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Boosting your resilience

The last year has been a difficult one, who would have imagined last Christmas that we would have been in lockdown, with the NHS seriously tested by a global pandemic. So much change has happened and the resilience of people working in and with health and care services has been seriously tested. Resilience is our ability to deal with, find strengths in and/or recover from difficult situations. Its sometimes referred to as “bouncebackability” – but bouncing in what way?

Helen Northall
  • It can be “bouncing back” – recovery resilience
  • “bouncing with” – adaptive resilience
  • “bouncing forward” – transformative resilience

In the last year many people will have done all three. So how are you doing?

(Chris Johnstone, Association for Coaching Webinar 2020)

What you may need are the strategies to help you move from the red zone into amber and from amber to green. There are a number of ways that you can support this:

Coaching and training

  • Just working through where you are, what your next steps may be, and having headspace to think objectively may help
  • Prompted by the right questions for you to gain insight, recognising your achievements and your way forward

Working through potential scenarios

  • Try to think what is the worst that can happen, and what this would mean, could I live with this and manage it?
  • What is the best that could happen, what would this look like and how would I react and work with this?
  • What is the most likely thing that could happen, what would this mean, how would I respond to this?
  • What can I do to make the best more likely to happen – and step towards making the best more likely and the worst less so.

Story boarding

  • Think here is what I am facing – what happens next is and what helps is
  • Identify when you cope well and less well and what helps you cope better
  • Work out what would make it even better if, and how you can turn the situation into a more positive ending

Mindfulness – controlling your “busy brain”

We hear a lot about use of mindfulness to support wellbeing, but what is this? Do you have a “busy brain” do you read, or someone talks to you and you have no idea what you read, or was said? This often happens as much of the time the brain is busy either reflecting on the past (replaying something from earlier in the day/week), or its anticipating what might happen in the future – planning, catastrophizing or looking forward to something. It’s rare for our brains to be fully engaged in what is happening right here and now. We are not present in the moment. Mindfulness is when our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment – not rehashing the past or imagining the future. Maintain moment by moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and environment. Mindfulness creates greater capacity to deal with adverse events. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness – mediations, breathing exercises etc, but you can carry out a lot of tasks mindfully – washing up, having a shower, eating etc – just engage in the present moment and notice what is there and what you are feeling.

Remember – what has happened in the past year is a lot of change, although change is a situation you need to manage, making a transition is psychological. Beginning a change is about ending the way things have been done in the past, and there is a sense of loss. You then need to move through a neutral zone into a new beginning. When people are distressed, outside their resilience zone and in, or approaching the red, a different part of the brain takes control, the less rational part. What you need to do for yourself and your teams is to find a way to stay in the resilience zone and manage the continual change around us all.

PCC have been supporting a number of organisations to reflect, recover and plan their way forward during the last year. Our personal and team development programmes now include a number of programmes to support staff to become more resilient, become stress resistant and manage change. We also provide coaching with ILM7 qualified coaches to support leaders. For more details contact enquiries@pcc-cic.org.uk