it. For example, I control not watching the news at night, so that I go to sleep more peacefully and do not have nightmares, or I control to implement security measures when I go shopping.
3. Enhance communication skills
Likewise, it has been shown that the most resilient people are those who have learned to communicate with others in an assertive way, expressing what they think, but also sharing their most intimate emotions, to be able to vent with trusted people.
Knowing how to manage conflicts, both with the people we live with, and with the people with whom we communicate online, is a good prognostic factor to be resilient, and cope with this situation with fewer open fronts.
4. Don’t anchor yourself in pessimism and resentment
On the other hand, something that works in our favor to be resilient is not to settle in the complaint. If we are complaining all day about this situation, this being a monothem, the only thing we achieve is to increase our level of “emotional bad vibes”. In other words, we provoke ourselves more negative emotions.
Unburden yourself, as I said before, yes; settling in the constant complaint, no. The relief relieves me, the complaint increases the emotional discomfort.
5. Modify our habits
And finally, to be more resilient and better adapt to the day to day, we must transform our habits. For this we must promote our creativity. We have invented spaces where we can work at home, together with the family, “snacks” with friends, each from home through a screen, new crafts for our children, games on social networks, etc.
In short, by creating new ways of functioning on a day-to-day basis, we will be adapting faster to this new way of living (for as long as it lasts) and we will be more resistant, more resilient.
Despite the fact that this is a very complicated situation for everyone, being more resilient will allow us to better handle difficulties that arise, manage our emotions, have more “emotional battery” and cope with this situation with more energy.