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Resilience in tough times.

Life is back to normal… well, sort of.

My heart starts thinking about resilience and how we have weathered the past storm, and how we are all coping with this new normal. For me, my greatest worry is for our children and my girls. During trying times, I have often found my own resilience, but it comes from a deeper place due to trials I had as a child. So while I worry for my girls, I know that trials will make them stronger.

With all of this said, we have seen our younger generation struggle heavily with depression and anxiety, which has gotten even worse since the pandemic. But as a parent, aunt, sister, church teacher, and volunteer, I want to know how to give the children in my life the gift of resilience at any age. Based on neuropsychologist, Dr. William Stixrud Ph.D., here are some insights on how to guide children in that direction:

  1. Help them differentiate between fatigue and a bad mood. My girls get tired and will feel as though everything is unobtainable, making it the worst day of their life. In reality, fatigue or hunger can make life look difficult. Therefore, guide them to not make the mistake of thinking fatigue and stress are the same thing.

  2. Taking time helps a child put things in perspective, which means making time for adequate rest and eating food. Outbursts and our responses to stress will improve!

  3. Promote physical resilience, by ending your shower with a 30 second cold one. It is both good for the immune system, as well as helping toughen your mind.

  4. Find your sense of purpose to improve you and your family’s mental resilience. Purpose comes from being involved in something meaningful such as community and/or family.

    1. I like having a family identity – For us, it is spreading kindness and thinking of others first and ourselves second. We do this through volunteering at our church and how we live our moments at home.

  5. Seeking a sounding board. To help our emotional resilience, we need to vocally state our negative emotions and learn to process through them. See a good friend or even a counselor to work through whatever you find difficult. Identify challenging emotions and be willing to ask for help. Remember: asking for guidance is a sign of strength, not weakness.

  6. Show your children unconditional love. Children love rules and boundaries, but they also require your love, especially when straying outside of their boundaries. They need the difficult talks from you.

  7. Speak to your children about “Plan B” so they will know if something does not work out the way they intended, they can continue pushing forward. Play a game of imagining life with their second choice, because in reality, this may end up being the better one.

I feel really passionate about strategy planning and loving into our difficult emotions, not because I enjoy a good cry, but because it is a great way to live happy most days. I love optimism and marvel at people’s resilience, and this is a gift I want for everyone to have and apply, especially for our children.

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