Resilience is important because it helps us react to the world around us without getting destroyed by it. But, it’s also hard to define and understand, which is why resilience in the workplace activities can be so helpful.
By participating in the 25 following activities, you can learn how to bounce back from setbacks and process the emotions they bring up for you. So, look at these activities as actionable steps that will make it easier to take criticism and fail as a part of the learning process.
This post is all about resilience in the workplace activities.
RESILIENCE IN THE WORKPLACE ACTIVITIES:
1. Rely on a meaningful connection in your life to support you
Resilience is a hard skill to develop, especially since you can’t fake it. Even if you convince other people you’ve developed resilience, you still have to live with the consequences of not honing it on your own. This is why it’s so important to lean on the people in your network.
Allow the people you value to help you overcome the setbacks you experience at work. They can ground you and let you know that your failures are learning experiences.
Plus, work isn’t everything and today’s difficult situations will pass faster than you think. So, when you start worrying about your failure at work, spend time around the people who remind you that work isn’t everything to begin with.
2. Identify a take-home message behind every failure
No one likes to fail, no matter what they’ve made you think. The people who fail gracefully are the ones who make you think they’ve got it figured out. They are resilient individuals who recognize that failures are learning opportunities.
You can’t learn without failing. Most of the time, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough to learn or grow. So, in the spirit of growing and developing resilience, remember that the purpose of failure is to learn.
It’s okay to fail and, more importantly, it’s necessary. It’s scary and uncomfortable because we are conditioned to believe that failure indicates some deep flaw about who we are when it’s a gift.
3. Expect negative feedback and respect it
No matter how much experience you have, you’re going to get feedback you both need and hate. Someone, whether it’s a coworker or supervisor, will tell you that you need to improve. Their feedback may be useful or complete trash.
But, even if you have no use for the feedback, you can still use it to work on building resilience. In this case, you want to demonstrate respect for the feedback and the intent with which it was given.
Maybe this person was outright rude and their feedback was a demonstration of their poor character.
Maybe it was useful feedback that was still painful to hear because it meant you hadn’t performed perfectly. Either way, you can thank the person for their feedback and let them know that you’ll factor into your future work.
4. Prioritize your mental wellbeing
Respect your mental health. Resilience training takes effort. There will be difficult times when you’ll want to break down and give up on your resilience because it feels impossible in the moment.
And, honestly, that’s a part of building emotional resilience. You have to recognize that you’re going to struggle, experience workplace challenges, and still come out with the understanding that it’s not the end of the world.
You will learn and improve your skills, as well as promote a positive work environment. To do this, you have to be kind to yourself.
Becoming a resilient person time-consuming and challenging. It also does not mean that you stop acknowledging difficult circumstances. It just helps you react to them in a different, more efficient way.
5. Get inspired by the resilience of your clients
Sometimes, the best way to get inspired is by interacting with people outside of your typical social circle. This means strangers, neighbors, and maybe even clients.
When we spend time around people, like our family members, friends, and coworkers, we know them so well that it can be difficult to get inspired by them or learn from them.
But, when we start interacting more deeply and intentionally with people we don’t know as well, a whole new world opens up. The first step on our personal journey of building resilience is to get curious and excited.
Resilience opens doors because it teaches us to rethink our reactions to failure and hardship. Strangers in the workplace, like our clients, are a great example of people who can teach unexpected lessons about resilience based on the human experiences they inadvertently share.
6. Find role models around you who demonstrate resilience
Find people you can look up to. In the workplace, this looks like a boss who you value or a coworker you trust. These are people who can fail and bounce back, not because they’re in denial about their abilities or failure but because they see failure as a tool.
Most resilient people don’t realize that they are resilient. They simply experience resilience as a part of life out of necessity. It’s important to learn from the people who seem to put no effort into their resilience because they are the ones who have truly mastered it.
No matter how you learn your resilience, either by force in the face of adversity or by working on it so you are prepared for adversity, it’ll eventually become second nature.
7. Trust your inner strength
You already have the resilience to manage workplace issues. Whether someone gives you unnecessarily mean feedback or you fail, you can handle it. It may hurt you and you have to fake your resilience for a while.
Maybe you can’t bounce back after multiple failures or struggles. But, the first one or two times you experienced that, you could bounce back. That’s your inner strength and that’s the resilience you can tap into when you are working on workplace resilience.
In other words, you aren’t trying to create something out of thin air or that does not exist. Instead, you’re working from something you already use frequently.
