How to cope with adversity in the face of pandemic?
Tips to enhance our ability to cope with difficult times during confinement.
We are all exposed to the same situation of confinement, and we endure approximately the same stressors: fear of contagion of the disease, uncertainty as to the next phases, limited freedom of movement, combining telework with housework... and, if there are children, the workload is multiplied.
Likewise, there are people who have lost their jobs, and others are currently facing one of the hardest moments of their lives, losing a loved one during this period, without being able to accompany them or say goodbye.
Although we are all suffering, more or less, the same situation, there are people who "coexist" better with this period of adversity and have more capacity to adapt, so they suffer less emotionally.
Other people find it more difficult to deal with the uncertainty of a possible contagion, have more negative thoughts related to not being able to go out, pessimism about having to adapt to another way of working or not seeing their loved ones. As a result, they will get into obsessive thought loops, and reactively, they will experience more intense negative emotions and even somatize them. and even somatize, developing important physical responses to these emotions (insomnia, headache, Muscle contractions, knot in the stomach, chest pressure, desire to cry, decreased or increased appetite, etc.).
And on what does it depend that some of us cope better and others worse? Well, it depends on our resilience.
The foundations of resilience: coping with adversity
What exactly is resilience? In psychology, resilience is the ability to face a difficult situation and emerge stronger from it.. That is to say, to accept the situation, face it, learn something from it and "take away" something positive.
Therefore, it seems convenient to maintain a resilient attitude in general, and at this moment of our life, it seems indispensable. The problem, as we said, is that not all of us have this capacity.
Studies show that resilience is a capacity that comes "as standard" in some people, and comes naturally to them, by the education received, by the reference models that they have lived in their childhood, etc. On the other hand, other people have more difficulty to face adversities, showing more pessimism and frustration, letting themselves be carried away by the eventsThey do not take responsibility for their self-care and emotional well-being, and settle into complaining, hoping that the problem will be solved by others.
The good news is that resilience is a "trainable" capacity, and perhaps this is a good (if not the best) time to learn how to do it.and perhaps this is a good time (if not the best time) to learn how to do it.
How to train resilience?
To be resilient, it is important to keep the following guidelines in mind.
1. Focus on the present
First of all, it is best to focus on the present. If we start thinking about the past, i.e. what we did before the confinement (if I shook someone's hand, if I used public transport, etc.) or if we start anticipating the future (what if I get infected, and what the economic crisis will be like)... all we will achieve is to become more distressed, since we do not control either the past or the future.
The only thing we can do is to focus on the present, paying special attention to the positive things. What is around us: something went well at work, I shared a nice moment with my children, I was able to resolve an argument with my partner, today it's sunny and I can go out on the balcony or in the window, enjoy a nice dinner, etc.
2. Accept the limits of our control of the situation.
It is also important to to accept that there are variables that we do not control, that do not depend on us.. Resilience implies knowing how to identify what part of control we have and taking responsibility for it. For example, I control not watching the news at night, so that I go to sleep more peacefully and do not have nightmares, or I control the implementation of security measures when I go shopping.
3. Enhancing communication skills
It has also been proven that the most resilient people are those who have learned to communicate assertively with others.They can express what they think, but also share their most intimate emotions, in order to be able to unburden themselves with people they trust.
Knowing how to manage conflicts, both with the people we live with and with the people we communicate with online, is a good prognostic factor for being resilient, and coping with this situation with fewer open fronts.
4. Do not anchor yourself in pessimism and resentment.
On the other hand, something that plays in our favor to be resilient is not to settle in the complaint. If we are all day complaining about this situation, being this a monothema, the only thing we get is to increase our level of "emotional bad feeling". That is to say, we provoke more negative emotions.
Letting off steam, as I said before, yes; settling in the constant complaint, no.. Venting relieves me, complaining increases emotional discomfort.
5. Modify our habits
And finally, to be more resilient and adapt better to everyday life, we must transform our habits. To do this, we must promote our creativity. We have invented spaces where we can work at home, with our family, "snacks" with friends, each one from home via a screen, new crafts for our children, games on social networks, etc.
In short, by creating new ways of functioning on a daily basis, we will be adapting faster to this new way of living (however long it lasts) and we will be more resistant, more resilient.
Although this is a very complicated situation for everyone, being more resilient will allow us to better handle the difficulties that arise, manage our emotions, have more "emotional battery" and cope with this situation with more energy.