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IT'S TIME TO CELEBRATE our resilience!

You can turn this world around, and bring back all of those happy days, put your troubles down, it's time to celebrate! Holiday, Madonna


What a year we have experienced! The ups and downs of the "unprecedented" Coronacoaster pandemic; iso, lockdown, remote learning, pivoting, doomscolling, social distancing, quarantine, and on it goes. These words, now synonymous with our lived experience of 2020, some acknowledged by various dictionaries as "words of the year."

However, l'd like to jump on the same bandwagon as Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global Founder & CEO, to nominate a different word, one that encapsulates, in a more profound sense, the shared experience of billions of people this year. That word is "resilience." 

And the Word of the Year Is… "Resilience" It's what allows us not just to bounce back, but to bounce forward.

"Resilience" is my word of the year because, unlike quarantine and pandemic, resilience is going to be just as relevant when the pandemic is over. Resilience is the quality that was summoned in us by all the challenges of 2020. And it's also the quality that's going to carry us forward into 2021.

Resilience is often spoken about in terms of navigating or merely getting through challenges. But the crucial part of resilience isn't about bouncing back. It's about jumping forward. It's about using adversity as a catalyst to get better and become stronger.

Of course, we've always needed resilience. But what we learned in 2020, at individual and collective levels, is at a time of so many losses and such deep uncertainty and anxiety, we can't do without it. Right now, we're all waiting for a vaccine to bring the pandemic to an end. But our challenges won't end when the pandemic does. And resilience is the vaccine we already have — it's our immune system for the inevitable ups and downs of life. Allowing us to tap into more in-depth resources in ourselves, we didn't even know we had, not just to overcome the obstacles but to be transformed by them. 

The power to build resilience is within us; just as we can learn other skills through practice, we can teach ourselves to be more resilient. "We can make ourselves more or less vulnerable by how we think about things," said George Bonanno, a clinical psychology professor at Columbia University's Teachers College.

WHY CELEBRATE?

Celebrations boost our well-being. When we celebrate, endorphins are released inside our body, and we feel incredible—which is true for major milestones and daily wins alike. One of the main reasons celebrating is so important is because it reflects an overall attitude of gratitude and enjoying what we have, instead of focusing on what we don't have or only on what we want in the future.

A celebration is one of those things that nourish us psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. 

It can be a reminder of our talents and strengths, skills, and perseverance. It is really about taking a beat to notice the good stuff in our life, big and small, and then to keep going. 

When we accomplish something and don't take the time to celebrate, we are robbing ourself of an important feeling that reinforces our success. Celebrating not only feels great physically, but it reinforces the behavior we want to show up when you face a new challenge or opportunity.

2020 has been a challenging year for most of us, a year of many losses and much grief in which we've learned what adds value to our lives and makes us more robust, and what depletes us. Yet, the science and wisdom of resilience show us the long-term impact on our individual and our collective lives as a society is not predetermined or fixed as horrible as this year has been. 

Tapping into our character strengths, many of us ignored parts of our lives or not tended to before this year. We can nurture our resilience and create a new normal for 2021, one that's not merely going back to the pre-pandemic status quo, but one that's a better normal. It's our resilience that offers us a chance at real transformation, allowing us to go deeper, connect with what we genuinely value, grow, and expand.

It's a common refrain on social media to want to say goodbye to 2020. But our goal should be more than to get through 2020, which will pass no matter what we do. The new year will inevitably come, but what kind of year will it be? What lessons will we carry with us to shape it into a year of hope and possibility? How will we have been transformed based on what we have experienced? That is up to us. 

And the more we summon and strengthen our resilience, the more we can bounce forward optimistically into a new and better year, but for now - it's time to celebrate!

On behalf of the Counselling Team, I wish everyone a safe, restorative & happy break.

DONNA NAIRN
Director of Counselling

Acknowledgements & further reading:

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/arianna-huffington-resilience-word-of-the-year-2020/?utm_source=Newsletter_AH&utm_medium=Thrive

https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/playing-for-participation

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-07/school-formals-give-students-bright-spot-amid-covid-pandemic/12916090?nw=0