Building resilience during difficult times

Moving into the New Year 2021, the uncertainty of local COVID-19 cases reducing brought the country to a state of second lockdown in targeted states. The impact of the second lockdown have been speculated to be more on economic sectors and businesses in the country.

The question we often ask is how do we get through this difficult time. How to build resilience?

Resilience by definition is the ability to bounce back and overcome hardship. But is resilience something we are all born with? It is built over time; through life experiences interacting with our unique predisposition and genetic makeup. This clearly explains why we respond to stress and adversity—differently!

Here are THREE suggested ways of building resilience during the second lockdown.

  1. Offload the Negative Side

Imagine resilience as a balance scale. For some people during the lockdown, the resilience scale may look like this:

Key is to lighten the load on the negative side of the resilience scale by reducing sources of stress.

  • First, address basic needs like food, shelter, diapers, health care, child care, and internet access — Seek assistance if needed.
  • Unemployed adults can seek for assistance through applying for governmental financial assistance.
  • Closed schools/preschool/childcare centres — schools or centres can create and provide children’s activity kits (colouring books, word searches, puzzles, workbooks, craft supplies, etc.) to give parents and caregivers a break and reduce stress of looking for online class resources.
  • Adults to practice self-care—taking a few minutes for themselves, going for a walk, or getting plenty of rest.
  • Organisations can make sure staff are aware of and taking advantage of employee benefits— employee assistance programs, mental health counselling, and paid time off.


  1. Add Up the Positive Side

Build the positive side of the resilience scale by adding on positive experiences—through responsive relationships.

  • Nurture and encourage connections with family and friends — Even though maintaining physical distance is required; calls, video chat, emailing the people we care about can protect our emotional well-being.
  • Children’s development doesn’t pause during a crisis— supporting that development and building resilience doesn’t have to take a lot of effort or extra time. Little things that can be done is as simple as a hug a day, or a response when your child is showing you their toys/art work.
  • Adults can take a break every now and then from work and engage in play with their children. Playing with a child is a great way to relieve some stress for all!


  1. Strengthen the balance

Pivot scale toward positive outcomes by strengthening core life skills.

Core life skills during the pandemic, involves planning trips to the grocery store or market, filling out forms for loan relief, navigating support programs, managing work, home, and caring for children. Strengthening these skills with small but helpful supports, like:

  • Signing up for text reminders apps of important appointments.
  • Using tools such as grocery list apps, menu planners, and daily schedules (and posting them for the whole family to see)
  • Creating step-by-step checklists for accessing relief loans and filling out important applications.

Taking these measures to ensure loads are lifted from negative outcomes to the positive may assist in reducing unwanted stress and provide great support to one’s mental wellbeing during difficult times!


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