Emotional Self Care: 6 Steps to Improve Resilience

by Kathy Stosz Kathy Stosz, RN (New)

Specializes in freelance health writing. Has 28 years experience.

Definition of resilience and how we all can take steps to improve it, making it through the difficult times easier

How To Get Through The Down Periods

Emotional Self Care: 6 Steps to Improve Resilience

We all know that life is full of ups and downs.  But why do some people seem to get through the down periods more easily than other people do? Is this a trait they were born with? Is there a way to learn to be more like them?

The good news is that we can take steps to nurture our resilience and improve the quality of our own lives. It takes some effort, but it is not difficult to develop greater resilience.

What is Resilience?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Oxford Languages definition is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Resilience is being able to adapt to stressful situations and move forward. We all are capable of further developing our resilience.

Steps to Develop Resilience

1 - Be In Tune To Yourself

Learn to recognize signs of stress. Are your neck or shoulders tight? Have you been getting headaches? Have you had difficulty sleeping? Do you feel irritable?  Once you learn to be aware of how stress can affect your body, you can begin to take steps to counteract the impact it is making on you. Things like going for a walk, stretching, talking to a friend or listening to music can relieve some stress and make you feel better right away.

2 - Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can make you feel weary and less able to deal with difficulties of daily life. Exercising during the day, even a short walk, can help you to sleep better at night. Try to calm your mind before going to bed. If it takes you awhile to fall asleep, try to think of happy thoughts. Meditation or prayer can help you to completely relax.

3 - Take Time For Yourself!

Enjoy breaks throughout the day.  Even a few minutes of stretching at your workplace or taking a 10-minute walk can help clear your mind and give you an energy boost. Remember to plan time throughout the week to give yourself some TLC.  We all are busy, with many responsibilities, but it is still possible do things like take a bath, read a book, garden, exercise in a way that you enjoy. These periods of time when you focus on yourself are very important to your emotional and mental health. When you make the effort to care for yourself in this way, you’ll find that you are building resilience and it becomes easier to make it through the more difficult times.

4 - Focus On The Present

Don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. We need to be “in the moment” of what we are doing to truly appreciate it. Look around, see the beauty, share a smile, take a deep breath and feel your gratitude. Getting outside and enjoying nature is a great way to accomplish this. Or enjoy quiet time that allows you to be immersed in the moment – listen to music, read poetry, create artwork.

5 - Try To Stay Optimistic, Even During A Hard Time

Ask yourself what the lesson to be learned is. Look for the positive. Often difficulties can bring new opportunity if we keep our minds open. All of our experiences are connected to past experiences in some way. By staying aware of the positive possibilities, we can better create our own happiness.

6 - Stay Connected To People

Spend time with loved ones, maintain friendships, be active in your community. We all need a support system. Especially during stressful times, confiding in a friend or just spending time together can relieve some stress. Having a supportive network instills a sense of security and we don’t feel so alone.


Developing our resilience is a choice we make.  By taking care of ourselves and keeping a positive attitude, we are able to see things in a more positive light. As we build resilience, we begin to make it through the difficult times with less of a struggle; they take less of a toll on us and life actually becomes easier.

Try the 6 steps to develop resilience listed above! These suggestions are things that most of us already do, but by staying more aware of them and practicing them consistently, you will start to feel a difference in your attitude. You will develop stronger resilience and it will become a reservoir of strength to draw from during stressful times. Your problems won’t go away, but you’ll be able to get through them easier while always moving on toward your goals.


TIME: 10 Ways to Boost Your Emotional Resilience, Backed by Research

American Psychological Association: Resilience

WebMD: What to Know About Emotional Health

Merriam-Webster: resilience

Oxford Learner's Dictionaries: resilience


Kathy Stosz

Kathy Stosz RN is a freelance health writer. She lives in Heath MA with her husband.

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3 Comment(s)



1,437 Posts

Timely article, thanks....having a regular, daily prayer life is huge for resiliency as well!

Kathy Stosz

Kathy Stosz, RN

Specializes in freelance health writing. Has 28 years experience. 1 Article; 2 Posts

I absolutely agree!

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience. 3,495 Posts

I think my middle name is Resilience. Always have thought so. Even as a child, going through hard times emotionally, I thought I must have a Fairy God-Mother who pulled me out of a situation or changed things for the better.


But that doesn't mean I don't have to go through ... as they say here in the Sourh....."99 kinds of hell." But, I always land on my feet eventually.