Think of it like going to the gym to exercise a muscle. You are strengthening a muscle you already know how to use, so it can handle more than it has handled in the past.
8. Notice when relationship problems affect your employee resilience
It’s hard enough to develop workplace resilience. So, when you have to consider your personal life, it brings a whole new level of difficulty to your resilience activities.
Notice when you’re struggling more than usual to practice resilience in the workplace and do a mental inventory of why that might be. Maybe you’re arguing with your partner and that requires a lot of your resilience in your personal life, which doesn’t leave much for work.
Or maybe you just got off a call with your parents and they stressed you out, so your resilience is lower than it usually is. Do yourself a favor by identifying factors that might make it more difficult to be resilient in the workplace.
9. Start keeping gratitude journals
Resilience comes from hope and a place of positivity. You can’t find resilience within yourself if you don’t think there’s some positive reason to find that resilience. So, one of the most effective resilience exercises is the practice of gratitude.
Notice the positive things in your life and write them down. When you notice yourself needing a dose of positivity, ask yourself for three things that make you grateful right now.
It’s important to do this whenever you get stuck in a negative thought spiral because you slowly train your brain to think more positively.
This means that it will become easier for you to access resilience because your brain will choose the positive mindset you’ve been working on making more accessible.
10. Identify your core values so you can stick to them
It sounds big and complicated to talk about core values. Adding labels to ourselves and taking a stand on a certain value can almost feel pointless. But, sometimes we can name our core values to give us clarity on what matters to us.
Maybe we value honesty, integrity, or respect. Most people probably value all three of those. So, the question becomes: when we are put in positions to choose one value over another: which values are most important to us?
By learning our values, we have something to rely on in times of stress and anxiety when resilience feels impossible. We can use our core values to remind us of what feels natural and important to us as people, which can help us find that resilience again.
11. Make a list of your personal strengths
Resilience is a strength and it comes from existing strengths. So, when we’re trying to get some harsh feedback we got, we have to rely on our existing strengths to compensate for the weaknesses we’re still working on strengthening.
Maybe we’re not ready to accept that failure is important to learning and valuable because it feels so wrong in the moment. But, we can remind ourselves that we are good at our job and it’s possible to improve even more.
In other words, while you process the hurt that negative feedback caused, you can still remember that your job skills are your strength and you can rely on those to guide you while you focus on bouncing back and learning from the feedback.
12. Develop a mental toughness more than you already have
Mental toughness can sometimes be misunderstood as hardness. We think of tough and we think of unbreakable, untouchable, and unapproachable. But, all it means is that we develop an identity and sense of self that’s stronger than any external force.
Instead of questioning everything we know about ourselves., we appreciate the ongoing process of understanding ourselves and sit in the identity we feel comfortable with for the moment.
There’s no external force that can lead us to misunderstand ourselves when we develop mental toughness. We can still actively learn about ourselves and question ourselves but only in response to growth and not criticism.
13. Consider taking online courses to learn how to build resilience
It’s overwhelming to say that you want to build resilience because it feels like there are no actionable steps. Sometimes, resilience seems like other nebulous, intangible ideas like love and happiness.
These are all things that people say you need but won’t tell you how to get them or what they are as defined by some realistic, tangible standard. So, it can be helpful to find online courses that will guide the process of building resilience.
The challenge behind creating a course like that is that it’s generalized, so it makes sense why these types of courses can be poor quality or not very helpful to every single person who attempts them.
Vet them and look through reviews that feel honest and genuine to make sure your money is well-spent. You could always look for courses at your local community college or university (keeping in mind that university courses will always be more expensive).
14. Get comfortable responding to different situations
Part of developing resilience skills to learning to handle a variety of situations. If you deal with anxiety, then you probably think you can predict every single negative experience you could have in a given situation.
However, rationally, you know that’s not true because your anxiety is lying to you. You can truly develop a level of resilience by recognizing the basic principles that make resilience so powerful.
You cannot predict every single negative outcome and you shouldn’t try to. Instead, you should try to notice how you react to the negative events and work on coping mechanisms that help you manage the stress and anxiety that come from those negative events.
Resilience is always about training yourself to react to the world differently so that you can handle new challenges as they come.
15. Work on your communication skills
Communicate constantly and to everyone. This doesn’t mean that you have to change the way you relate to people, especially if you don’t usually talk about yourself or share your feelings with anyone but those in your closest positive relationships.
But, this does mean that you need to practice communication until you are confident in expressing yourself. This can look like explaining to your boss that you need to develop boundaries at work.
