Resilience by Nicola Allen

It’s good to be resilient; or is it?

Last year was not my finest. In fact, it was one of my most challenging. It wasn’t all bad, there were many celebrations. I became an Aunty for the first time, I enjoyed a milestone birthday and I moved into a lovely new home. However, interspersed with these happy times were several events which challenged my mental health. The house move was forced upon me with little notice, a beloved pet died unexpectedly, I had abdominal surgery which I had been avoiding for seven years out of fear, and just before Christmas, a dear friend passed away after a long illness.

Initially, I kept my head down and soldiered on, but as the year progressed, I realised that I didn’t feel quite right; my energy levels were low, and I felt a bit sad a lot of the time. Whilst trying to maintain business as usual, my own wellbeing suffered. I needed to do something. I read books and articles, spoke to friends and colleagues, and heard the same word over and over – resilience. 

Google define resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness” 

Resilience is often discussed in workshops and various self-help resources. It seems that resilience is something we should all aspire to have all the time – or should we?

I agree that constant rumination is often unhelpful. It is necessary to find a way to pick yourself up and move on when possible and/or with assistance. What worries me, is resilience is all about doing that quickly. Sometimes life is just a little bit too big, we need to stand still, retreat, and be kind to ourselves, however long that takes.

Last year taught me the importance of taking the time to be with, and really feel, my emotions rather than blocking them out. I am now in a place where most of the time I feel comfortable telling the people closest to me when I am struggling. I also tell myself that these feelings are valid, that things will return to normal, maybe that day, maybe that week, maybe longer.

Of course, those people who can bounce back easily should, in some cases, be commended. We all experience different things in different ways and as long as we are moving at our own pace, that’s what matters.  We should also celebrate those who recognise they need space and are brave enough to take it without feeling as though they have to rush back in with a big smile.

It’s okay to struggle, it is okay to need time and sometimes it is okay not to be strong – because not being strong does not mean you are weak.

Turning 40 last year gave Nicola Allen the nudge she needed to get started as a freelance writer and she is delighted to be one of the newest members of the Royal Rose regular contributor family. This opportunity has given her the freedom to write about the things that matter and to share her voice.
When she is not writing, Nicola is usually found watching live music, visiting bookshops or trying really hard not to eat chocolate (and usually failing).
You can follow her on Twitter @nicola_allen

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