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Published on April 08, 2020

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Staying Resilient and Flexible During Days of Isolation

Developing more resilience and flexibility can help all of us cope with any crisis that might confront us in life.

“Knowing the traits that make up flexibility and working to improve them can benefit us as workers, friends, parents and caregivers,” said Brenda Ling, MSW, CSW-PIP, OSW-C, outpatient therapist with Avera Medical Group Integrative Medicine.

Traits That Make Us More Resilient

  • Tolerance for uncertainty
  • Desire to help others
  • Ability to be a team player instead of a superhero
  • Reasonable physical fitness stamina (marathoner versus sprinter)
  • Ability to improvise and learn new skills
  • Sense of humor
  • Patience with self, others and a rules-oriented system and staying flexible

“When we closely consider the traits, we can self-evaluate and see which ones we're using and the ones we might need to strengthen,” Ling said.

Ling offered these ideas to help cope with stress:

  • Limit your exposure to the news/media coverage. While you need to know what’s happening, you check a reliable news source and then focus your attention on other things throughout the day.
  • Continue to do the things you enjoy within the confines of social distancing.
  • Maintain as many similar household routines as you can.
  • Revisit a former hobby, musical instrument or that good intention of learning a foreign language.
  • Exercise, take breaks, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy.
  • Smile and seek ways to facilitate laughter.
  • Use a daily spiritual practice of study and prayer.
  • If you haven’t done so, try using meditation, mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
  • Do regular grounding techniques during work such as taking a few deep breaths between tasks, or prior to contacts or phone calls.

We All Need Help

Use your team to meet the needs of those around you, and use them to support you when you need them.

“We all need help – and in tough times, it can be hard to admit that because we know so many others are facing tougher stuff,” Ling said. “But we cannot help others to the best of our ability unless we are in good places ourselves.”

Ling said there are some common indicators that stress or anxiety are taking a toll. Those signs include:

  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
  • Changes in appetite, energy and activity levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating, sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Anger or short-temper, or an increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

“At any time one of these signs persists beyond a few days and begins to seriously impact your ability, get some help,” she said.

You can call 211, or Avera’s 24-hour behavioral health assessment line can be reached at 800-691-4336.

“No one is immune to the holistic impacts of this situation, so be merciful not just to others, but to yourself, too,” said Ling. “We must remember that the bad times will not last forever and that we can strive to continue our journeys, helping one another.”

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