The Importance of Good Self-Care

In my previous post I touched on the importance of good self-care and I want to explore that a little more. The evidence from my research shows that people who have high self-confidence tend to take really good care of themselves.

They are good at self-care and make it a priority in their lives. This can feel strange to some people who weren’t taught that growing up, and it can seem self-centered. But the truth is, it’s not. You have to take care of yourself because honestly, you’re the only one who really can.

  • Your Happiness Depends on It – You are the only person who truly knows who you are, what you want, and why. Essentially, every single one of us is alone with our own thoughts, morals, and actions. They affect us the most when we put ourselves last. If you want to be happy, you must not just be good to others but be good to yourself too.
  • Your Health Depends on It – When you are focused on self-care, you’re also focused on being healthy, eating right, exercising, and staying hydrated. Being healthy means that you take care of yourself and put your health needs before the wants of others, or even your own destructive wants. It’s the highest form of self-love.
  • You Can’t Help Others Unless You Help You First – By now you’ve heard the story that the flight attendant shares if you’ve been on a plane or watched a movie. If the oxygen mask comes down, you must put yours on first before you can take care of someone else’s mask. The reason is that without oxygen you will pass out and you can’t help anyone if you’re not there. If you’re not putting yourself as a priority for the things you need in life, you won’t be good for anyone else.
  • You Become More Likable – It may seem counter-intuitive but when you practice self-care, people tend to like you more. That’s because you will have a different attitude. You’ll seem well rested, well fed, and relaxed. Plus, when you are happy, it spreads like wildfire and makes others happy too. People like people due to how they feel when they’re around them.
  • You’re Worth It – The main thing to remember is that you are worth the self-care that you give yourself. You should take care of yourself as well as you would any child, an aging parent, or friend. You’re your best friend and your best advocate, and sometimes the only one who can make the choices.

When you want to be more self-confident, taking care of your needs is the first step. When you are happy, healthy, and less stressed out because you give yourself the time and effort you need, you will simply be happier. When you are happier, you will appear more self-confident and more people will gravitate toward you because of that.

6 Tips for Building Resilience to Stress

Stress is all around us in the modern world, and can really wear us down if we are not careful, leading to all sorts of personal and health issues. Whether it’s the stress that can come from having to find a new job or dealing with all that is involved in Christmas people find many different situations stressful. Building up your resilience to stress is one of the best way of coping with it, so that you bounce back more quickly from tough times rather than get swamped by them. Here are several ways you can build resilience to stress so you don’t burn out.

1. Put together a powerful support network

Studies have shown that those with the best support network are often the most resilient. They know their friends and family will help them in stressful times and are not afraid to ask for assistance for fear of seeming weak. They say what they need and will return the favor whenever the other person needs it.

2. Practice good self-care

Stress can have an extremely negative effect on both physical and mental health. Eating right, exercising, getting eight hours of sleep a night, and avoiding negative coping behaviors (such as smoking tobacco, using illicit drugs, or drinking alcohol) can all help them avoid burnout.

3. Learn from past experiences

Dealing with stress successfully often means dealing with stressful situations and learning from them, so the next time something similar happens you will be prepared. It sounds terrible to say it, but it is only through the illness and death of a loved one that a person will really learn how to cope with these types of situations.

Through getting support and overcoming these issues, you set a pattern for success. You don’t feel powerless – you are able to take action and produce the results you wish for.

4. Be flexible

A lot of stress comes from an “Oh, no!” attitude that makes you tense and unable to deal with the situation in a calm manner. Being flexible – that is, rolling with the changes through understanding that change is a natural part of life, can lower your stress response and make it easier to deal with issues in a calm, practical way. Stuff happens. Deal with it. Then move on to the next challenge.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

If you stress over every little thing, you will always be stressed. That being the case, learn to let go and not stress over things that in the long run will really make very little difference. If you get upset, think, “Will I remember this issue a week from now? A year from now?” If the answer is no, deal with it as best you can and move on.

6. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

When we are under stress, it’s easy to focus on the negative and the present struggle we are facing. But if we take a moment to think about all we are grateful for, it can add a whole new appreciation for life. Thinking about the best things in your life you are grateful for can change your perspective and mood completely.

Stress nowadays is an inescapable part of life, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Work on building your resistance to stress and see what a difference it can make in your life.

Being Resilient – You Are Not Alone!

Remember You are Not Alone! In the final post in this short series on being resilient I wanted to look at how we can call on those we know to support us because we do not have to deal with things on our own.

In times of crisis, you can believe that you have to go it alone, but look around at your family, friends and Personal Learning Network  and you will probably find that you can put together a support team and lean on them as needed.  You might have a mentor, coach or role model who can help guide you through the situation. Or, you can learn all you can and come up with an action plan for dealing with whatever situation has arisen.

