QUESTION: I'm trying to get better at managing everyday pressures and setbacks. How can I teach myself to be more resilient?
DR. JESS: I want to normalize that experience. We are living in a time where people do have so much more they're expected to be able to do. With that, there comes setbacks. With that, there comes disappointment.
The best thing I think people can do to build resilience is to keep trying! Keep working at those things that you're passionate about. Keep building new skills. Go back into those things that maybe you would have loved to do if time were no issue. There are several people that I have talked to who have picked up painting, drawing, and writing. They're trying to test and use parts of their minds that they haven't before, and they walk away feeling like this is a skill that they didn't know they had. Even if you're not great at it, it's still just something that you're doing to show yourself that there is so much you can do and accomplish.
So, that's what I mean when I say to keep trying and keep doing things. That's what's going to build resilience. You're going to see that you are so capable and see all the things you can do.
That helps you to ultimately process the inevitable, which is that we can't do everything, and that's OK. You will have setbacks. You will have things that don't go your way. But again, you're going to look at all that you've accomplished and can do as a sign that you can get through that setback, too.
You can also take breaks to build resilience. That is a part of self-care: assessing that, today, things might be more difficult than you anticipated, and you're just going to rest. Maybe you'll take a relaxing bath or shower and try again the next day. That's like practicing self-compassion, which I think is important for self-care as well.