Looking through the window, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. This may be the last warm sunny day of autumn in the UK.

But I’m into my fourth day of a nasty cold/flu attack (who ever knows the difference between a cold and the flu – especially when you’re in the middle of it).

Reaching for the tissues and paracetamol, I could easily be stressed that I’m indoors and not out walking on this beautiful day. I could ruminate on the time I’ve ‘lost’ this week – time I planned to spend preparing and getting excited for new programmes happening soon.

Out of the depths of my cold/flu, I need to draw on my reserves of resilience and to see this as a roadblock and not a disaster. It’s easy when we feel low or rejected or treated unfairly to catastrophise and magnify the negatives.

As tempting it is to wallow in miserable thoughts (and we all need to do it now and then), staying stuck in negativity and ‘it’s awful’ way of thinking doesn’t help.

Keeping a perspective on our difficulties can put us on the road to solving them. I may not be out walking but I am sitting comfortably with the sunshine streaming through the window. I have this creative task to do which I enjoy and stops me talking – which is beneficial for my croaky voice.

By focusing on what I can do and not what I’m missing out on – by appreciating the positives – I can start to move forward. I can make steps to make things better for myself.

I appreciate this about the small issue of a minor health problem here and life’s bigger challenges like financial uncertainties, workplace bullying, restructuring or more serious physical/mental health problems may seem in a different league. But the more able we are to focus on what we can control rather than what we can’t, the more we build resilience.

Small actions will not solve all our problems but they do help build resilience to get through challenging times:

  • Pump up your positivity – people with an optimistic outlook will survive difficult times more easily – so look out for the people who help you feel more positive whether that’s a colleague, a friend or an inspirational blog/TED talk
  • Think ‘what can I learn from this?’ All challenges present us with opportunities to learn – about yourself, about other people, about what works and what doesn’t
  • Take enormous care of yourself in times of difficulties. Eat well, have plenty of rest, relax and do things that make you feel good
  • Make a realistic and achievable plan. ‘What’s the point?’ kind of thinking makes it worse. Use Springboard’s advice and set small, practical, realistic action points with a timescale. Decide to take a walk at lunchtime or contact a friend this weekend or revamp your CV next week.

Remember you can ………. and you will.

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