We made it through 2020, and I think we can all say 2020 was not without its fair share of hardships. Life can be hard all on its own, but then you mix in a global pandemic and all the aftermath that comes with it, things can feel very overwhelming. Some ask, where does it end? COVID-19, the Flu, or even Colds people can see those symptoms, and for most, there are medications, remedies, vaccines, or for some things, a cure. Thankfully 2020 has end, and I, for one, am thankful I am still here; I am grateful for my family, my faith & spirituality, and the opportunity to write this article. But there are many people out there that suffer from silent and invisible diseases. When you have an invisible disease, it is difficult to discuss your perspective with people who are inexperienced with these conditions. Some invisible diseases are Anxiety, Depression, Substance Use Disorder, Crohn’s Disease, Endometriosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and many more.
Life takes lots of turns; many turns are out of our control, so once a person’s Anxiety and/or Depression are triggered, it is hard to be resilient. That trigger can cause a chain reaction for a person that has a Substance Use Disorder. Most of the time, resilience coping mechanisms are to be active or around positive people who care. There are also those people that require in-person interactions to stay positive and to keep moving forward. It is a real struggle to keep it together because we are forced to social distance and quarantine due to the pandemic. It can be scary for some to just get out of bed. People with invisible diseases like substance use disorder or depression get tired of being asked and hearing:
- Did you go to the doctor?
- Have you tried this?
- Have you tried that?
- I don’t know what else we can do for you…
People who suffer from these silent, invisible diseases are stronger than they realize, but even the strongest warrior can struggle daily. They must know and believe they aren’t alone. These warriors need your support, patience, and compassion. One coping mechanism that helps with these conditions can help one person and not another person or help with one situation and not help with a different situation. That is why it is so important to know yourself, to know what works for you. Now that 2021 is here, it is a great time to start fresh and decide to work on the most important person you know, YOU! You are AMAZING and can make it through that moment, that day, that crazy year. Let’s make 2021 a year not about avoiding life and the negative triggers but learning to thrive with life and finding positive triggers that come with life.
Ways to Develop Resilience Skills:
Self-Awareness: Helps you to know yourself better. Take time to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, different beliefs, and different emotions. Writing a personal inventory of strengths and weaknesses is a good starting point.
Inner Dialogue: Listen to your inner dialogue, which is your more dominant. Your inner critic or your inner hero, the I can or I can’t? Consciously choose which voice you will listen to in 2021.
Mindfulness: Helps you to recognize your emotional and mental state of mind as it increases and decreases. Pay attention to what affects your different states of mind. Mindfulness will help you embrace the things that make you happy.
Self-Care: Create a time and space for yourself with no distractions so you can focus on you—Journal about your day and the feelings you experienced. Life is busy, and many don’t take the time to do something good for themselves. Here are some self-care ideas: giving yourself a facial, get yourself a new outfit, or go for that scenic drive you have wanted to take. Get a different perspective on things by asking people you trust for advice in some situations.
Purpose: This is so important to embrace. You must realize YOU MATTER, YOU BELONG! You must shape your mindset and attitude that we have towards others, events, and experiences. Look for purpose in your faith, family, political party, or being a part of an organization. People must not remain overwhelmed; they must find their purpose to find their light and break through the darkness.
Positive Relationships: One of the most profound experiences we can have in our lives is our connection with other human beings. Having positive relationships with others, we will be happier and more fulfilled and feel supported, supportive, and connected. Even though we have to social distance and at times quarantine, try to find ways to nurture the relationships you have with family and friends. Because by having these positive, supportive relationships, you will feel healthier, happier, and fulfilled all-around.
Remember being resilient doesn’t mean that our hardships in life will go away. Life is hard for everyone; everyone faces loss, change, disappointment, and other challenges. Being more resilient means, you have better ways to cope with the different hardships thrown at you. I know many people thought 2020 would be their year to get everything they wanted, but that changed. So, we faced 2020 and got through it. You are still here, so say it loud and proud, “I MATTER, and I LOVE MYSELF!” Finally, 2021 is here, so let’s bounce back better and stronger than ever! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Author Alva Tovar is the Program Coordinator for the WOW Coalition. This prevention association promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to alcohol, marijuana, and Rx abuse problems by implementing strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use. For additional information, visit http://www.wowcoalition.org/resources or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.