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January 14, 2021

Resilience – a watchword for 2021

Resilience- an elegant word, a strong concept: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Let resilience be your watchword for 2021.

The beginning of a new year is a time for renewal. What better time to take stock of one’s well-being and commit to actions, small or large, to improve your life going forward?

Despite the manifest personal and communal challenges of 2020- this new year brings every reason for optimism and resilience.

  • We’ve already started our recovery with the medical miracle of highly effective vaccines developed in record time. So we can expect to be safer in the next few months than we are today, and to finally close that lonely distance with neighbors and family.
  • Despite the challenges of this past week, there’s hope in the wider world: All of us are looking forward to a deeper connectedness that we’re bound to gain as a nation with a fresh outlook. 

As a group, we’re already resilient. Older adults report the highest levels of well-being and “have lower rates of psychopathology than the general population,” says the Arizona Center on Aging. Older folks have seen a lot in their lives and have learned to cultivate optimism, effective coping styles, personal connections, purpose, self-efficacy and a healthy/active lifestyle.

The American Psychological Association offers these suggestions for continuing to develop resilience:

  • Prioritize relationships, cultivating connections with people who care about you.
  • Join a civic group or faith-based community.
  • Care for your body with proper sleep, nutrition and exercise.
  • Practice mindfulness through yoga, journaling, prayer or meditation.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Seeks ways to help others, either informally or through volunteering.
  • Take initiative, even in small ways, when faced with a challenge.
  • Accept change.
  • Keep things in perspective.
  • Develop a hopeful outlook.
  • Draw positive lessons from your past.
  • Seek professional assistance if you feel stuck.

Resilience is a key ingredient of wellness and certainly helps us thrive in our own homes and in our communities. The very process of safely getting back together will definitely support this growth. Resilience is also a quality that’s largely in our control. We can develop it, practice it and strengthen it.

And we can plan it out. A lot of us are planners, aren’t we? That’s how we’ve achieved the quality of life we enjoy today. This new year is a time to execute on our best-laid plans, and, if needed, make some new ones.

Start by savoring what was good in 2020 and letting the rest go. Begin your year of resilience by resolving to live well in 2021.

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