Episode 18: Resiliency: Bringing Out the Comeback Kid in All of Us
Episode 18: Resiliency: Bringing Out the Comeback Kid in All of Us
Rebecca is back for her second episode on the LAT podcast! This time, she and Alyssa shift gears and talk about concrete ways to hone skills that will make us more resilient as we head into the second wave of a pandemic on top of the holiday season.
For more on Rebecca’s group practice, visit: rebelliouswellnesscounseling.com
Articles referenced in this episode:
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Alyssa Scolari [00:23]:
There we go. Hello, everybody. Welcome to another fantastic episode of the Light After Trauma podcast. I am your host, Alyssa Scolari. And we have a familiar face back here today. You guys loved her. You asked for her. She is your strong shot of whiskey and your warm cup of tea. We’ve got Rebecca Christianson back, LCSW, founder of Rebellious Wellness Counseling. Hello.
Rebecca Christianson [00:58]:
Hello. It’s good to be here. It’s good to be back.
Alyssa Scolari [01:03]:
I’m so happy you’re back. What are we talking about? Well, I guess first I want to ask you, how’s the business going?
Rebecca Christianson [01:14]:
It’s going really well. It’s going really well. I sent the podcast out. I posted it on my website and Instagram and Facebook pages, and everybody … I got tons of good feedback. I was really excited to be back today. It was really fun. I had never been interviewed for a podcast. It was really fun. I got a lot of good feedback, and business is going really well.
I think that, unfortunately, in light of the times, that people who usually manage their anxiety well or their depressive symptoms well are struggling. It’s bittersweet when business is really good because it kind of means that people are suffering, and that’s not good, but it does feel good to help them. It definitely feels good to … Even though I’m sure you are too putting in packed days, it does, at the end of the day, feel good to be able to right the ship a little bit, be able to give people tools and be able to help people manage a little bit better.
Alyssa Scolari [02:17]:
It’s so funny that you say that because I haven’t really been able to put words to what I feel about it until really right this moment. But, there are so many people that say to me … Like my landlord says to me … And I think I’ve said this before on the show. But, I have the best landlord in the entire world. He is an angel on earth. But, he says to me a lot, “You’re always here. Business must be booming. I’m sure you’ve got people reaching out to you left and right.” I’m like, “Yeah.” He was like, “Well, you must be so happy.” I’m like, “Uh …” Because yeah, but no because everybody’s suffering so much right now. But also yeah because some people are finally coming forward and working with the demons that they’ve been running from for so long because this pandemic has really forced us to sit with our demons.
It’s a mixed bag of emotions when … It’s not just like, “Yeah, business is great.” It’s like, “Yeah, no. People are really suffering with severe depression and posttraumatic stress.” So, business is great, but my heart breaks for the world.
Rebecca Christianson [03:36]:
Yes. It’s exactly right. It’s like it’s really hard to say, “Yeah, I’m really happy. Business is great,” because that means so many people are having a hard time. But, it does feel really good to be part of the positivity in that, part of the change in that, part of helping people cope differently or a different perspective or just be a place where you can hold their emotion without judgment.
Alyssa Scolari [03:59]:
Just holding space. Yeah. No, I agree. I agree with you. For the listeners out there, we are recording this on Saturday. Well, God. What is the date? Oh, November 21st. I don’t even know. The days blend together. So when the time this comes out, it will be Tuesday the 24th. Rebecca is coming back on. We thought that this would be a really great time for her to come back on. We’re going to shift gears a little bit because last time we talked a lot about grief. We’re talking about not so much the opposite. Would you call it the opposite?
Rebecca Christianson [04:40]:
No. I think just difference, I think. It’s the different, shifting gears to a different avenue.
Alyssa Scolari [04:47]:
Okay. Yeah, it’s not so much the opposite. Well, we’re talking about resiliency today. It’s a great topic for right now in the post-election, mid-second wave pandemic, pre-holiday season chaos that is going on.
Rebecca Christianson [05:15]:
Yep. Right. Someone sent me an article in The Wall Street Journal about hope. It was written by Elizabeth Bernstein. It’s not one of the articles that I sent you, but I will send it to you. I loved it because she calls hope the PPE, personal protective emotion. I thought, “Wow. It’s really good.”
Alyssa Scolari [05:42]:
I love that.
Rebecca Christianson [05:44]:
In the article, it just talked about how crucial hope is to our physical and mental health and how it helps us sleep better. It helps us be better parents. It helps us form stronger relationships. And it made me start to think that hope is such a huge component to resiliency. I think you and I had a conversation about doing a podcast on resiliency.
