Kym Marsden’s monthly mental health column aims to support anyone suffering from any mental health concerns. If this article raises any issues for you please contact the resources at the bottom of this page.

Lockdowns are ending across New South Wales and Victoria, borders are opening and there is a glimmer of hope that international travel may be within our reach!

Reflecting on this, I thought it was a key time to revisit ‘resilience’ as the consistent changes we have all experienced will inevitably impact us all differently whether this be physically, mentally, socially, financially or a combination of these factors.

My previous article explored how resilience is a protective factor enabling us to cope and navigate stressful situations, simplistically put resilience allows us to bounce back, adjust as needed and keep moving forward despite the challenges or difficulties that in front of us at any given point in time.

Resilience is a balancing act and it’s important to remember that resilience like anything, takes practice to perfect.

Consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional if you feel you are struggling to maintain or make progress, as they will be able to provide you with relevant strategies and direction, tailored to your needs.

Becoming more resilient takes time and practice and if you don’t feel you’re making progress or you don’t know where to start?

Please remember there is no shame in reaching out to talk to a mental health professional, as with their guidance you can improve your overall resilience and mental well-being.

Below I’ve provided further strategies to add to, what I hope, is a growing toolbox of self-help resources and don’t be afraid to adapt them to fit your own needs:

  • You have to grow through what you are going through, in other words you need to ensure you don’t avoid your emotions, you need to unpack your feelings to process what is going on for you. When we block our emotions we increase our risk of low mood, anxiety, anger, etc, so acknowledge they are there and unpack them so that you can grow through these feelings to develop appropriate strategies to cope.
  • Reach out and seek support from those around you, as talking to others provides a differing perspective and allows you to shift the thoughts or concerns that are plaguing your mind, allowing for a circuit break. Some of us reach out to friends, family, work colleagues but also don’t forget support services within your local community
  • Limit television time, I’m a big fan of this and practice daily mainly around news time which allows me to distract my mind, focus on other tasks and keep moving forward! News updates often highlight the negatives occurring which leads to feeling overwhelmed and anxious! I tune in once a day for updates as I realise, I can control my exposure but have no control over how the media’s repetitiveness and find this helps to de-escalate my anxiety levels particularly during peak periods throughout COVID
  • Adopt a solution focussed thinking style which allows you to be practical when you approach problems. A general approach I use is ensuring I do not unpack any problems through an emotional lens, instead if I am angry, teary or anxious; I walk away, distract my mind and come back to the problem when calm to view it through a rational lens which results in practical responses to problems that are solution focussed
  • Sounds simple, but I don’t how many times over the years I don’t apply this simple principle being “taking learnings from past issues” as that mistake you made, will become a strength as it has taught a valuable lesson and we just remember to ensure the application of it in our lives.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with a befitting quote by M.B Dallocchio which resonates for me and am sure many of you will also be able to relate whereby he reminds us that “adversity has the remarkable ability of introducing the real you to yourself”.

If this article brought up anything for you or someone you love, please reach out to, call or visit the online resources listed below for support.

 

By Kym Marsden

 

Kym Marsden is a Kamilaroi woman and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with over 19 years’ experience in Mental Health and Community Services. Her qualifications include BA Health Ageing and Community Services, Masters Social Work, Dip Counselling, Dip Community Services (AOD and Mental Health), and Cert IV Training and Assessment.