Women were hit hard by the pandemic and related events of the past few years for many reasons. Today, they are juggling a variety of roles and responsibilities as parents and caregivers for their elderly parents, while coping with job stressors, perhaps even volunteering in their community/church/school to supplement ailing staffers. When children take or took classes at home via Zoom, parents were forced to provide oversight during the day.  Infants and young children were suddenly home, too, as many childcare centers closed. Some companies closed or furloughed employees and the economy went into free fall in 2020. Social and emotional networks were uprooted or dismantled. Nobody could have predicted the pandemic’s wide and deep impact.

Women who had high expectations for advancing meaningful careers and professions that emerged from the women’s movement and EEO regulations saw dreams deferred as the juggling act became too much for them, both emotionally and physically. There is no doubt that women, unlike men, had a unique stream of stressors and pressures to perform in a variety of often conflicting roles. Women suddenly had to navigate and negotiate personal and work expectations. The women who made wise decisions were able to retain a perspective on the range of unexpected and unpredicted challenges they faced, and they maintained their balance  and well-being because they were resilient.


Resilience is:

… the ability to bounce back from hardship, to learn rather than to give up, to bend rather than break. Due to its guaranteed uncertainty, life requires an immense amount of resilience—in every aspect. Without it, we try to control the uncontrollable environment through resistance to change and an understandable—but immature and futile—demand for personal preference.

In other words, resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or other significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. Resilience means “bouncing back” from difficult circumstances, like the pandemic. The good news is that resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, actions, and skills that can be learned by anyone.

As we know, “When the times get tough, the tough get going.” But research indicates the modesty ethos; that is, women tend to be dismissive about the skills they have when surviving tough times. Why not pat yourself on the back? Consider the following:

  • What have you learned about yourself from coping with a difficult time?
  • What are several obstacles you have overcome or tough choices you have made?
  • What makes you feel more hopeful about the future? 

Smart people know that there will continue to be fires, floods, mud slides, and turbulence in our environment – both social, political, economic, and climactic – that we can’t control. While you don’t learn life lessons from laughing and relaxing, the good news is that you can gain wisdom from failures, mistakes, and setbacks! Take and score this quiz to learn how resilient you are.

Let’s agree that disappointments are inevitable. We miscalculate, misjudge a person or situation, plan poorly, have a naive expectation, or make the wrong assumptions about how things are. When you are resilient, you pay more attention to what’s really going on; you don’t play the “blame and shame” game and just move on. You learn how to negotiate but develop Zen-like acceptance when a situation is hopeless. That’s the beauty of being resilient – when a setback occurs, you bend, not break because you keep things in perspective. You realize that life goes on and so will you.

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