Building A Stronger, More Resilient Me

Building A Stronger, More Resilient Me

Believe it or not, 2021 is here and it’s as good a time as ever to get started on creating a more resilient, growth-oriented and optimistic mindset. As part of our community engagement and patient empowerment initiatives, Counsellor Veera Grewal, RCC, has been hosting a 4-part series on Mental Health and Covid-19. The third part, which is now live and can be accessed below, touches on two of the most important tools in our mental health toolkit: Resilience and Self-Care.

Maintenance = Resilience = Prevention

The beginning of the year is often a time for both reflection and renewal, processing the past and getting ourselves in gear for the year ahead. It is a time where many of us have a renewed sense of motivation and become more resolute about improving ourselves, learning from the experiences in our past and making the changes we need to better ourselves. When it comes to our mental health, we don’t always have the mentorship, guidance or tools that we may need to get to where we want to be. This video provides some tips to help us move ourselves in the right direction and build the right muscles to do so. Many of us are the foundation and rock for our friends, families and colleagues but end up neglecting our own needs in the process. Self-care, just like our physical hygiene and upkeep becomes an important part of ensuring we’re setting ourselves up for success, giving us downtime and time to recharge and reset so we can be our best selves each and everyday. Here are some tools which are covered in more detail in the short 15-minute webinar below to ensure you’re looking after yourself in the process while building up your resilience.

Meaningful Self-Care Practices

The building blocks of self-care are proper nutrition, emotional regulation, hydration, movement, play and sleep. All of these are important elements to ensure you’re not neglecting your own needs and looking after yourself. Here are some helpful tips:

Cultivate a Morning Ritual

For example: Plan to wake up at a certain time, make a hot drink, spend a set amount of time doing yoga, journaling or writing out your schedule and reading

Personalize Your Plan

Recognize what you are doing and when you feel joy, calm and grounded. Draw on what has helped you cope in the past and what you loved doing as a child.

Remember that Prevention is More Efficient Than Dealing with Problems in the Future

Daily self-care settles the nervous system, lowering your baseline cortisol levels

Some Ideas For Daily Self-Care

 Keep a post-it note with affirmations on your mirror and read them as you brush your teeth
 List to motivational or inspirational podcasts and audio when driving and working out
 Set meaningful intentions and connect them to your activities – “Because I do X for myself….”

  • “I am prioritizing my needs and am less reactive to triggers in my daily life.”
  • “I start the day by giving a gift to myself.”


Gratitude is a state of being thankful, appreciative and ready to return kindness. It increases our resilience by increasing positive emotions like satisfaction, happiness and pleasure. Gratitude also enhances our ability to combat stress and fights rumination and overthinking. Gratitude even reduces inflammation in the body and improves sleep.

Helpful Tips For Incorporating Gratitude Into Our Lives

 Say “thank you” more – to yourself, to others, to nature, to your higher power
 Acknowledge 3 things you are grateful for everyday, recognize the source
 Write a gratitude letter or email to someone you know
 Engage in mental subtraction (imagine your life as is a past positive event had not occurred)


Optimism is hopefulness about the present and future. It is a determinant of mental health, resilience, academic or career success, physical health and overall happiness (Reivich et. Al, 2005). It helps us move forward, and is like a light at the end of the tunnel. Optimism is 25% heritable – meaning they are passed down from parents to children but not necessarily in a genetic way (Plomin, 1992). It is a thinking style that can be learned.

Some Helpful Optimism Tips

 Understand circumstances, choose to focus on aspects you can control
 Notice when you start to think worst-case scenarios
 Intentionally produced positive thoughts to counter negative thoughts, write down the best possible outcomes for areas in your life
 Connect with optimistic people and limit your news intake (especially headlines meant to elicit a strong emotional response)

Therapeutic Journaling

Journalling can be used to express and process emotions and thoughts, helping us to make sense of our internal experiences and gain new perspective. Self-reflection leads to greater self-awareness, and can boost your immune system (Balkie & Wilhelm, 2005). You can journal anywhere, and anytime: in a phone note, laptop, on scrap paper or in a journal. Let go of your perfectionism and write to process instead of perfecting your words.

Some Journaling Ideas

 Free Flow: Write anything that comes up consistently for a set number of minutes
 Targeted: Write about a topic that you have been ruminating about
 Unblock: If you’re feeling stuck, start writing about your concrete surroundings, incorporating your senses

Remember that resilience is learned, and resilience is like a muscle that we can flex to become stronger. It requires that we put in work, and if we can remember that our lives become better when we work on ourselves, self-care can become more rewarding and enable us to lead better lives.

Watch the full video below and access other videos in the webinar series here

Topics include managing fear and anxiety and tools for parents and caregivers.

The next webinar in the Mental Health and Covid-19 series will be available in January 2021. As part of Building a Stronger More Resilient Me Initiative, further resources on Building a More Resilient Body with Physical Exercise and Understanding Pain and Our Bodies will be available in the coming months. To sign up to receive a notification when these are available, fill out the form below

Related Links on Our Website

Veera Grewal, RCC and booking a counselling appointment
Covid-19 and Mental Health Webinar Series
Motor vehicle accidents and mental health
10 questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering seeing a counsellor


K. Reivich, Jane Gillham, T. M. Chaplin, and M. E. P. Seligman. (2005). “From Helplessness To Optimism: The Role Of Resilience In Treating And Preventing Depression In Youth”. Handbook Of Resilience In Children. 223-238.

Robert Plomin, Michael F. Scheier, C.S. Bergeman, N.L. Pedersen, J.R. Nesselroade, G.E. McClearn,
Optimism, pessimism and mental health: A twin/adoption analysis,
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 13, Issue 8, 1992, Pages 921-930, ISSN 0191-8869,