Finding Balance, Building Resilience: Take Steps to protect Your Mental Health

Resilience — the capacity of adapting and recovering when faced with trauma, adversity, stress or hardships.

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Resilience — the capacity of adapting and recovering when faced with trauma, adversity, stress or hardships. 

Every day, employees are faced with situations that test their emotions and abilities to cope. In a fast-paced environment, it can be difficult to handle feelings or thoughts while still being present at work or home.

“Being resilient helps balance your mental health,” said Kelcey Stratton of the Michigan Medicine Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. “Dwelling on a situation for extended amounts of time can make it more difficult to overcome. So when rough situations arise, resilience helps you to acknowledge the situation, allow your feelings to break through and take action steps to move forward.”

Here are a few ways to manage yourself — and your actions — during difficult situations:

Accept that change is going to happen

There is no way around it. Change is undoubtedly going to happen, both professionally and personally. Fully understanding that there will be stressful events that you cannot control or alter will ultimately help you become resilient in these situations. Every circumstance of change will not require a reaction, making recovery quicker.

Take care of yourself

You are the biggest support system you have. You are the protector of your feelings and actions. When there is a crisis in the news, it is so easy to watch, read and or listen all day.

Taking care of yourself is turning off the reports and paying attention to you and those around you. Stay informed, but know when to take a break.

When life is throwing lemons, engage in activities that will allow healing by taking your mind off the situation or talking about it to flush it out. While some people find peace in exercising, others find it in writing, meditating or simply talking to loved ones. What makes you happy? Riding a bike, bingeing a TV show, cooking, woodwork? Whatever it is, do that.

Connections matter: Check on a coworker

Support is key in the workplace. Whether you’ve seen a news story or know that someone is dealing with a difficult time in their life, reaching out can strengthen resilience.

“By nature, humans seek connection,” Stratton said. “Showing a coworker that you care about their situation helps to develop workplace culture, build meaningful connections and develop trust.”

With the 24/7 news cycle, work schedules and life itself, you never know what someone is dealing with. As Stratton said: “‘I hope you have a good day’ can impact someone’s life more than you think.”

Step toward your goals

When faced with difficult times, it’s not easy to “just keep swimming.” Often times, people lose motivation and stop working toward their goals.

It is important to refocus on what’s important and take small steps toward your goals. If a goal now seems unachievable, find that small accomplishment that will help move you forward.

Perhaps take a look at your S.M.A.R.T goals from your performance valuation to realign your thoughts. You can adapt that same goal-setting process into your personal life as well.

“Resilience is not a trait. It is a combination of behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and practiced by anyone,” Stratton said. 

This article was originally published on August 15, 2019 on

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