Board Member Dr. Marilyn Puder-York on Resiliency During COVID-19

Stamford Symphony is delighted to welcome its newest Board member, Dr. Marilyn Puder-York. 

She has written a short article on Personal Resiliency that we are pleased to share on the Channel.

PERSONAL RESILIENCY DURING COVID-19
I have been a psychologist and executive coach for decades. In my practice I have helped clients navigate catastrophic events including 9/11, the financial crisis, and now the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Resiliency is basically the ability to rebound from adversity – and keeping our balance and making the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in.  

Here are the important coping tactics that are the cornerstones of resiliency.

SELF-MANAGEMENT OF ANXIETY 
We need to recognize at outset that anxiety is normal during these times.  The key is to convert fearfulness (negative anxiety) into a form of positive anxiety.  Positive anxiety

doesn’t mean denial of reality.  It means that although we are aware of the facts and threats, we choose to adapt and find positive means to manage the external situation. 

MAINTAIN A ROUTINE
Commit to online classes/group discussions, tackling chores in the home, scheduling calls or videos with friends, colleagues, family.  Any kind of regular routine will assist us in feeling some degree of being in control.

FOCUS ON THE PRESENT
Along with having a routine, one should try and focus on what actions you should engage in today.  To avoid the possibility of catastrophizing the future by trying to predict the future, focus on the present each day.

MAINTAIN SELF CARE
Practicing the basics of self-care will help sustain your optimal mental and physical well- being.  Exercise (eg: without the gym walk around the community a few times a week), mindfulness, good nutrition, sleep seeking out experiences that inspire and reaching out to others.

SET BOUNDARIES
Important to be aware of those people and situations that escalate your anxiety and increase your fears. Be mindful if you notice yourself becoming even more anxious after watching news, scrolling social media, or engaging with certain people.  Look for ways to limit your exposure.  And seek out for those experiences and people that entertain, excite, educate and inspire.

MAINTAIN A REALISTIC OPTIMISTIC MINDSET
This attitude is grounded in reality, but still accepts that personal growth and purpose can arise from external turbulence.

GRATITUDE AND COMMUNITY
It is a conscious choice to inspire and motivate oneself in the face of anxiety and the unknown. We can choose to give our energy to rise up or drain our energy and sink lower. Focus on the thoughts and actions you can take to give you a positive purpose during these times.  Feeling and expressing gratitude to those around you as well as the essential professionals and workers who are helping during this crisis. 

Supporting causes with contributions and assisting our friends, family and neighbors who need us.

And lastly reach out to friends, neighbors and rekindle lost friendships.  Express interest in and empathy toward others.  All of this will contribute to you feeling “I have contributed to the positivity of others”.  And trust me this will contribute to your self-esteem, sense of purpose and your mental resiliency.  

Marilyn Puder-York, Ph.D.  April 21, 2020