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Strengthen our Resilience through Social Emotional Learning

By Nora Elisa Barbosa

March 26, 2021

A year has passed since we started the quarantine. Twelve months ago we did not know how long our confinement would last, or how long we would have to do our daily activities from home.

We began by perceiving an atmosphere of empathy and unity: we came across people and companies sharing their services for free, neighbors meeting at a certain time of the day to applaud, sing or delight those who were nearby, children happy to be able to be at home while taking their classes, and social networks were filled with messages of hope and motivation.

Now, after these months of confinement, many things seem to have changed: the applauses and birthday caravans in the streets have changed for fines for not wearing masks or for holding meetings with a certain number of people, people are now tired of screen time and we long for going out and being able to study, work and interact face to face with the people we love.

Adults and children are physically and psychologically exhausted. In psychological clinics, symptoms related to anxiety, apathy, frustration, irritability or lack of motivation are increasingly present, many of them also accompanied by other more physical symptoms, such as sleep disorders, headaches, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue. The WHO has called this set of symptoms "pandemic fatigue."


While it is true that we can perceive some of these symptoms in the people with whom we relate to more frequently, it is also true that not everyone seems to be affected in the same way. Why is this so? Because of the way in which each one uses their coping tools to deal with the various situations that arise every day and learn from them to be stronger, that is related to how resilient we are.


What is the best part of this? That resilience is like an emotional "muscle" that can be exercised to strengthen it. Precisely today, March 26 we celebrate the International Day of Socio-Emotional Learning, and I would like to take this moment to share 10 Tips to be more Resilient.

Tip # 1: Identify and validate your feelings

All emotions are valid, happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, etc. ALL! What we choose to do with them is what makes the difference. Don't try to minimize or hide your feelings, rather, use them to your advantage!


Tip # 2: Identify past situations in which you have been resilient

We have all gone through difficult times in our lives, from a competition when we were children, a change of house or city, attending a new school in adolescence, the loss of a loved one, etc. What did we do in these moments to be able to move forward? What did we learn from this experience? Recognizing your strengths in difficult situations will make you realize your ability to assertively face yet another challenge.


Tip # 3: Don't wait for the situation to resolve itself.

Resilient people have a proactive attitude when faced with a difficult situation. What am I going to do? What do I need to fix it? Is there someone who can help me? Take action on the matter and review different solutions for the situation you are experiencing.


Tip # 4: Think of different possible solutions and compare them

Brainstorming about different ways of dealing with a situation and reviewing the consequences of each will give you more information to be able to choose the best one and apply it. What if the option you chose turned out not to be the best? Do not give up! Review your brainstorming again and choose another alternative, you could even combine several.


Tip # 5: Recognize your strengths and use them

Think about positive qualities that you identify in yourself or that others have told you that you have. It can be the ability to put what you think into words, creativity when thinking of different ideas to solve a difficult situation, habits or routines that positively help in coping, or even your circle of friends. All of this adds up and makes the solution easier to carry out.


Tip # 6: Take Advantage of Your Support Team

Resilient people seek help in dealing with difficult situations. It can be a friend, family member, partner, or a therapist or professional on the subject. There is always someone who can contribute something positive and who lightens the feeling of burden in a difficult moment.


Tip # 7: Choose what is important to consider when sharing with others

Remembering past situations that have already been resolved will awaken the emotions that we experienced at that time again. It doesn't matter if they are difficult, happy or distressing moments, when we share them, we relive the way we feel. Forgiving, forgetting, and turning the page will help you stay positive and increase your optimism.


Tip # 8: Find Your Favorite Way to Take a Break

Just as plants need water and the body needs rest, we need to do activities that we enjoy for our emotional well-being. Chatting with our loved ones, listening to the music we like, taking a walk alone or with our pets, are activities that cause the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that contribute to our feeling of happiness. 


Tip # 9: Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness exercises of being in the here and now, also contributes to our emotional well-being. Take a few minutes each day to take mindful breaths and set an intention in your thoughts. It will help you feel relaxed and happy.


Tip # 10: Be compassionate to yourself and acknowledge how adversity has made you stronger

The greater the struggle, the greater the satisfaction obtained. We have all been through difficult situations and many times we focus on our faults and weaknesses more than our strengths and the attitude that helped us get ahead. Realizing how much you have accomplished and appreciating the successes you have achieved will contribute to higher self-esteem and consequently increase your resilience.


Just as adults can follow these tips to increase our resilience, the children in our school receive Socio-Emotional Learning classes, guided by the team of counselors, in which they acquire and practice coping tools for difficult situations, as well as self-care strategies and assertive social relationships that guides them towards greater socio-emotional well-being.


Happy Social Emotional Learning Day!

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