When I coach teens and students coming up against blocks--emotional ones like feeling stuck or classic academic ones like writer’s blocks--we have a phrase-to-live-by that applies every time. “Give yourself what you need.” Before we can lean into work and life, we often need to acknowledge our emotions and unmet needs that are what’s actually behind the block. For writers we need to “compose ourselves before we compose.” For people facing crisis while also maintaining everyday life, we need to “get in tune with ourselves” and take stock of our emotions and where our minds and bodies need support.
Emotions are often telling us what we need and they try to work on our behalf. They are the messengers of how to grow resilience--when we respond to and regulate our emotions in healthy ways, we can know what we need and maintain our strength in order to expand our capacity to bounce back. We can use our voices to build resilience right now--the power of naming is available for you to use.
Here are 4 ways to engage your voice in boosting your resilience.
1. Name your exact emotions
In a crisis, we may need to be extra diligent to check in with ourselves, maybe even hourly check-ins for many of us. Am I feeling deflated or distracted? Am I feeling grateful or content? Am I feeling lost or out of control? It is a powerful act to name the exact emotion and then give ourselves what we need in order to acknowledge, process, and move forward, more in tune with ourselves and our emotions.
And, when we share these emotions outwardly with a trusted friend or loved one, we can more likely move forward despite or with the emotion. The following lovely saying also happens to be useful: A burden shared is a burden halved.
2. Name your needs
How much are you in the habit of verbalizing your needs? Living in a space with the same people day after day and staying home has a poignant way of making us face ourselves and feel our needs. Let’s give ourselves what we need--a light-hearted film that gives us a break from thinking about the crisis, an hour of quiet alone time, or a heartfelt conversation with a loved one. There’s never been a more pointed time for many of us than right now when it comes to needing to use our voices to name our needs.
3. Name your community-care tools
It’s not just about self-care to feel more resilient. We need other’s support in this effort. We need self-care and community-care. For community-care, give and get. Boost your own happiness by doing acts of kindness or making something beautiful to give to someone. Your own joy grows when you spread joy. And invite someone into your thoughts and experience right now. It’s an honor to be someone’s “real talk” conversation partner.
You can also try out some playful and honest ways to connect with your community. Group online trivia nights, virtual magazine article or book clubs, film viewings and discussions. We are communal creatures and we need authentic connection to maintain our strength. We can refuel our strength during crisis by trying out new self-care tools. As my friend who went grocery shopping in a ball gown said, if not now, when? Try out a new well-being tool and try them out with your community.
4. Name (and work) your self-care plans
Self-care often can’t be an all-day affair, so we need to build in short pauses in our day to maintain our peace and groundedness. Light a candle, play a favorite song, turn our face toward the sun and soak it in. Any act to honor our worth, even for a moment. Or take real time: take a gratitude walk, take a long nap, take an online course, take a “do nothing” day.
It’s so easy to read the many posts of self-care checklists going around social media, and then let them float on by. Next time you hear an idea or see a list of self-care ideas, try one. It’s the art of giving yourself what you need. What would be different for you if you acted on one new idea from all the collective knowledge being shared right now?
In our most recent SparkVoice workshop, the girls and I came up with practical tools to know, grab, and use when we need them in this intense time. I’m using these tools more than ever. I’m teaching what I need these days more than I ever have before. Life is a lot right now. Give yourself what you need to grow your resilience. These are pressure-filled days where you and your amazing strength and resilience can shine extra honest and extra beautiful.
Know a teen who would be inspired by this conversation and more like it? Our teen confidence and well-being camp is available in our shop. For girls wanting to go deeper in the topic of friendship and sparking amazing community, SparkVoice is launching a new 6-week series. Visit the shop for more details.
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