Fostering Professional Resilience

tiny white flower broke through dry cracked earth

This article was contributed by Dr. Mona Johnson. 

Resilience is how we weather the storms in our lives and rebound after difficulty (Aguilar, 2018). It is the process of bouncing-back and adapting well through hard times, trauma, tragedy or major sources of stress.

Resilience involves reflecting, and in turn, intentionally altering our own behavior, thoughts, and actions. Key ingredients to fostering our own resilience include regularly embracing flexibility and being adaptable; purposefully connecting with others for social-emotional support; staying grounded and connected to our shared sense of purpose; and most importantly continuing to focus on hope – maintaining an optimistic state of mind based on expectation of positive outcomes.

Tips to fostering individual resilience:

  • Reflect on core values. Decide to live and work every day in a way that is consistent with being your best self.
  • Live in congruence. This means your feelings, actions & thoughts are aligned and visible outwardly day-to-day through word & deed.
  • Develop & maintain healthy boundaries.
    • Be responsible for your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Don’t blame other people or situations.
    • Don’t care-take or take responsibility for fixing other’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. Allow them to experience and manage those things for themselves.
  • Develop, and more importantly, consistently PRACTICE SELF-CARE – particularly during times of high stress. Self-care investments fuel our resilience.

Reflection Questions:

  1. On a scale of 1(low) through 5(high) how would you rate your level of resilience right now? Why?
  2. Identify two (or more) actions you can take immediately to actively cultivate/foster your own resilience.

Content adapted from Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Augilar (2018) and COVID-19 Guidance for Building Resilience in the Workplace (WA DOH, August, 2020)