Whenever something challenging happens to us, we can feel as if we are the only person in the world that it has ever happened to. The truth is, it has probably happened to many other people as well and they too have had to learn about being resilient. Examples include being made redundant,  divorce, the loss of a loved one, a fire destroying our home, and so on. Fortunately, there are trained professionals who have experience dealing with these issues.

There are also ordinary people who have faced the same issues and come out the other side having learned a lot of valuable lessons about being resilient along the way. You might be able to connect with them in person via local support groups, or meet up with them online and share experiences.

For example, it can be really tough to be diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. Going online to learn as much as you can about your condition and treatment options is often one of the best ways to get a good outcome. Reading successful treatment stories can give you a positive outlook, which can lead to a better outcome.

If one of your family members becomes ill, you might suddenly be thrust into the role of a caregiver, a gatekeeper who learns about all of the aspects of the condition, and a cheerleader as you try to put a brave face on things for the sake of your sick loved one. All of this can lead to stress and caregiver burnout if you don’t pace yourself and take steps to ensure you get the support you need.

Being resilient does not mean going it alone. It means knowing what you need, asking for it, and doing your best no matter what the situation, through the smart choices you make. Over time, even the toughest situations will become easier because you have developed resilience.

Final Thoughts

Many people think how fortunate some people are because they appear so resilient, and make it seem so easy to cope with even the worst times. They look as though they are always in charge, and have their act together no matter what life throws at them.

The truth is that the road to being resilient is about developing a set of skills and a mental attitude. They are skills you can develop if you are willing to put in the effort to work on your preparedness in the face of tough situations. Only by dealing with challenges can you rise to them, and become a more resilient person able to succeed in life no matter what the odds.

How We Can Be More Resilient

Having looked in my last post at the sort of situations that can require us to be more resilient I know want to look at some of the  factors that can contribute to resilience. If you already possess them, that’s great. If you don’t, then it might be time to work on them. I know as someone who is currently looking for a new role as a Learning and Development Professional they are areas that I am very focused on.

Close Family and Community

Studies have shown that one of the primary factors in developing resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within the family, and outside of it as well. Solid role models you can rely on will help. So too will having a network of people you trust who will offer encouragement, constructive feedback and opinions without trying to smother you.

This kind of support gives you the self-confidence to bounce back when times get tough. It can also take you out of yourself as you care for others in return, being the strong one when circumstances present themselves and need to be dealt with calmly and practically.


Resilient people set goals for themselves, then take steps to achieve them. They follow through. They also tend to be good communicators who say what they mean and mean what they say.

They are practical, but also see the potential in situations and people. They don’t have tunnel vision, but rather, an image of what they wish their future to be like. That image drives them towards success and prevents setbacks from making them give up completely.

They accept that change is a part of living, and that even if one door closes, another will open. They aren’t afraid to make the most of opportunities that arise. Even if the make a wrong decision or “fail”, they learn from their mistakes and move on, usually stronger than before.

A resilient person knows the difference between things they can change and things they can’t, and applies their energy accordingly. They don’t stick their head in the sand, but face their problems head on. They don’t keep trying the same ineffective strategy over and over again hoping they will eventually get a different result.

Emotionally Aware

Resilient people also tend to be emotionally aware. They are able to manage strong feelings and impulses without being overwhelmed by them. They often possess high emotional intelligence as well, understanding the thoughts, feelings and difficulties others are going through. They go out of their way to help people, confident in their own ability to give assistance to others in some way. They don’t just give a fish; they teach people how to fish so that they too can be resilient.

Resilient people have a positive outlook on life, not a negative one. They don’t see problems; they see challenges that can be overcome. They look forward to the future with confidence, secure in the knowledge that they have faced tough times before and will be able to do so again whenever they arise.

Studies show that those with a sense of humor also tend to be more resilient. They can find something amusing in even the toughest situations. The laughter removes stress and helps them soldier on.

Good Self-Care

Resilient people also practice good self-care. They don’t neglect themselves to the point where they are running on an empty fuel tank. They eat right, exercise, manage stress, and allow themselves some personal time and space.

They understand that if they don’t look after themselves first, they won’t be able to care for others. They want to be their best self and live their best life. They set themselves self-improvement tasks that they follow through with.

Able to Learn and Grow

Resilient people look for opportunities to learn and grow. They trust their instincts and visualize their actions as being a path to success. Many resilient people meditate, journal, keep a vision board, and tackle their to-do lists like pros.

They are good at time management and are dependable and responsible. This in turn means less stress and less difficulty because they are not causing themselves problems through, for example, procrastination and other bad habits.

In Control of One’s Life

Above all, a resilient person feels that they are in control of their life no matter what happens. They might not have a choice about what happens, but they do have a choice about how to react to it. They explore their choices in an effort to make smart decisions.

The modern world is full of stressful situations, both great and small. From being cut road on the road on our way to work, to the loss of a job or death of a loved one, events happen to us every day that we need to cope with. Freaking out will rarely help. Neither will burying your head in the sand and hoping it will go away.

Resilience is all about making an active decision and sticking to it. If someone cuts you off, you have two choices: get angry and perhaps make the situation worse, or decide it’s not worth getting upset about and not dwelling on it.

Similarly, the loss of a job can be devastating to some people, or a golden opportunity – depending on one’s perspective. If you were working long hours every day at the job and were never appreciated, being made redundant could be the best thing that ever happened to you. It can free you up for all new and even better opportunities. If you act like it’s a disaster and the end of the world, you will only be making a tough situation worse.

Similarly, we hate to see anyone we care about suffer, but you can either get upset, or get information about the situation and see what your options are. Your “Oh, no!” can become, “Yes, this is tough, but I am going to do my best to deal with this.”

In the next post in this short series I will take a look at how we can create a supportive network for ourselves and get the support we need.

When Might We Need To Be Resilient?

In the previous post I looked at what we mean by resilience and now want to look at when we might need to be resilient. Resilience is a useful character trait that some say increases with age. When we are young, we learn over time that we can’t get everything we want. We also discover that bad things do happen to good people, and with each challenge, we learn how to deal with the bad as well as the good in life.

For example, it’s nice to win when we play a game, but chances are that we can’t win every time. Can we shrug off a loss as “no big deal” or get upset about it and potentially be seen as a sore loser? Or want to quit entirely? Think about Michael Phelps. He is probably one of the greatest Olympians of all time, but I am fairly certain that even he has lost a few races on the way to getting there.

In fact, his first games when he was 16 could well have been his last, since his performance was less than impressive. But he has shown persistence and resilience in the face of tough times throughout his career that would have made others who were less resilient give up and retire.

We would all love to get 100% on every test at school, but it’s often when we make mistakes and get a less than perfect score that the real learning occurs.

As we grow up, we get exposed to more and more situations in which we have choices about what to do. Supportive parents will give advice and encouragement in order to increase our ability to think independently and develop resilience.

“Helicopter” parents who constantly hover over their children, and/or try to protect or shield them from anything bad in life, obviously care about their kids. However, they may be doing them a severe disservice by not allowing them to be exposed to situations that could develop and improve their resilience.

We can probably remember big events in our lives, such as a pet dying, changing houses, or a parent becoming sick. We might also remember seeing someone being bullied and needing to decide what to do in that situation. Did we just walk away, pretending it wasn’t happening? Did we run to get a teacher or other adult? Or did we try to stop the bullying then and there because we had confidence in ourselves and knew it was the right thing to do?

Sometimes our good actions don’t always have the effect we had hoped for. Did you ever have a situation in which you tried to do the right thing, but it backfired? Did you consider you had failed? Or was it a learning moment in which you learned how to deal with things better the next time something similar happened?

Being resilient does not mean being perfect. It doesn’t mean being free of difficulties or worries. It is only natural to feel sad and pained if something major happens in your life. What being resilient does mean is being able to find a road back to emotional stability and a happy life rather than allowing the event to cripple you to a point where you find it hard to move on.

You might wish to get a promotion at work, but seem to be hitting a glass ceiling all the time. In this case, there are several things you can do.

  • Quit in a huff
  • Give up and look for another job elsewhere
  • Assess your performance honestly to see where you might be lacking
  • Take on a new project that could make a real difference to the company
  • Get more training in particular areas where you feel you could be stronger
  • Start your own business in order to use all of the skills and talents you feel are going to waste in your current position

…and so on.

As you can see, there are many different choices in this situation. In some cases, doing several at the same time can add up to big results. The one thing that a resilient person does not do is give up and do nothing, or act as though their entire life was over.

An honest self-assessment could lead you to an entirely new career path you might not have thought of. Getting more training can also open new doors. Starting your own business will always involve some sacrifice in the beginning, such as giving up TV and lazy weekends. However, it could mean more money and a more comfortable financial set of circumstances, so that if you get a £1,000 car repair bill all of a sudden, you won’t need to worry about it because you have the cash in the bank.

There are many difficult situations in life that require resilience, such as:

  • Sickness
  • The death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • The break-up of an important relationship
  • The loss of a job
  • Money issues
  • An accident
  • A natural disaster

In many instances, it isn’t a case of IF, but WHEN a difficult life event will arise.

That being the case, the more you can do to prepare yourself mentally for these kinds of challenges, the more you can develop your resilience. In the next post I will take a look at how we can become more resilient.