What has got me through the past 18 months watching a company I built over 17 years crumble into financial rubble?
Resilience. Well – resilience, cava, chocolate and incredible friends. You know who you are my lovelies and you better be reading :-)…..Unfortunately, the middle two come with a hefty side of hangover and expanding waistline so resilience has been a more positive coping mechanism.
Jokes aside. If you are looking for one of the keys to happiness and positive well-being then look no further. The research (and my experience) point straight at it every time (1).
What is resilience?
In a nutshell, resilience is bouncebackability! – our capacity to respond to, withstand, adapt to and recover from adversity and challenge.
And boy does midlife (and menopause) come with a fair helping of both. Which often requires us to flex that resilience muscle to the max.
Yes – the struggle is real at this time of life. And very few escape the barrage of change and stressors that can accumulate. From children leaving home, to peaks in divorce rates, caring for ageing relatives, increased work demands and financial pressures. Surviving these challenges requires resilience. All whilst we’re watching bits and pieces shrivel, droop or drop off.
And ladies – it’s official (according to my research anyway) – we have it worse.
We are often the ones frantically juggling multiple roles (worker, partner, carer, friend). At the same time we are becoming increasingly invisible in societies that laud female youth and encourage us to spend precious time, money and energy fighting the natural process of ageing.
And we didn’t even get started on menopause!
I don’t know about you but that last paragraph makes me want to throw in the towel and head to bed. But when I look around I don’t see a throng of midlife women resigned to sitting out a miserable second chapter of their life. Or succumbing the very real pressures they are experiencing.
Instead, I see pillars of strength carrying significant war wounds yet still seeking new and empowering adventures. Why- because these women have resilience.
Can you build resilience?
So ‘were they born with it?’ you ask. ‘Can that really be me?’ Of course it can. Whilst resilience is probably partially ‘genetic’, I believe (and the research shows) (2), it is modifiable and ebbs and flows in life.
I also believe we can proactively build resilience. I know because I have.
As a child I was resilient- happy, strong and feisty. But circumstances slowly sucked that from me. By my twenties, I struggled to cope with adversity and bend in the wind. In fact, I almost snapped. If it wasn’t for 1 incredible friend my life could have gone very differently. But she helped me believe that change was possible, that I could create that change and that I could view my life differently. With a bit of hard work and a lot of soul searching.
And over time I did. I started to believe in myself, trust my instincts, take risks and cope with setbacks and challenges. To the point where I struggle to recognise my 20-something self. Thank Goodness, as in my mid-forties I’ve needed some good old-fashioned Northern grit!
What does resilience look like?
I can tell you this- it is not putting on a brave face and powering through like nothing happened.
Resilience can be raw, ugly, snotty and uncomfortable. It’s acknowledging and accepting those tough emotions.
Resilience building involves leaning on friends for support as you pick yourself back up. It’s saying no to commitments when you really need to retreat and be by yourself. It’s knowing that ‘this too shall pass’. And that there is a positive future ahead even if you can’t feel it or touch it right now.
Most importantly, my research showed repeatedly that resilience is knowing that you deserve that future, that you are worthy of it and that your knock-backs do not define you. They simply add to the knowledge and resolve you need to reach the future you want faster. Trust me- I know. If you need a little help with the self-love stuff then head to my blog ‘New Year, New Me, No Thanks’ for some simple tips for building self-worth.
You’ve got this!
So if you’re feeling like you don’t have the strength and resilience you need to cope, or you’d like to be stronger in the face of adversity- then I’m here to tell you that you can be. I am. And I’m going to spend however long this blog lasts telling you how!
Trust me- it’s really not that complicated! Think mindset, community, faith (whatever that looks like) and as symptom free menopause as you can manage (don’t worry- I’m here to help with that one too). Genuinely – check out the rest of my blogs as they are ALL about midlife resilience building!
Hell- I spent a fortune on my education and missed a whole pile of great social events writing an MSc thesis on midlife resilience and wellbeing. So someone, other than my long-suffering friends, needs to hear this stuff!
I’d love to hear your own resilience stories. And how you’ve built resilience. Let me know in the comments so we can all learn from each other.
If you like what you’ve read and want more practical information and tips on nutrition, lifestyle and mindset for midlife women then please follow me at motherflushingmidlife at the social links below. And if anyone you know might benefit from my content, let them know where to find me xx
- The Lighthouse. (2023). Toughen up! resilience is the key to happiness. https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/toughen-up!-resilience-is-the-key-to-happiness
- American Psychological Association. (2022). Resilience. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience