Tips for Resiliency During the Holidays (and all year long)

I have a friend I'll call M. A lot of people say M. "has all the luck." She was hearing that quite often when she moved into her beautiful rental home.  A cute little cottage on a spring-fed pond with ducklings, a huge deck on which to host friends with champagne, hidden away in a Portland neighborhood, yet with walking distance of hip shops and eateries. It was a secret spot that some Portlanders had heard of, but it remained elusive because it was on private property. She had recently just returned from a trip to the Caribbean too. Super lucky gal, right? But what folks weren't aware of, or paying attention to, was the fact that while she was on a trip with her extended family her husband, who had stayed home, had moved out and she found out by seeing photos on Facebook. Uh oh.

Sure, she was stunned and feeling all kinds of emotions. Instead of hitting a wall of despair, she got down to business. M. really wanted to stay in the neighborhood that she so loved, so she created a flier about herself and her sweet doggie, with hopes of finding a place to rent in the area. M. sent that flier out to everyone she knew. That's when a friend connected M. with a neighbor who had some rental properties across the street. The landlady hadn't planned to rent that sweet cottage, but when she met M, they hit it off and the cottage was M's new home! Their two doggies even hit it off. Wanna know another twist to that story? M. had seen that cottage from the AirBnb house next door when her parents had been in town. She absolutely adored the cottage across the pond, and said, "I'm gonna live there some day!"

We all know folks who seem to bounce back fairly quickly from hardships. We probably all know folks who seem to remain down for what seems like eternity. There are people who could win the lottery and complain that half of it went to taxes. :-) It has a lot to do with perspective.  

Ultimately we all process things in our own ways, in own time. A critical key to bouncing back is all about resiliency.
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What is Resilience?

Being resilient is the ability to recover and bounce back from the inevitable setbacks, stressors and hardships we all encounter.

This time of year is supposedly a time of peace on earth and good will towards fellow humans. Yet so many folks seem to be frantic and overwhelmed. It can be an extremely stressful period for some. 

If you are feeling pulled in every direction here are some tips to boost your resiliency through the holidays and all year round. My friend M. is great at applying them to her life, so can you.
  1. Connect with friends and family. Don't just text, make a call, send a card or get on Zoom.
  2. Think of the people you are thankful for in your life, and let them know.
  3. Be kind to a stranger. A smile, a compliment can go a long way. For you and them.
  4. Move! Get up from your desk and pandiculate like you just woke up from a long nap. Go for a walk. Dance. Whatever floats your boat.
  5. Be quiet. Take a few moments to be in silence. 
  6. Take It Outside! Greenery, sunshine (even cloudy-day daylight), fresh air all have a profound effect on our health. Get outside for a walk, bike ride or hike. 
  7. Get creative. Being in the "flow," that state of peace when you are engaged in a creative endeavor is great for your overall state of mind. Try improvising a recipe, painting, doodling, writing, singing, etc.
  8. Get some quality rest. Take a nap and/or get a really good night's sleep. If sleep eludes you read the next tip.
  9. Write down all your to-dos and repeating thoughts before bed. Take a moment to put your thoughts down on paper and know you can address them maƱana. Better to file them in a notebook than let them rattle around in your brain all night. Maybe in the light of day the list will be more manageable, and some items no longer matter?
  10. Play with your pet. Don't have one? Borrow your friend's, or volunteer at a shelter. Our furry friends love us unconditionally. We can learn a lot from them. :-)
  11. Take a deep breath, down into your belly. Breathing more expansively through your torso and ribcage, vs big breaths that raise your shoulders, can do wonders to shift your nervous system to a more relaxed state. Let the breath go without forcing it out.
  12. Disconnect to reconnect. Put away your devices and just be in the moment. Look around. Talk with your partner without distractions. 
  13. Eat real food. There is tons of science about the health of our guts is deeply connected to our brain and mental health. So aim to feed your whole self with whole foods, i.e. foods in their most original form--an apple, nuts, hard-boiled egg are easy to take along or enjoy at home. 
  14. Name three things you are grateful for. My husband and I do this quite often. And remember, some of the best things in life aren't things. ;-)
  15. Journaling is another way to process. Here are a couple of writing prompts to you help you recognize what stresses you and what relaxes you
  16. Last but not least, do Somatics! The gentle movements of Somatics can help you regulate your nervous system and shift into a restful and restorative state, so life can become more manageable.
These things may seem simplistic, but if you are down in the dumps, they can be a life preserver that can pull you out of low points. 

What are ways that help you stay resilient? I'd love to know, so feel free to comment below.

thank you for being here,
Kristin

You can learn more about how to reduce stress and pain through Somatics over on my website, thinksomatics.com 

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