How to Develop Resilience as the World Goes Through Collective Trauma


According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.”

In the wake of the sweeping changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are struggling to maintain resilience. It is common, normal, and valid to have emotional responses as the world suffers collective trauma.

To help you regain your footing, here are a few things you can do – ranging from self-care that you can do at home to seeking the help of a trauma therapist – to develop resilience and adapt to our “new normal”!

Tips For Working Towards Resilience

Becoming resilient doesn’t happen overnight and it’s something you will need to work on and improve over time. Here are some things to work on in your everyday life to develop resiliency.

Accept That Things are Changing

It is okay to mourn the loss of what you thought this year would bring you, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and changed life as we knew it. However, trying to deny our new reality and cling to the way things used to be can only make adjusting to our “new normal” more difficult.

Resilience is about adapting to change. While it may be a stretch to push yourself to view change as something exciting or desirable, you must accept that it is real, and there is little point in resisting or forcing things to stay the same.

Instead, focus your energy into figuring out how to turn the change to your advantage.

Look to the Other Side

It may feel like there’s no end in sight, but try to keep in mind that this pandemic will not last forever. Though much has changed in normal life, remind yourself that your current situation is not permanent.

Fear of the unknown may be to blame for much of your stress right now. It may help to read about how pandemics end, or how economies recover after a global crisis. Knowing what to expect and what you can do to contribute may help ease anxious feelings about an extraordinary situation.

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Set Goals

Because big worldwide events can make you feel like your life is out of your hands, it’s essential that you find small things within your sphere of influence that can help you feel more anchored and in control.

Things like setting personal fitness, study, or work goals can give you a sense of purpose, and keep your mind off the chaos outside.

Of course, all these goals don’t necessarily have to be career or achievement-related. Calming activities that you can tackle at your own pace like redecorating your home or working on craft projects count as goals too.

Allow Yourself to Be Sad

Sometimes, the best thing that you can do when things are hard is to go easy on yourself.

A Japanese proverb says, “The bamboo that bends with the strong wind is stronger than the oak that resists." True resilience is about being flexible – knowing when to stand tall and when to bend with the flow of the times.

Avoid pressuring yourself to stay strong or cheerful 100% of the time. Toxic positivity denies and represses perfectly valid responses to trauma. This can be detrimental in the long run.

Instead, allow yourself to experience moments of sadness. Acknowledge that grief, regret, loneliness are normal things to feel at this time. Fully accepting and processing these emotions will make it easier for you to pick up and move on.

Take Care of Your Body

As tempting as it is to stay in bed all day and eat all the junk food you can get your hands on, you should still make an effort to retain healthy practices. Neglecting your physical health can pull your emotional and mental health down with it.

Here are some things you can do to take care of your physical health:

  • Get eight hours of sleep at night. This might finally be doable if you’re working remotely and no longer have to commute!
  • Eat healthily. A balanced diet can boost your immune system and boost your chances of surviving or avoiding COVID-19 entirely.
  • Put in some regular exercise. Physical activity releases feel-good hormones called endorphins and reduces stress hormone levels, helping you feel more emotionally stable. There are plenty of home workouts available on the Internet.
  • Keep up with hygiene. Even the smallest acts of self-care like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and changing your clothes daily can do a world of difference to your mood.

Connect With Others

Social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation. Reach out to your loved ones any way you can: use calls, text messages, and video conferences to their fullest extent.

We tend to fixate on our own hardships when we are alone. Speaking to others can help you remember that you are not alone in feeling fear, anxiety, loneliness. You can also regain perspective about your own situation by hearing about others who may be in more dire circumstances.

Further, keep in mind that your friends and family may need you as much as you need them, so it may be mutually beneficial for you to be there for them when they need it.

Even though socialization may be different than what you are used to in a time of collective trauma, it is still one of the most important things you can do to build resilience.

Also read our blog post on 4 Ways to Prevent Moral Fatigue in the Time of COVID-19

Ask For Help

It may be helpful to talk to someone who has professional training to help others deal with their issues. You are not weak for getting trauma therapy to sort out your feelings; because the world is going through collective trauma, and what you are going through is more common than you think.

A trauma therapist can help you deal with your issues in a positive, timely, and productive way. You can talk with a therapist in Redondo Beach who will work with you to overcome your issues and help you cope with the drastic changes in our world in the healthiest way possible.

If you are ready to seek help and take back control of your mental health, call South Bay LA Therapy today.