Or maybe you need to communicate to your team members the ways they can improve their output. Communication is about expressing your needs while also leaving space for negotiation as is important in every relationship.
16. Call on the social support all around you
When you think of social support, you probably think of the people in your personal life. Maybe you think of a coworker or two. You probably don’t include your boss in that support network because of the power dynamic in your relationship.
These are the people that can help support your resilience journey. They can listen to you as you process and work on improving your response to significant sources of stress in your work life.
These are the people who care about your mental well-being on want to be part of the process that helps you improve it.
17. Take care of your physical health
Mental and physical health are intertwined. There is tons of research to suggest that moving your body will improve your mental health. To be clear, this research uses the word “exercise” a lot, which is valid and important. But, social media has impacted the way we hear the word “exercise.”
We don’t need to put ourselves through pain when all we need is to engage in physical activity. Physical exercise simply means that we move our bodies in a way that makes us feel good.
This doesn’t have to involve running, strength training, or some traumatic activity that gives you anxiety before you start. Move your body in a way that feels good to you and it will benefit your mental well-being as well as your resilience building.
18. Participate in team-building activities to build a network
Get involved with the people at work. Get to know them and learn which people you are most likely to befriend. You don’t have to become friends with everyone at work. Identify the people you want to be around and let them into your support network.
These are the people who can give support when the people in your personal life can’t. Participate in team building activities so that you can develop a network of people you trust to help you on your journey.
19. Work on building a positive mindset
Notice negative thoughts and challenge them. This can sound overwhelming if you’ve never done anything like that before. But, in reality, it’s a simple concept. You experience all types of thoughts all day and they affect you emotionally.
The key is to notice when those thoughts are affecting you negatively. Maybe you’re even spiraling, feeling stressed out, or getting anxious. Once you notice that feeling, identify what kinds of thoughts you’re having and recognize what’s going on.
Let yourself know that your thoughts are spiraling and making you feel bad. After you get some practice, you can start challenging them and noticing them quicker and quicker until you’ve developed a positive attitude.
20. Notice positive emotions and celebrate them
In the same way that you want to notice and challenge your negative thoughts, you also want to celebrate your positive ones.
Notice when you’re feeling good, especially if you’ve just experienced a setback. Celebrate that by acknowledging it. Ask yourself where that positive emotion came from, so you can replicate it in the future. If nothing else, appreciate the positive emotion and how it makes you feel.
21. Look to your team leader or supervisor for advice
Ask your boss or supervisor how they approach resilience. They may not have a good answer to that question because they may not see themselves as resilient. Observe your boss or supervisor to make sure they’re the right person to answer your question.
You could even avoid the concept of resilience because it can be vague and intangible. So, you can ask them how they handle stress or failure, as long as you’re sure that your boss can handle being confronted about “failure.”
22. Work on developing your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence means you can regulate your emotions and understand the emotions of others. It’s not a skill that we learn in school, so it makes sense that you may have never heard of it before or understood what it meant.
It starts from curiosity and observation. Watch yourself and how you react to the world around you. Then, watch how your emotions change the way you interact with other people.
When you develop emotional intelligence, you’ll recognize when you need space to process your emotions instead of taking them out on other people.
23. Keep setbacks from stopping you from continuing your hard work
Resilience is all about accepting that setbacks will inevitably happen and processing them as you continue to do your job.
This does not mean that you avoid the feelings and repress them until they come out at a later time. Instead, you are noticing the setback, noticing how it makes you feel, and feeling it.
The resilience part of this means that you do all of that while you continue with your day, assuming that this is a minor setback. Another part of resilience is taking care of yourself and taking a break when you need it.
24. Let yourself fail as a part of your growth mindset
Accept failure as a part of growing and developing resilience. Resilience helps you handle failure, but it’s not immediate. Plus, you will fail to be resilient as you work on your resilience.
So, let yourself fail and recognize this as a good, brave sign that you’re growing. You’re becoming the person you want to be even if the process is scary and uncomfortable.
25. Rethink the way you react to stressful situations
Stress is only harmful when we think it is. So many of our reactions to the world around us are natural reactions blown out of proportion. Our bodies are trying to help us out without realizing that they’re overreacting to a lot of stimuli in the world.
So, when we notice this overreaction, we have to recognize that our bodies are trying to prepare us. The faster heartbeat is designed to help us react quickly and run away from a predator.
We need to think about ourselves as on the same team as our bodies. Instead of slowing down our breathing, we need to thank our bodies for getting us ready for our stress response.