Since then, I feel like it’s like … You know when you buy a white car and you drive around and everybody has a white car suddenly? It’s like ever since I talked about resiliency, I feel like I’ve seen everywhere. NASA and SpaceX sent their rocket up last week. It was called Resilience.
Alyssa Scolari [06:28]:
Really? I had no idea.
Rebecca Christianson [06:30]:
It was called Resilience. I saw one of the astronauts. I saw a really short interview with one of the astronauts. He said, “We named this rocket Resilience because of the state of the nation.” I was like, “Wow. That’s our podcast.” I was so excited.
The article on hope and just calling it PPE, I thought, “That is so true. Hope is the number one component in being able to be resilient. Then, I just became a little bit obsessed about what resiliency meant and how people defined it, and I think that … I sent you a bunch of articles. I have a couple more to send you. I think researching it gave me hope, like, “Wow. Look at all these articles and all this information on resiliency. It is possible. It is a thing.”
The most important thing, I think, I found about resiliency is that it’s not a fixed trait. You don’t have it or don’t have it. It’s something that you can learn, something you can build that gives you hope like, “Okay, I don’t have to just have it,” or, “I wasn’t born with it,” or, “I was born with it.” I can build it. I can learn resiliency. And that, I think, hopefully will give everyone some hope.
But, my favorite definition was in an article written by John Debell. It was according to the Stockholm Resilience Center. I thought, “It’s probably a pretty good description.” I’m going to read it. It says, “Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city, or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is how humans and nature can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.” I thought, “I like that definition.” There were a lot of definitions, but that one was the one that I liked the best.
Alyssa Scolari [08:36]:
That’s amazing. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. I like to break it down and … When you talk about resiliency, I always call it in terms of the individual being a comeback kid. I’ve always called myself a comeback kid my whole life. I didn’t even know what it meant until recently, but I was always like, “There I am, the comeback kid.” I think really what that boils down to is resiliency.
Rebecca Christianson [09:06]:
It does. I think it does. It’s funny that you say that because I listened to a few … There’s a few songs on different tracks that I listen to when I run. One of them is Titanium and Girl on Fire. There’s a couple of songs I listen to, and it’s all the same thing, what you just said, comeback kid. It really boils down to, I think, resiliency, being able to be resilient.
Alyssa Scolari [09:34]:
There is a song called the Comeback Kid. It’s by The Band Perry.
Rebecca Christianson [09:42]:
Alyssa Scolari [09:42]:
I don’t know if you’re interested in country music at all or-
Rebecca Christianson [09:44]:
Alyssa Scolari [09:45]:
… any of the listeners out there. If you guys don’t know who The Band Perry is, they’re the ones who wrote that song that’s like, “If I die young, bury me in satin. Lay me down in a bed of roses,” or I don’t know. I probably am totally botching it.
Rebecca Christianson [10:00]:
I do know what song you’re talking about. It was wildly popular.
Alyssa Scolari [10:04]:
Yes. It was so popular years ago. They have a song called the Comeback Kid. It was released years ago, and it was nowhere near as big as the when I die young or if I die young song, whatever. I remember hearing it, and I was like, “Oh, that’s me, the comeback kid.” And it’s just really, it’s all about resiliency, which is …
I think when we talk about resiliency, a lot of people tell us to picture this elasticity almost. I agree with that in a sense, but I also think it gives the false perception that it’s a quick process. You kind of get pulled down, and then you shoot right back up like a rubber band.
Rebecca Christianson [10:56]:
Alyssa Scolari [11:00]:
And I will for all the listeners out there link all of these articles in the show notes. But in one the articles that you had sent me, they were very clear about the important thing to remember is that it’s not like you’re jumping on a trampoline where you’re down and then you get shot right back up. It’s actually a really slow, somewhat difficult process.
Rebecca Christianson [11:26]:
Right. I think it’s being able to understand what’s happening maybe globally or what’s happening outside of you and your immediate environment and then how that impacts you. Then, it’s learning these skills or taking these steps to bounce back. So yeah, I know what article you’re talking about, but it’s not like a trampoline, bounce back. It’s not like you go down and you bounce right back up. It’s more like taking stock, taking time, and then learning how it impacts you and what skills you need to think differently to be innovative, to learn, which I think they’re …
I remember when the pandemic hit and they showed all these small businesses who were making hand sanitizer instead of their product. Jack Daniels, like the whiskey, they started making hand sanitizer and sending it out. Children even started sewing masks. People at home started sewing masks and sending them out or donating them. I think that’s the innovative thinking part. How does this impact me? Kind of get your bearings. Then, how can I help myself and how can I help the greater cause? I think that’s part of resiliency that think was one of the messages throughout all of the articles.
Alyssa Scolari [13:09]:
What makes some people have more resiliency than others?
