Resilience: How to Recover From Unexpected Disaster
Unexpected disaster happens to almost every one of us but having resilience will help us to bounce back from its consequences in most situations. How we deal with challenges will determine the direction our life takes going forward. We can let an unexpected disaster destroy our dreams, pulverize our mindset, and keep us powerless. Or we can find empowering ways to recover, learn, grow, and become stronger despite our challenges so we can build resilience.
During the pandemic, we dealt with a myriad of the unexpected. We were cowering in our homes, afraid to go outside because of COVID. At the time so many stressful and unexpected events took place in our nation and around the world. But through it, many of us learned what resilience is. Because we had to be resilient.Get 40% Off Laura Geller makeup on orders of $65 or more. Use coupon G40.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to recover from and adapt to difficult situations and failures. We develop resilience through adversity but we can also build resistance by being proactive and maintaining a growth mindset. Even in the face of adversity, resilient people can maintain their sense of well-being and excel.
Here are some examples of unexpected disasters:
- You lose your spouse to death or divorce;
- You suddenly lose your job;
- You are a loved one gets a diagnosis
We weren’t born with or without resilience. It’s a skill that can be honed and refined, usually through challenges.
Personal, unexpected disaster comes in many forms, such as:
Your Kid’s Dad Dies or Leaves Unexpectedly
It can feel like the end of the world when your spouse dies even if you expected it due to his illness. Or he leaves you unexpectedly to care for your children alone. During the pandemic social distancing may also have added to the unexpected dissolution of relationships. Some couples can’t withstand the difficulties of spending so much time together indoors, unfortunately.
The New York Post reports a major surge in divorces due to COVID.
I wonder, though, if the break up of these marriages wasn’t a long time coming. It’s possible that quarantine forced these couples to deal with their situation head-on. Some choose to battle through others, give up, or recognize the end.
Regardless of the reason, no one plans a divorce or breakup. At least I hope people don’t, especially with kids in the mix. And though it’s expected at times, we seldom plan for the death of a spouse. Still, we build resilience when we learn how to cope and deal with these unexpected disasters.
So if this is you, you’ll need to find ways to cope. It will prepare you to move forward and develop a new life for you and your children.
Like Shaniqua Garvin whose husband died at 39 years old which left her alone to take care of their young son. Or Lydia Cicarelli who found herself homeless when her son’s dad locked them out of their home. It’s never something we see coming.
Also, when I came home from work one day and found my house in shambles I realized my husband had taken every useful item from our home and hightailed it out of our lives. I panicked. I fell apart. And then I worked to put our lives back together. It wasn’t easy but it helped me build resilience.
You find ways to manage to move forward. Not just for the kids. You keep going for you as well.
I recently interview Jenny Lisk host of the Widowed Parent podcast. She lost her husband to brain cancer and showed her resilience by how she supported her children while they grieved. Jenny also started a podcast while she was grieving. During our interview, she shared some relevant tips that can help you through the grieving process. Watch the interview below. And then check out The Widowed Parent Podcast for more resources.
You Lost Your Job
During the 2006–09 financial crisis, my fledgling real estate business collapsed. It was a new career path for me. I had done well in the first nine months. But I was still dealing with the fallout from my divorce.
The unexpected disaster of losing my source of income, while falling behind on my bills, threatened to end my life. Literally. I wanted to die because I couldn’t see a way out of the mess.
But being a solo mom, I had no choice but to look for ways out of my predicament. I had to look out for the children entrusted to me. I couldn’t be selfish and end my life because what would happen to them? These were the thoughts going through my mind at the time. I had to build resilience if not for me, for my kids.
I realized I wasn’t bound to my circumstances. If the circumstances didn’t change, then I had to change. Change for us at the time meant moving cross country to a new state.
The solution for me then was to pack up and move nine hundred miles away to work in a temporary job. It was a crazy move, but I did what I needed to so my kids and I could recover.
Once we found a new home, I tried to create a sense of belonging to our new community for my family. I joined a church, participated in group discovery, and volunteered in ministry. That’s resilience.
I found a mentor for one of my sons. I threw myself into my work. These things helped me to find a kind of balance in my new situation. Even though I was always tired, scared, and felt alone.
You Are Diagnosed With A Serious Illness
Studies show that 12 million adults and 400,000 children are living with serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart or kidney disease, and dementia. The diagnosis of a serious illness can be very scary. That diagnosis depending on the prognosis can bring a whole host of worries along with it.
You or your loved ones will wonder how to pay for treatment if you do not have health insurance. You will fret over whether you will live to see your daughter walk down the aisle. You may worry if you will see your son graduate from college. But one of the ways to build resilience while you deal with a serious diagnosis is to step back and breathe a little.
Acknowledge the diagnosis. Let it sink in. What is this that I “have”? And how will it affect my life going forward? You may also try to decide who you can count on to help you cope with your new normal. Friends, family, and even your children can be a warm source of support. Because you don’t have to build resilience on your own. The idea is to use all your resources so you can strengthen your resilience and bounce back from unexpected disasters where possible.
Keep the lines of communication open with your doctor and caregivers. But don’t neglect to research your illness. Be careful not to use what you read on the internet as gospel. Question everything. Get a second opinion if in doubt. Do everything you can to maintain control, while still leaning on your support system.
Chris Wark talks about his journey after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. His story could be an inspiration to you and may help you find your center.
Your diagnosis could be common diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Being common doesn’t mean they are not serious. The long-term consequences of lifestyle diseases are still detrimental to your wellbeing. These common diseases still demand specific attention, support, and treatment.
If you are a solo mom awaiting admittance to the hospital, you may wonder what to do with your children. How are you going to survive knowing your children may not get the care they need?
You have legitimate concerns amid what might be a terrifying time for you. But, this is a time to take a moment to examine your situation. Now is the time to get the help you need and plan for the future.
May I dare say it’s time to depend on the Lord for strength, guidance, and hope.
How to Help Yourself Build Resilience
Resilience is a skill that can be learned and improved. Steps we can take to strengthen our resilience include:
- Improving Your Mental Attitude
- Building strong connections
- Learning stress-management coping strategies.
- Taking care of our physical, spiritual, and mental well-being.
Resilience is essential for your survival, particularly as a solo mom. It can help you navigate life’s difficulties and emerge stronger than before.
One brilliant way to keep your resolve is to practice self-care. It may seem a strange thing to suggest in the middle of an unexpected disaster but to build resilience you’ll need to garner strength wherever you can. One way is to take care of yourself if only with small actions.
Self-care tips to build resilience:
If you are a solo mom, an unexpected disaster can heighten its devastating effect. A solid co-parenting partner, committed family member, or supportive friend can help. Find a way to reach out. You will be amazed at the help you will receive. Solid support will help you build resilience so you can bounce back from unexpected disasters.
And remember, you are not alone.
Originally published on Medium on June 23, 2020.