Being in this lockdown is like a recurring bad dream. So how fitting it seems to be that just before the lockdown was called, I was able to present at Limmud Oz on the subject of resilience — that is our ability to cope with or overcome a crisis and quickly bounce back to our pre-crisis selves, or better. The great thing about resilience is that it is a skill you can learn and improve, no matter what your age.

In my research, I identified five key skills we can each work on to become more resilient.  So instead of getting the blues, here are some skills to work on in lockdown and beyond:

Social connection. Oh, how ironic – to suggest that   social connection could be the key to lockdown survival when social distancing is one of our strongest tools to stay safe! And yet, social connection can come in many forms and even a phone call is enough. If you feel like you need a new friend to chat to, contact our social workers to become part of Shalom Connect. 

Purpose and meaning.  It doesn’t have to be anything very big, as long as it gives meaning to you.  I find mine by doing things to improve others’ lives, which is why I work at COA, but when I’m not working, I do other things to create meaning.  Lately I’ve been sending anonymous postcards to prisoners because you never know when an encouraging word might help change the trajectory of someone’s life!

Optimism & confidence tempered by self-awareness.  I’ve always thought of myself as a pessimist, but now I think I’ve been wrong. Why? Because every time something bad happens it makes me more determined to come out better on the other side. If you can see a way through to the positive, you’re being an optimist. If you’re sure you can get there, you’re being confident. 

Emotional regulation and self-compassion and care. As Edith Eger says, “Loving yourself is the only           foundation for wholeness, health, and joy.” So take some time out to show yourself a little love and care, be it a hot bubble bath or buying a bunch of flowers. 

Control through solution-focused coping. Take back control over your life in any little way you can. Sure, you may not be allowed to dance at Club COA, but there is still a lot you can do.  So make a plan and break it down into baby steps.  Maybe it’s sorting those old books and deciding which to give away, or maybe you want to plant a new garden on your balcony or windowsill.  No matter what your project, break it into little steps and then start taking them.

If you practice these five skills, they will see you through any crisis.  No, they won’t make the crisis disappear, but they will make you feel happier, healthier, and more in control of your world.  Could there be a better way to start a new year?  So give it a try! And if you need a little help along the way, don’t be afraid to give us a call here at COA.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and resilient High Holidays!  We hope we are able to see you soon!


CEO Rachel Tanny