Module 10 Finding Balance & Staying Strong

Strategies to Build Resilience

You are an expert in your own situation and in the types of strategies that may support your wellbeing and build resilience. The HMHF website contains all sorts of information and resources that aim to help you build your own resilience alongside good health and wellbeing.

The suggestions below were retrieved from numerous sources, some research based, others from parents of children with a disability.

Practical strategies

  • Include healthy activity in your week—spend time out even if it is 15 minutes a day doing something for yourself. Replenishing yourself will help you stay energised and avoid feeling depleted.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health because maintaining your health and self-care are the foundation to coping in everyday life.
  • Journaling is a great way to organise your thoughts and experiences. Reflection and writing is an evidence based strategy to improve coping skills and reduce stress for mothers of children with a disability.
  • Scheduling and planning. Remember that an experience provides forewarning about what may occur if a similar event arises. Planning and writing down what you can do to optimise outcomes is useful and research says that actively writing a goal is most likely to result in success and reduction in stress for parents of children with a disability.
  • Talk to others who may have advice or strategies that may help you in your situation. Often others who have managed the same issue are the most informed advisors.
  • Look for the wisdom in a situation. What can be learned from both the good and not so good outcomes. Thinking, writing, talking about what has been learned from a situation is a good way to understand a situation.
  • Mindfulness and meditation and strategies have proven benefits. Learning mindfulness strategies to implement in daily life, and or learning to meditate are skills that will help you manage daily challenges.

Emotional strategies

  • Be kind to yourself. How would you support a good friend who had the same experience? Self- compassion is a cornerstone to building resilience.
  • Spend time with supportive others. Share your feelings. Empathetic people can make us feel so much better.
  • Debrief with a friend. Can they offer a different perspective?
  • Spend time doing enjoyable activities that are completely unrelated to current challenges or problems. Everyone needs a little time to recharge.
  • Let yourself feel disappointed or sad or whatever you need to feel. It’s human. Its okay. You are not a robot. If you can limit the feelings to times when you are likely to have control over the emotion then you will be developing good self-management. If you find it difficult to control or stop distress or intense emotions, find a friend, trusted person or investigate professional options through your GP.
  • Use humour. Find something funny about the situation. Laughing protects us when emotions can be intense. Laughing also reduces build up of stress hormones in a similar way to physical activity.

Physical strategies

  • Rest. Give yourself time to re-energise. Physical exhaustion is real for parents of preschool children and children with disability. With only 24 hours in a day, your body and mind need rest sleep for 6 or 7 (or more if you are lucky!) and time to rest the mind and rest the body.
  • Manage your fatigue. If you are not feeling high on energy, manage the events of your day so that you have the highest energy at the most important times. For example, if you know that school pick up might be challenging, spend the 30 minutes prior preparing your mind, resting your body, enjoying music or something similar.
  • Exercise. Be active. Find something fun that you enjoy, whether it is walking, swimming, gardening or yoga. You will know what you like to do. Fit this in your week 2 or 3 times if you can. If you can’t right now, make a plan to bring physical activity into your life in the near future.
  • Relaxation and or breathing techniques. Developing skills to calm oneself physically has the benefit of calming oneself in all ways—emotionally, cognitively and behaviourally.
Entry last updated 18 February, 2020