What can I do to feel more resilient?

Menopause, coronavirus, and a child unexpectedly home from college—life is coming at me really fast right now.

We all have stresses and adversity in life, and the ones you list are pretty big ones. It goes back to that bit of wisdom: the only thing we can control is our response to adversity.

The first thing is to accept that adversity is part of life. It just is. I’m not saying we have to be grateful for it, but I do think that it forces us to grow.

"Framing" is one key to fostering resilience.

As far as fostering resilience, I think “framing” is one key. You can see a problem as an invitation to think creatively or as something that will defeat you. Consider the elements you have control over, and focus your time and attention on those. For example, you can’t control the fact that you’re menopausal, but you can learn how to minimize symptoms like hot flashes and dryness.

A second key to resilience is contributing to the larger good. While you probably can’t help create a vaccine for Covid-19, you can stay home when you can, practice social distancing when you have to go out, and wash your hands frequently as a way of keeping yourself and others healthy. Maybe you can also volunteer by packing lunches at home for needy children in your area. Do something that connects you to the larger community.

Finally, remember that you’re capable. Think about difficult times in the past. How did you get through those? Maybe you can draw on those same skills and resources this time. 

Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself. During the pandemic, we are all having to learn (individually and collectively) as we go.