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10 Tips for Building Resilience and Staying Positive

May 27, 2020 4:28 PM

10 Tips for Building Resilience and Staying Positive

As a college student, you may be well acquainted with feeling overwhelmed – and likely you have adopted coping strategies of your own. But given the current COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on your career plans, you may be feeling a greater sense of disorientation, powerlessness, and isolation. And while we all have little control over the progression of world events, what we do have control over is our response. Learning to respond well to change is an essential skill, in life, and in your career. 

Here are tips for responding well:

1.Make the most of this unforeseen time.

When plans don’t pan out as you hoped, it’s important to look for the silver linings to circumstances. The old adage “Turning lemons into lemonade” may serve as a beneficial stance during these times. If your internship has been cancelled, for example, consider using this time to focus on areas of your life that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Consider the common interview question, “Tell me a time when something didn’t go your way – how did you respond?” Use this as an opportunity to show a positive response – and how you (and this future employer) benefited!  

2.Build/nurture connections/network.

As the world has shuttered, feelings of isolation grow. Seeking connections with peers and professionals alike can help you weather the storm while also advancing your career/industry knowledge. Reach out to professionals who are working in a role/industry you aspire to for aninformational interview. Use the Career Center’s student/alumni network to identify professionals in your field.

3.Get your ducks in a row.

Now might be the time to address areas of your life that you’ve had to put on the back burner. Consider sharpening your knowledge in an area that you lacked the time to work on. Whether it’s learning to cook better (or trying a new dish), organizing a closet, photos, reading a book, or listening to a podcast, etc. Career-wise, this might mean updating your resume, and crafting your LinkedIn presence or website. Eventually the pace of life will resume, and you will come out feeling a bit more organized, confident, and a step ahead.

4.Give back/volunteer.

Shifting your focus to those in greater need can do wonders for helping you put life in perspective while increasing your sense of connections.  As with other national crises in history, building human capital (and your resume – as a silver lining!), can be very fulfilling and soul nurturing.

5.Prioritize your health.

You’ve heard it said, the benefits of exercise are numerous! Now is the time to get outside and walk, bike, garden, bird watch, etc. If you can, start and end your day outdoors. Try to tune in to nature and turn off artificial devices that detract from it. When our bodies are stressed, we need to fuel it with foods that give us energy and increase our ability to fight off illness. Find simple ways to ramp up fruits and veggies – and eliminate processed foods as much as you can. Keep it simple – and allow for indulgences now and then!

 6.Get creative.

Although life may be at a slower pace, your thoughts may be anything but calm. Finding time to indulge in creative outlets can bring about a greater sense of peace. Journaling, painting, and crafts can be a great way to channel and process thoughts.

7.Create rituals/routines.

As life feels so out of step with our normal routines, it can cause increased feelings of chaos. Creating morning and evening rituals can help increase feelings of calm and greater sense of control. Take a walk, sip your favorite beverage, journal, listen to music. Routines can ground you during times of stress and change. Setting a schedule for working on your career-related activities daily can help build a sense of control and empowerment that is essential during times of ambiguity.

8. Surround yourself with positivity.

Whether it’s art, or music, or people, choose to seek the uplifting. Photos of loved ones, inspirational quotes, scripture, etc., can foster a greater sense of happiness and hopefulness.

 9.Express your appreciation.

When life is challenging and things seem to be daunting, one way to elevate your mood is to take a moment to express love and gratitude to others. Whether family, friend, or colleague, a simple note, message, act of encouragement, and gratitude is all it takes.   

10.Celebrate small wins.

It’s important to recognize progress – no matter how small. Share those celebrations with others – and celebrate together. The path to victory is lined with small wins.

Whether you are facing a global pandemic, a job loss, or some other unexpected set of circumstances, learning to adapt to unforeseen circumstances is a skill that you will use repeatedly and will help you move from surviving to thriving! 

Remember that theUMBC Counseling Center and theCareer Center offer an array of services and support to help you successfully navigate this challenging time. 


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