As summer begins and the busy season is in full swing, you may already be feeling the signs of burnout begin. Long hours, numerous calls and unending emails start taking a toll on that balance you’ve tried to build into your life. Instead of focusing on preventing burnout, we’re taking the positive approach! We chatted with Maria Anundson, Performance Specialist at Insperity, to get her expert insight into how we can grow and nurture our resilience.

What exactly is resilience?

A lot of us probably think of resilience as the ability to take on stress, to handle problems, to absorb trial or trauma and keep coming back for more. In reality, resilience can be thought of as the opposite of stress.

“It’s the ability to bounce back; the ability to find contentment in chaos and gratitude in challenge. It’s being able to curb overwhelm and “be” in the moment. Be where you are.” says Anundson.

Obviously, we’ll all go through surprising difficulties or disappointments, and even small rubs that catch us off guard. In some cases, we’ll experience actual physical, spiritual or emotional trauma or deep hurt.

“Resilience is your ability to handle these moments with grace,” Anundson explains. She goes on to explain that resilience is actually a very physical, neurological response. Abundant resilience comes when we consistently build better pathways into our brain well ahead of time—before the stress, the disappointment or the trauma. These pathways are created by our own practices of self-care, thought patterns and beliefs.

So, what actually makes someone resilient?

Resilient people have created neuropathways that lead them back to healthy mental spaces of positivity and gratitude. They have the ability to ‘bounce back’ because of the self-work they’ve done ahead of time.

“When you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.”

We’ve all heard something similar to this before, but it applies to more than just our physical thirst. Our minds also need rest, periods of rejuvenation and healthy thought patterns. When we’re desperate for a massage, longing for the weekend or have tunnel vision for vacation, it’s probably already too late.  Other signs of burnout can be: consistently unprepared, overly irritated or blunt, overwhelmed, reoccurring decision fatigue, or no margin in your life.

Resilience is always a work in progress, and now is the perfect time to restart, rebuild practices and carve out space in your life for resiliency to flourish.

Building our resiliency muscles.

Now that we know a bit more about resiliency and that it’s something that only we can create for ourselves, the question becomes, how do we do that?

Here are a few starting points for building resiliency that you can begin with today and develop over time!

Ignore your screens for the first 30 minutes of the day! This might feel tricky and might take some intentionality, but it will pay dividends as your day goes on. Mornings set the tone for the day, and taking time to be present and think positively about your day is a great way to ‘hydrate’ your mind ahead of time.

Practice gratitude. Write down 3 specific things you’re grateful for each day. This can trickle into the next day and be something you rest on in your half hour of “screen free” time.  

Take a daily walk—not too fast, not too slow—just ticking up your heartrate enough to release endorphins, building physical and mental strength.

Before meetings, draw a rectangle and write down the things inside of that rectangle already on your mind. This is a way to help yourself set them aside for later and focus on the present!

Practice mindfulness (there are apps for this!)

Find a therapist, coach or use company telehealth resources.

Build healthy routines into your life: rest, exercise, prayer or reflection, social time or something that brings you joy are all great resilient building ideas.

Remember structure is good, but your brain enjoys some novelty too!

As we now know, resilience is more of a practice than an ability we’re born with. It’s a state of mind we can all achieve with practice and intentionality! We’d love to hear from you on what you’re doing to build resilience in your own life.