Everyone faces crisis or tragedy at least once, or maybe several times in their lives. Presently our world is facing crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, there is an increase in despair. As the months tick by, it is easier and easier to fall into a rut of emotional strife. Rather than tell you that you need to brush it off, today we will talk about how to build some coping and resilience skills to help you not only survive but thrive in these times and into the future.
Disturbing facts about suicides and drug problems in WA over the past few years:
• 2018 – 6 construction workers lost to jobsite accidents and 125 were lost to suicides.
• 2020 – 17 on-the-job fatalities of those 3 were drug overdoses and 3 suicides.
Here are some tools to help build your resilience:
PRACTICE PAUSE: it’s easy to get swept up in anxiety if everything around you feels urgent. So, practice taking a pause to notice your surroundings, your feelings, and your thoughts.
CHOOSE HEALTHY BEHAVIORS: when you feel stressed, instead of picking up the bottle of alcohol, the cigarette or zoning out on social media or TV, try stepping outside and getting a bit of fresh air while stretching, walking, or calling a friend.
SHIFT YOUR MINDSET: a growth mindset can help you more easily overcome adversity. In a growth mindset, you are apt to think things like “my effort and attitude determine my abilities” rather than a fixed mindset that says, “When I am overwhelmed, I give up”. Think of challenges as obstacles you get to overcome and feel a sense of pride, rather than obstacles being presented to hold you back.
MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS: recognize that there are no “bad” emotions. All emotions are valid and necessary, but you get to decide how you respond to them. And you should take time to breathe and respond, rather than react spontaneously to life events.
PRACTICE SELF-CARE: this may conjure up images of bubble baths or going to get a massage, but the true keys to self-care are learning to say no when you are over committed, holding yourself accountable to your personal commitments, making healthy eating and drinking choices, getting good rest, physical movement each day, and using positive self-talk.
Lastly, if we are going to help ourselves through this pandemic, we also need to lookout for one another. We can reduce stigma which will help our friends and colleagues by not shaming people who are struggling, by using encouraging language, and by role modeling healthy coping and resilience skills. If we can keep ourselves in the “growth” zone on the diagram above, then we are helping not only ourselves, but our team. Where are you on the scale? If you aren’t in the growth zone, what is one thing you can do today to get there? Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, some days are going to be harder than others, and set backs will occur, so give yourself some grace and patience and speak encouraging words to yourself about getting backup and facing another day.
Note: This Weekly Safety Meeting Topic Sheet was provided by the AGC of Washington: www.agcwa.com/safety
Remember, safety is built one step at a time!