How To Strengthen Resilience During Times of Stress

By: Emory Healthcare Veterans Program
Date: May 20, 2020

We are living in a stressful time due to the pandemic. It is important to acknowledge that crises affect everyone, but it is possible to utilize healthy coping techniques to develop resilience – the ability to recover from or adjust easily to change.

Take a moment today to identify ways in which you are already practicing resilience and then develop a strategy to build on those techniques. Three ways to strengthen your resilience during this unprecedented time are to seek social support, maintain a routine, and make meaning out of stressors.

Seeking Social Support

Social support is critical after traumatic and stressful events. Such support can come in various forms.

One form of social support is material assistance. Due to the pandemic, many are experiencing a loss of resources, such as income, housing, and childcare. It is thus critical to identify community resources that can help, such as the local food bank or family and friends.

Emotional support is another type of social support. Emotional support could simply be sharing the distress that you are feeling with a trusted friend or advisor. Do things that bring you joy, such as going outside for a walk or watching movies with your loved ones.

Think of creative ways to stay engaged with the people around you. Many have enjoyed using teleconferencing platforms to stay connected. However you do it, just remember to take a moment to reach out, as doing that will help you build and nurture a network of support when times get tough.

Maintaining a Daily Routine

Daily routines have been upended since the pandemic began. To stay healthy, it is important to find simple ways to maintain some type of daily routine. You can create such a routine by scheduling at least one thing to do every day. This can be a time to exercise, read a book, call a friend, or a set time to have lunch every day. Having a routine helps create a sense of stability.

Understanding the Stressor

As a stressor develops, we are constantly thinking about it and working to make sense of it. During this challenging time, it is important to process the stressor purposefully.

Don’t isolate yourself or attempt to deal with stress on your own. Instead, share your thoughts with others and ask them to share how they are processing this experience. Such shared discourse can help both of you make sense of the stress.

Journaling is another great way to make meaning out of stress and to get thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. Document all the ways you are experiencing this moment to make sense of what is happening around you.

Remember that being resilient right now could mean just getting through the day. We are going to fall and struggle sometimes, but that is okay.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “Do not judge me by my success. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Learn more about practicing wellness during times of stress at

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