We have experienced many challenges over the past 12 months and now the world is experiencing the big challenge of a pandemic. In this latest episode of Resilience Radio, clinical psychologist Lyn Worsley, talks to Leigh Hatcher about the characteristics of resilient people in these times and the opportunities they provide to connect with people. It might sound counter-intuitive to connect in times of a pandemic, but listen up! Listen to Resilience Radio: Fires, Floods, Pandemic! Toilet Paper?
By Lyn Worsley. Originally posted on www.theresiliencecentre.com.au in March 2020. There is no other time where resilience is more relevant than when a crisis hits us. Given the current global crisis we are facing, it is time to review what is resilience and how to implement the strategies that we have researched, taught and set up in our lives. What is resilience? Resilience is often used as a way of describing someone however it is more like a verb. It is an interaction of a number of factors and one of these is going through crisis, difficulties, or adversity. What better time than now to practice what we have learnt. The process of resilience involves, social navigation. The personal competence that we learn in the process of this social navigation, during tough times, set us up for life, helping us to cope with future difficulties which are inevitable. Basically, from studying people who have been resilient during crisis, we see they connect more, they share resources and seek support and have a commonality with others around them. They have a team of people who “have their back” and in turn they support others. Is a virus resilient? Virus’s also have their own process of resilience which also resembles psychological resilience. Resilient viruses have a mode of spread that make the hosts move closer together, talking, sharing contaminated objects and causing body reactions such as coughing and sneezing. The resilience process actually evokes a response by the hosts to connect more. This resilient process increases when there is panic in the hosts, as they talk to more people, (even strangers), talk faster (contaminated droplets spread further), and reach out to touch common surfaces (shopping centres, handrails, mobile phones etc). The result is a resilient virus that spreads quickly. Psychological challenges with isolation. This presents us with a challenge. How do we build our resilience, while at the same time, reduce the resilience of the virus by isolating ourselves, and slowing the spread of the disease? Isolation can cause people to go stir crazy. The term cabin fever was not just a phenomenon on a cruise boat. Solitary confinement was used to break people in the worst circumstances. So how do we become resilient when the skills of connecting cannot be utilised? How do we become resilient when the very factors that we need are disabled? The Resilience Doughnut suggests that three factors, involving connection with others, link to build a resilient response. So now it is time to be creative with our Doughnut connections. Recently a youtube video was circulated from an isolated Italian town. They were playing music on their balconies and singing to each other with their windows open (in harmony). Now that is what we call an Italian Doughnut Moment, linking three factors such as music skills, community and family. But what about Australians, how do we connect? Australians love humour. We make jokes out of anything, from the sublime to the ridiculous, humour has got us through. We also have a history of making the most of difficulties and supporting the underdog. Adversity is in our DNA, so now is the time to rise up and start to think of ways to connect together without touching, sneezing, coughing and spreading the droplets. Some isolation tips. • Start a neighbourhood WhatsApp group.
• Make a family plan to connect through board games, movies and slow cooking.
• Share books, board games, on-line games, jokes with the neighbours.
• Make an isolation survival kit to give to friends (toilet paper, pack of cards, tim-tams, a favourite novel, tips for a good TV series, and a home scavenger hunt).
• Open your windows and play beautiful music so others can hear.
• If someone local is sick and can’t get out, check they have supplies or order online for them.
• Make sure the neighbourhood has a check in for each person (in case an elderly person is sick and needs the doctor).
• Communicate in whatever way you can with the people around you, without spreading germs.
• Remember it will be over and the best thing is that you have a closer group of people around you. Finally think of the best-case scenario from the global crisis. What if each of us end up with more caring communities, who know each other? What if we reach out for others rather than stockpile for our own benefit? What if the time in isolation makes us slow down and consider the more important things in our lives? Is there an individual, group or organisation going the extra mile to support others within your community during the #Corvid19 outbreak? Share your stories, photos and videos to inspire our community . How are you staying connected during the #Corvid19 lockdown or time in self-isolation? Share your stories, photos, videos and suggestions to inspire others in our community . Remember to tell us which Resilience Doughnut factors you are activating too! #stayconnected
By Sarah Piper. Originally posted on www.theresiliencecentre.com.au in March 2020. I’ve recently been privileged to speak to a small number of students in their period of self-isolation. These young people were requested to isolate as a result of their school’s association with COVID! When the isolation was first enforced I admit to fearing a little for their wellbeing. As a psychologist and mother, with a particular interest in young people operating best when they feel connected, I questioned whether a teenager spending up to 14 days mostly on their own would, whilst potentially protecting people’s physical health, might compromise their mental health. But, as anyone who works with young people would agree, they can surprise you and rise to the challenge. When asked about what was good in their experience of self-isolation, here’s what they said: “I liked not having so many time pressures. It actually made me more efficient with my school work and I got heaps done” “All my school work was done by midday and I had time to relax and do things I
enjoy” “It was like an extended weekend. Some of my family were home too so we had a
bit of time together” “My Dad had to have time off work too so I helped him with some jobs around the
house. Sometimes it was boring but at least I was doing something” When asked about what was challenging, most of them commented on not being able to
see their friends. No surprises there; we know that young people want and need to be with
their friends. What else was challenging? Lack of physical exercise (couldn’t go to the gym or do team sport) Procrastination “My sibling didn’t want to go near me and it made me feel terrible about myself. I wasn’t even infected!” “On days that I just sat around doing nothing, I felt really low by the end of the day” For those who might have to experience self-isolation, these are powerful experiences from
the first wave of students with lived experience. If you were to be put in the same situation,
how might you overcome some of these hurdles? Or even cope ahead before it happens? How did the students deal with the challenges they were faced with? This is where it gets really impressive. And by golly, how we need some good news stories. Read on! “I ran up and down my driveway and did weights in my bedroom” “I suppose I just accepted it and tried to make the best of it. Sometimes when I missed my friends I had to remind myself that it’s not forever. So many people are far worse off” “Mum encouraged me to get some fresh air so I walked the dog at times when
nobody was around. I always felt much better after that” “Every day around 4pm I’d meet up with my friends online and play games. It was good to chat and know that I wasn’t alone” “I tried to wake at the same time each day and always got my school work done first. I used my whiteboard to plan my schedule. I want to do well and I didn’t want self-isolation to disadvantage me so I worked really hard” “I stayed in my room when my sibling was around” Resilience is not only about surviving through hard times but also learning from those
experiences. It was clear from listening to these students that they all had developed their
own strategies and found “what works”. I think we can be optimistic that many students
put in the same situation will be just as creative in how they manage. What advice would you give to other students embarking on a period of self-isolation? “Beware the Netflix trap!” “Stay active, it makes you feel so much better” “Have a daily routine and stick to it” “Stay connected” “Get as much school work done as possible THEN rest” “Stick to your normal sleep schedule” Oh from the mouths of babes. They know what they’re doing. Resilience develops faster when we have faith in them to do what works for them. Whilst the debate on school closures and the like goes on, let’s trust in our young people to not only make the best of it but to come out better than before. Thank you to the awesome students who participated in my interviews. You know who you are. How are you or your children staying connected during the #Corvid19 lockdown or time in self-isolation? Share your stories, photos, videos and suggestions to inspire others in our community . Remember to tell us which Resilience Doughnut factors you are activating too! #stayconnected