Never has so much been asked of women, especially Mums. After a monumentally challenging year, we all need to find time for self-care, deep self-compassion and inner strength as we start rebuilding a new chapter. Emotional resilience is one of the ways we can start to safeguard our mental health. Meaning that, no matter what life throws our way, we have a core emotional strength that we can use to guide us when times get tough.
Resilience is an active process of adapting well in the face of adversity. Practising mindfulness and self-care, among other intentional rituals and daily choices, can help train your brain and body to thrive during both the good times and the more stressful situations.
This year, we have all had to dig deep to make it through lockdowns, home schooling, loss, changes to our work environment and more. It can be helpful to remember that even when we can’t control the situation around us, we can always choose where we’re directing our attention.
Mindset is everything. Our thoughts are powerful. A positive attitude can recreate our reality. We become what we think about, what we process and reflect on. We are in control of how we respond to the ups and downs of life. How we talk to ourselves and how we process events and relationships. Isn’t that incredible? Resilience is knowing that you are the only one who has the power to pick yourself up when life knocks you down. Remember that incredible change happens in your life when you choose to take control of what you do have power over instead of focusing on what you don’t.
Here are some powerful ways that you can build emotional resilience and protect your mental health.
1. Cultivate a growth mindset
Developing a growth mindset can help us reframe our reality from lack to abundance. Viewing our life through a lens of gratitude and opportunity can change our reality for the better. It can be really difficult to find time for ourselves at all as mothers, especially for physical and mental nurturing, healing or growth. I get it, I feel that too sometimes.
Start by identifying any limiting beliefs, for instance a limiting belief would be “I make excuses about not having the time to work on myself” then reframe it as “I make time for things I want to do to improve my health and lifestyle”. Our thoughts help shape our actions and choices and therefore before our reality.
2. Work on developing a healthy self-esteem
Those with a healthy self-esteem know their personal strengths, so life’s ups and downs don’t knock their overall sense of self-worth. They do not seek validation from others, they have learnt to find it within themselves.
We can do this by practicing self-awareness. We can do this by acknowledging and sitting with your feelings before you move through them rather than avoiding them. We can use setbacks as an opportunity for growth. Try not to compare yourself to others, follow your own path at your own pace.
You are a priority. In order to give effectively to others (your children, your partner, your parents, friends and work commitments), you must spend time giving to yourself too. Replenish your strength, your health and spend time healing your emotional wounds so you can stop responding to emotional triggers and start living intentionally and consciously.
Remember if you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.
Remember the goal isn’t to be happy all the time, it’s about giving yourself the same love and compassion that you so easily give to others
3. Surround yourself with a strong support network of friends and family
Surround yourself with reliable people who you trust and who provide love and support. If you’re feeling depleted or stressed, pick up the phone or arrange a catch up with a trusted friend or loved one. Take a few hours to nourish yourself by calling in help from a Grandparent, partner or trusted friend to help with childcare if you need to fill your own cup. You will be better able to give to others if you take an hour or so for yourself.
Be kind. Practice gratitude and empathy. Meditation can help us to clear our minds and tune into our inner wisdom. Choose not to argue with people who are committed to misunderstanding you. Protect your peace.
Remember, it is OK to ask for help. Reach out to speak with a professional if you need an empathic ear or additional support. The role of a psychologist, therapist, coach or mentor is always to guide you by holding space for you, asking questions, allowing you to look at your circumstance through a fresh perspective. There is strength is reaching out to others when you need support.
4. Consciously create your life
Start by using positive visualisation to set yourself goals and to change unhelpful thought patterns. Identify what motivates you and gives you purpose, then develop clear, realistic plans and goals to work towards achieving that. Learn something new that fires up your soul. Let go of the fear of what others may think. Be tenacious, be resilient and start one step at a time.
Remember, your direction is more important than your destination.
5. Learn to intentionally manage stress
Self-care routines can help us to consciously manage our stress, meaning we can stop the over-thinking and anxiety spiral before it starts. We can do this by setting clear boundaries, by using mindfulness, by including regular time to care and connect to ourselves, by spending time outside in nature and by using breath work or meditation to actively reduce stress. Meditation can help us to access our inner wisdom, reduce stress and anxiety and to encourage emotional regulation.
Reframing situations and how we speak to ourselves with self-compassion and understanding can really help us to develop a growth mindset and healthy self-esteem that can helps us adapt well to whatever life throws our way.
Remember, it is OK to set boundaries with people who take advantage of you or who are not aligned with your values.
So let’s choose to be active participants in our own life. Own our choices. Own the process. Take control.
About the author
Charlotte Lewis, founder of My Psychology Coach is a psychotherapeutic coach, meditation teacher and Reiki energy healer supporting women on their healing and growth journey to wellbeing. Charlotte teaches women how to hold themselves with loving kindness, let go of what no longer serves them, start healing and access their inner wisdom.