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If you’re a TAFE Queensland student, your student counsellors are located across the state can help you through this pandemic period. Between us we have a wealth of knowledge, empathetic ears, and valuable resources to share during these uncertain times.

 

In the midst of a crisis it’s important to know what resources are immediately available to you, and in this blog I wanted to address ‘resilience’ – a word that’s on everyone’s lips at the moment – and answer some common questions. 

How do you identify if you are actually resilient?

If you respond to difficult situations with a healthy balance of reactions and emotions, if you are attentive and motivated in daily life, tasks and work (with awareness of and concern for the crisis), if you have a support network of healthy relationships and access the support network (people you can trust) to talk things through – it is likely you’re a resilient person.

Sometimes you may feel a bit down, overwhelmed or angry, but this being short lived and your emotions manageable – is also indicative of resilience. It’s worth noting that people process things differently – some write feelings down, others sit and reflect in quiet spaces, whilst others share and externally process their feelings with trusted people.

What are some signs that you're not coping too well and need to work on building your resilience?

How you react to situations is very telling – not coping typically presents emotionally and physiologically and continues over time (four weeks or more typically). Moods, emotions and body reactions such as crying, racing heart, tingling in body, dizziness, fear to venture outside, cannot sleep, headaches, lower tolerance to people and situations, low motivation to do daily tasks, are strong indications you need to seek help.

Beyond Blue has a good checklist on identifying whether or not you may be or have been affected by anxiety or depression, and resources that can help.

 

What can TAFE Queensland students do to become more resilient during these uncertain times?

To manage anxiety and stress levels, and thus build your resilience:

  • Be confident in yourself and your abilities and remember the times you’ve had to be resilient and were successful. Everyone has strengths and abilities so focus on these. By doing this you are building on your self-esteem.
  • Stay positive and focused on your goals and tasks for the season; study, home schooling, looking after family, working etc. Plan for fun or relaxation within restrictions. Break down the tasks or goals into small manageable steps. This will enhance your problem-solving skills and coping mechanisms.
  • Make the most of the opportunities presented. Going to class and access the teachers’ and counsellors’ support as much as practicable and possible.
  • Laugh, breathe, meditate, exercise, socialise and do something enjoyable. Be creative or journal, build, garden, redecorate, draw, write, paint, doodle, colour-in (mindfulness), make a vision board, explore Pinterest. Colour in with one other person and talk while colouring in.
  • Find a picture that brings moments of joy and/or peace or reminds you how you got through change and remained resilient during a time in the past. Have it somewhere that you can see often. This helps you keep focused on the bigger picture.
  • Stay connected with what is going on.
  • Know where to seek support when necessary. Go to a doctor if systems persist. Doctors can do a mental health plan.

Are there online resources about building resilience that will help?

Health Direct, a Federal and State Government service, have quality advice and information available on their website at www.healthdirect.gov.au/resilience

Action for Happiness also have a range of helpful resources available at www.actionforhappiness.org

What's the best example of resilience you've seen during your time as a counsellor at TAFE Queensland?

Students from other countries who have faced crises; loss of lives; wars and political unrest; however also students from Australia who have experienced some challenging life situations and natural disasters. Many people have had to overcome the impact of these situations emotionally and financially. I am always amazed at the human spirit and the resilience we all have. I think the key is seeking help, sometimes professional help, and being deliberate in applying coping strategies, like the ones we’ve just discussed.


Speak to one of our TAFE Queensland Student Counsellors today.

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