Dealing with Resilience Fatigue

In a Wall Street Journal article dated February1, 2022, “Still Feeling Pandemic Miserable? There Are Ways to Dig Out,” Alex Janin takes a cogent look at the findings of the General Social Survey conducted by the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago: 24% of Americans reported that they were “not too happy” in life in 2021, up from 13% in 2018, and the share of those who said they were “very happy” declined to 19% from 31% over the same period.

As we move into the start of the third year of the COVID pandemic, psychologists have found that many people are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally depleted. Brad Kennedy at an addiction treatment center calls this “resilience fatigue” or the exhaustion that comes after a prolonged period of having to stay motivated or positive. It manifests itself as difficulty initiating routine tasks and lack of energy.

Mental health professionals suggest the following practices as antidotes for resilience fatigue: learn to live with the virus at some level, pump up your self-care efforts, find new avenues of emotional expressiveness, and look on the bright side of things.

Spirituality & Practice has curated a topic on resilience. We encourage you to explore it during these times. Here are some highlights:

  • Linda Graham’s book Bouncing Back defines resilience as “the capacity to respond to pressures and tragedies quickly, adaptively, and effectively.” She explores the role of neuroplasticity in recovering our resilience and suggests inner work to help us bounce back.
  • Other books about resilience include titles by Joan Borysenko, Mark Nepo, Michael Carroll, Brene Brown, Scott Russell Sanders, Joseph Marshall III, Rick Hanson, and others.
  • 14 Book Excerpts on resilience cover such topics as how to deal with frustration, how stress can help us in difficult situations, and why this spiritual practice requires a light step.
  • 28 Articles on Resilience cover skills, attitudes, and strategies to build resilience.
  • 20 Quotations on Resilience reveal the important qualities with which it is linked: rootedness, joy, grace, hope, love, gratitude, peace, optimism, kindness, and more. Authors include Harold K. Kushner, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Edward Hays, Julia Cameron, and Anne Lamott.
  • Finally, resilience is a spiritual practice. Here are 14 ways to build and sustain it.

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