Resilience is a strength that helps you bounce back after stressful situations. Being a journalist I have been exposed to high trauma situations, I have lost count of the terrible scenes I have covered over the last five years, but always keep telling myself, when you are resilient, you can recover more quickly from setbacks or difficult times. Yes I do have nightmares from scenes no one should ever have to witness.
Somedays in this career my heart aches, I have learned you can be resilient and still feel sad, lonely and worried during tough times. Therefore, I have learned that resilience also means you will most likely feel calmer and more likely to look for positive ways to manage stress.
I always tell myself, you’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up. There have been times that I have thought about giving up my career, but my sister always tells me pressure makes diamonds. It takes a special kind of person to do the job I have chosen.
I have been able to manage my stressful journalism life though creating healthy habits for myself which include: getting enough sleep (yes, three hours is enough sleep for me to function), eating well, and exercising which help reduce my stress, and improve my resilience.
The good news is that you can develop resilience too. When something bad happens just ask yourself how can I be more resilient in a crisis?
Any crisis can test resilience. Each of us reacts differently to stress and trauma, and what works for your friend or me, may not work for you.
That’s why it’s important to learn several ways to build your resilience. I always seek emotional support from loved ones. Yes I regularly call my mom in Newfoundland after being at a terrible scene, sometimes telling someone what I just witnessed helps my mental health. I have the best mom in the world and even with the time difference she’s always only a phone call away. She worries about me the most out of her three children.
I also focus on self-care activities and have taught myself to remember some aspects of the situation are always under my control.
These steps can all help you weather many storms and have got me through some rough times:
• Expect things to work out. Look for the good in stressful situations and learn from them. You can grow and learn from tough experiences.
• You get to choose how to respond to every scenario. Remembering this can help you feel in control.
• Spend time with people who make you feel good and do your part to contribute to healthy, positive relationships. Find supports at home, at work and in your community.
• Use strategies such as deep breathing and mindfulness to find a sense of calm.
• Do things that you enjoy. Find comfort in activities that bring you happiness.
• Talk about how you feel.
• Have a sense of humour. It’s ok to laugh when things get rough.
• Practice gratitude. Be thankful for the good things in each day.
• Try positive self-talk. Be kind to yourself. You rock!
Resilience is my mental reservoir of strength that I can call on in times of need to carry me through most days without falling apart. When you have resilience, you harness inner strength that helps you rebound from a setback or challenge. It’s not how hard you fall, it’s how you get back up.
Look at yourself in the mirror today and say I can, I will, I am resilient.