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Building resilience – it’s a journey

The Management Centre

It’s a strange new reality that we’ve all been plunged into since Covid-19 reached our shores. With 14 weeks of lockdown under their belts in the UK people are starting to discover how resilient they feel. And let’s be clear about that: resilience is not something absolute, that you either are, or are not. Resilience is something you can build up and work on.

Think of resilience as your personal emergency store cupboard. You can learn what items to stock your cupboard up with, what items work for you. And then you can raid those supplies when you really need a big dose of “keep calm and carry on”. Everyone’s cupboard will be different. I have plenty of friends who would swear by keeping that cupboard full of chocolate treats alone. And some who top up their resilience by scheduled video calls with their family. For others, the best stock is their daily outside exercise trip. The point is, building your resilience is a process that starts with taking time to work out what you need to overcome challenges and get through this. Then, use those tools gently and consciously (when you can); rinse and repeat.

Chocolate brownie

Here are a few ways the team at =mc refill their resilience cupboard, hope they help inspire you:

1. Creature comforts

I think I’m actually very lucky. I have a small dog called Archie, who not only keeps me company but also holds me to account. Because of him, I must go outside every single day – to take him for a walk. It means I take a break at some point during the working day, for at least an hour. I tend to spend some of the walk listening to podcasts too – like Third Sector, Guilty Feminist, The Institute of Leadership, or even radio 4 comedy shows. I don’t worry about not being productive in that hour – it’s about the dog getting his exercise, and stimulation. And then I get the same benefits. 


2. Make a new plan

I have created a new daily routine for my workday. I start at 8:30 by prioritising my to-do-list. I take 15-minute breaks every two hours to stretch and move. And at the end of the day I have my “close the day” routine where I review what I have achieved and write my list for the next day. This routine is helping me stay focused and manage my work-life balance. Moving key pieces of work forward, helps me feel in control and the sense of accomplishment makes me feel so much better.

3. Get moving

Since lockdown began, I’ve found doing exercise everyday really helpful. Just 15 – 20 mins of makes a real difference to how I feel (especially on the days when I really do not want to do it)! Those endorphins really do kick in for me and then I’m noticeably better at handling any challenges that come about. Another key thing, I don’t chide myself when I miss a session. Now is not the time for self-criticism!

4. Be ok with not being ok


A key thing I learnt in the first few weeks of lockdown when some pretty difficult things happened – beyond my control – was to not ignore the sad/angry feelings that came up. My gut told me I needed to sit in the sadness and acknowledge it. So I did. That doesn’t mean I stopped working or looking after the kids. But I just cornered off a little bit of my heart that day and felt sad. Because it was sad. The next day I took a deep breath and began again. This practice has happened a few times since then, and I find it helpful. It reduces the feeling of “this is REALLY bad and I can’t cope”. Otherwise those negative feelings can build up and explode in really unhelpful ways (usually on my partner) if I don’t acknowledge the upset.

What’s next?

Being resilient will help you move through challenges more easily, and without lasting damage. No one expects you to be resilient every moment of every day, or to every challenge. After all, we’re all human. But there are practical ways of exploring effective habits that can help you to bounce back and move forward. If you would like to find out more, take a look at the Time Management and Managing Multiple Priorities programme.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you to build your resilience, call to speak to one of our consultants on 020 7978 1516 or email

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Anna Esslemont

About Anna Esslemont

On any given day, Anna can be found working on a myriad of different projects ranging from big picture to small detail. As =mc’s marketing manager she’s responsible for...