Resilience is the pathway to Eudaimonia
From November 2021 to December 2021, Fabiola Aliaj worked as an intern for our project ‘Life is tough, but so are you’. She wrote an interesting blogpost about resilience as the pathway to eudaimonia, and included both her personal story and some tips in it.
Resilience is the pathway to Eudaimonia by Fabiola Aliaj
Looking back in time around 3rd century BC, Zeno of Citium founded the philosophical school of Stoicism. The Stoics believed that the goal of ethics is eudaimonia. Eudaimonia, a Greek word often translated simply as “happiness”, was described by Aristotle as “human flourishing”, the “activity of the soul in accordance with virtue”.
Without doubt we all want to flourish as human beings and be happy.
However according to research one third of our life is spent at work, meaning that an average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Since this is such an incredible amount of time, our work life can have a significant impact on our level of happiness and mental health. Thus, pursuing eudaimonia during our working time is essential.
Building up resilience is a critical task for your overall well-being. I am borrowing the title of my supervisor’s project programme because it speaks for itself. Life is tough but so are you! Resilient teachers not only recover from difficult situations, but also flourish professionally and personally, resulting in work motivation, positive self-esteem, wellbeing, and commitment to the profession. Simply put, Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Resilience is what keeps your can-do spirit high and fuels your determination to press forward.
But how can we build resilience?
- BRiTE modules ≈ The BRiTE modules are online blended modules https://www.brite.edu.au that aim to enhance the resilience of pre-service teachers. It’s basically your personal toolkit.
- Create a social-media support network ≈ As the philosopher Aristotle has stated “Man is by nature a social animal”, indeed we simply cannot function in isolation. Family – friends and peers play a tremendous role to your well being. Having a supportive environment of family/friends has been shown in numerous studies to alleviate the effects of emotional distress, boost self-esteem, lower cardiovascular risks (such as blood pressure), promote healthy lifestyle behaviors, and so many other positive impact.
- Ask for help ≈ It is such a simple trick yet so difficult to do. Personally, I avoid asking for help because I don’t want to be a burden to others, or I genuinely don’t want to be obliged to anyone. BUT asking for help makes you more resilient already, because you set aside your weakness and recognise your need to be helped. You will be so relieved about sharing your feelings, your stress levels will drop, you actually prevent problems getting bigger, you start gaining some perspective and also you learn that a little bit of help may be the push you needed to offer help to others and that increases your “happy hormones”.
- Take good care of yourself ≈ Your physical health is equally important to your emotional resilience, they are in fact interconnected.”Listen” to your body when it “speaks” to you. Taking care of yourself, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising on a regular basis will improve your work productivity and enhance individual and team decision-making skills. Starting outdoor running two years ago, was my personal “direct” stress-reduction strategy and it worked surprisingly well!
- Take more breaks ≈I learnt this lesson the hard way when I was rushed to the hospital due to exhaustion. Taking regular breaks helps you disconnect from the pressure of work resulting to better attention and performance.
- Set your boundaries …and hold on tight ≈ Healthy boundaries are essential components of self-care. Setting your boundaries is a great skill that will help you take care of yourself by giving permission to say NO to things that are NOT ok for you. By making your boundaries clear to your surroundings you increase your self-esteem and your self-respect. “Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices” from Gerard Manley Hopkins.
- “You are allowed to make mistakes” ≈ Perhaps you’d like to stick this on your fridge door, to remind you that you are a human being and making mistakes is part of your learning process. Mistakes are proof you are trying your best!
- Be a Stoic! : ≈ Stoics believed that we shouldn’t be blamed for things that are completely out of our control, people are accountable only for their own actions and not for other people’s actions.