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Seven Proven Tools for Your Resilience Toolbox

I almost skipped writing this final post in the series…

I felt disconnected.

It’s the beginning of the year, and everyone’s buzzing about goals, plans, and intentions.

Talking about resilience seems a bit gloomy.

But last week, after a night with my hysterical 3-year-old and waking up to Blue Monday, I realized now is precisely the right time to discuss resilience.

This is why we often fall short of achieving our passionately set goals—we neglect to establish systems that fuel and support us, especially when things don’t go as planned (which is, well, always!).

Over the past three months, I’ve explored resilience in a series of posts:

  1. Why we must stop worshiping resilience
  2. Why we are so stressed anyways
  3. Why everyone needs a resilience toolbox (Spoiler alert: our minds and bodies aren’t designed for modern life!)
  4. Main frameworks for choosing your tools (And understanding all the TikTok/Instagram life hacks! 😄)

I intentionally didn’t just list my favorite tools because resilience is a lifelong journey where you harvest resources most relevant to you, like pulling tools from your resilience toolbox.

(If you’re new here, grab a cup of whatever and quickly read the above to get the full benefit!)

Now, it’s time to share my favorites collected over the last decade.

Yours might look different, so let’s exchange ideas, shall we?

1. Mindfulness

Not to overuse buzzwords, but mindfulness is the foundation—the antidote to an autopilot exhausted life.

It’s about understanding what’s going on inside and outside of you.

Mindfulness is a skill that needs regular practice to undo the bad mental habits developed from living in our heads all the time.

How to practice:

  • Dedicate 5 to 10 minutes/day to mindfulness meditation.
  • Integrate 1-minute mindfulness exercises (like Five Senses) throughout the day.
  • Turn routine activities into mindfulness training by focusing entirely on the task.

I have a collection of practicesto get you started from my “Mindful Leadership for Busy Professionals” program that you can enjoy for free.

2. Pause & Breathe

Pause like your life depends on it—because it does.

Have you ever said something in the meeting that you later regretted?!  I bet you did. Don’t you wish you could have stopped, before words came out of your mouth?!

Insert a pause between a trigger and a response, making it intentional rather than automatic. Three slow breaths, especially slowing down the exhale, triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, shifting from survival to executive functioning.

Learn to recognize physical manifestations of stress, like sweaty palms or a knot in your stomach. As you recognize the threat response, before taking any action (like speaking), take three slow breaths, especially focusing on a slower exhale.

Also try these brief pauses to breathe during the day

(to undo the stress and clear the mind)

  • Count to 5 or 8 on each inhale and exhale.
  • Pretend to blow into a straw and exhale slowly.
  • Insert micro-pauses into your day.

3. Manage Thoughts

They say “mindset is everything” , and as you learned in self-coaching model,they are correct.

How we think impacts how we feel and what we do or don’t do.

While we can’t stop thoughts, we can manage them. Train your mindfulness muscle to notice and let go of unhelpful thoughts.

Understand that there are no right or wrong thoughts—just helpful or unhelpful to your goals. And while we can argue about this… has trying to be right ever helped your situation? Exactly…

Choose (helpful) thoughts that reduce stress and align with your objectives.

Explore the power of growth mindset—believing in your capacity to learn, grow, and improve. So “I can’t do this” becomes “I can’d this yet” or “I failed” becomes “I am learning”, etc.

Challenge unhelpful thoughts (whether right or wrong!) and replace them with constructive beliefs. Over time, you’ll notice a positive shift in your mindset.

4. In-the-Moment “Safe” Word

This tool has been a game-changer for me. Having a automatic “safe”word to any challenge does not let your mind go into an unhelpful spiral of often catastrophizing thoughts.

While working on mindset is preventive, having a “safe” word is an immediate relief.

Choose one word—mine is “Good.” Just make it short.

Regardless of the situation, tell yourself, “Good.”

Didn’t get the promotion? “Good” Now you know where to improve.

Child not cooperating? “Good.” That means you are exactly where you need to be right now.

Stakeholders pushing back? “Good.”- You can make your solution even better

This word interrupts stress-inducing thoughts, engages your executive brain, and inserts a pause, bringing you back from survival reactions to rational thinking.

For a deep dive into this technique, check out Jocko Willink’s video who used this technique in his time as a Navy SEALs officer

5. Rest

Nothing can replace deep rest. No green smoothies or magical cures can hack rest.

Lack of rest leads to hormonal imbalances, mental health issues, cortisol overload, weight gain, and more. Your body needs deep rest, not just breaks and resets here and there. Schedule you at least 10 vacation before anything else, and and invest in quality sleep to avoid burnout.

After struggling with insomnia for years, sleep is a religion in my house. I have special blackout curtains, sleep with ear plugs, and I have a routine I don’t break to ensure restful sleep. As soon as I am off my routine, when life happens, this is the first thing I prioritize. I am now that lame friend who would say no to alcohol, and leave the party at 10:00 pm because sleep is the new cool.

6. Move

I don’t care how you move, but move.

Whether it’s dancing, walking, running, biking, swimming, or working out—commit to movement, especially when overwhelm accumulates.

Movement shifts energy, activates metabolism, and provides a fresh perspective. Incorporate movement into your day, even with simple activities like walking meetings.

Easy ways to move:

  • Do 10 jumping jacks, dance or walk around the floor between meetings.
  • Introduce walking meetings (especially for challenging conversations)
  • Commit to a daily movement goal (30 mins/day, for example) to allow for flexibility.

7. Honour Who You Are

When life looks good externally but feels depleting inside, you may be fitting into the wrong mold.

This will always be draining your batteries, and despite all the other (above) efforts you will feel depleted. It’s like pouring water into a bucket full of holes.

Acknowledge your dissatisfaction, get to know yourself, and define your success criteria before someone else defines it for you. The earlier you learn to appreciate how truly unique you are, the faster you escape the mental comparison trap.

Steps to connect with yourself:

  • Acknowledge that you are not happy with your current situation. Resist the urge to rush into fixing anything—just be with this awareness and invite curiosity and openness into the process.
  • Get to know yourself by leveraging your newly trained mindfulness muscle. Notice how you feel in the moment and get curious about why.
  • Reflect on your life, draw a timeline with jobs, projects, milestones, and analyze positive versus negative states. Identify patterns, strengths, and achievements.

To define your success criteria, instead of thinking of your next performance review, think of your conversation with your 80 year old self. Try these two exercises:

  • Pretend to write your own eulogy
  • Define your values and alignment with them (you can use this worksheet)This introspective journey is best done with a coach, who ensures you remain accountable to the best version of yourself , steering clear of default thinking.

8. (BONUS) Don’t Do It Alone

Modern life overwhelms us by default, as it contradicts our evolutionary design.

Embrace the power of a team, not just at work but for yourself. In my team—let’s call it Team Nataliya—we have a therapist, yoga teacher, executive coach, osteopath, child occupational therapist, a cleaning lady, and a virtual assistant. We’re in the market for an occasional babysitter and social media support.

As athletes of life, consider: who do you need to add to your team?


Remember, this journey is ongoing, and your toolbox is a dynamic resource that evolves with you. Which tools resonated with you?

 


Hi, I’m Nataliya Becker

I’m an Executive Coach & Team Facilitator. I work with growth-seeking leaders and their teams in the throws of change. Using my “nerdy mind with a hippy heart,” I bring a diverse range of analytical and intuitive approaches to 1:1 coaching, team facilitation, bespoke retreats, and leadership programming.

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Let’s connect! Find me on LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/nataliyabecker

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