Rebecca Christianson [13:15]:
I think that’s a good question.
Alyssa Scolari [13:17]:
I don’t know the answer to that.
Rebecca Christianson [13:19]:
I think that it has to do with a couple different things. I definitely think the more people have had to cope with makes them more resilient. So, I think that those skills, those resiliency skills that some of the articles talk about. One of the articles … Dr. Ginsburg from CHOP actually wrote The Seven C of Resiliency, competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. I think competence and confidence comes from having to cope with other things in your life. I think what makes some people look like they naturally have resiliency versus other people is probably how much they’ve had to cope with in their life.
But again, the good news is even if you haven’t had to cope with much in your life and you do have something, you can learn it. What I love is the contribution part. I think that that builds confidence and character and competence. As you start to help yourself and help others, you build that confidence that things can change, that hope. Things can change. Things can change for me, and things can change in the greater world. So, those seven Cs.
I did sort of a comparison of all the articles, and I think there’s continual message through all of them. Connection’s a huge through all of the articles. Community, social support, and making those connections. Not to isolate, right? I think that’s what makes people more resilient, the people who tend to isolate are less resilient than the people who are able to share their struggle, accept help, be part of the help. I think connections and community are a big part of all of the articles. They call it different things. One of them calls social support, being part of social support, receiving social support. So, both of it, I think that’s really important, like accepting the help and helping. Just that one piece of it leads to resiliency.
Then, the article from Everyday Health talked about realistic planning, which I think was real interesting. It was the only one that talked about realistic planning. I thought that’s a really important piece as well. Because just as we talked about, be part of the change, to not be like, “Well, I’m going to leave my family and go volunteer,” but to be able to realistically plan. The nation might be shut down again. What does that mean for me? Ability to realistically plan I think was like … I’m surprised that that wasn’t mentioned in more articles because I thought that was a really important piece. I feel like that helps people feel in control, which is, I think, a message through all of the articles and really big, like the feeling like you have some control over how this is going to impact you is a big cornerstone of resiliency.
Alyssa Scolari [16:39]:
Yeah. And I’m surprised to hear that that’s not talked about more because I think that the realistic planning is so important, especially right now because our versions of social connection and all the things that we need for resiliency are going to look a little bit different because we are sort of being forced into isolation.
Rebecca Christianson [17:05]:
Alyssa Scolari [17:05]:
So, we have to be realistic about how we can help ourselves and help others and not just say, “Well, there is no plan. There is no hope because the whole nation is shutting down. It makes me think a lot.” I don’t know if I’ve shared this on the podcast. I studied abroad in Italy in 2012, and I was brutally … Part of my trauma is that I was brutally assaulted when I was in Italy and essentially was left in an alley. I remember the thing that got me through was the realistic planning. And not just in the moment for, well, how am I going to get home, I’m in this foreign country and I don’t speak this language, but also, what am I going to do with this. Because I could just lay here on this alley and die. It was freezing. It was one of the coldest winters that they had had. And I could just lay here and just say, “All right.” But, I knew that I needed to help people who had been through this.
There was something inside of me that was like, “Nope. One day you’re going to help people who have been assaulted, who have been traumatized. You’re going to be a voice for others.” That was sort of the long-term goal that helped me stay alive. Then, also, you also need short-term goals. Well, I can’t wait to go home and see my family. Or I can’t wait to go back to my apartment. Or I think for me one of the things that I thought … And this is classic for me is that … Obviously the food in Italy … Have you ever been to Italy?
Rebecca Christianson [19:25]:
I have not been to Italy. No.
Alyssa Scolari [19:25]:
Rebecca Christianson [19:27]:
I have not been.
Alyssa Scolari [19:28]:
Man, the pasta.
Rebecca Christianson [19:30]:
I can only imagine, yes. It’s one of the places I’m on my bucket list.
Alyssa Scolari [19:35]:
One of the things that I remember thinking was, oh, hell no. I have more pasta I need to eat. I got to get home. I got to get home. I need to eat more pasta. I have not seen enough of this world. I have not eaten enough of the food, which is just very, very classic me. But, I don’t know, it’s finding hope in different ways, which I think leads to resiliency. I think I was all over the map when I just said that, but does that make sense?
Rebecca Christianson [20:03]:
Yeah, it does make sense. It’s like that realistic planning like, “Okay, what am I going to do next?” And it gives you that sense of control. I think that’s what you were saying. In the most desperate, horrible, horrible time, that decision to survive, and then the realistic planning that gave you the control is what led you to hope and the hope of survival knowing you were going to survive this.
Alyssa Scolari [20:30]:
Rebecca Christianson [20:32]:
And I think that we all have the ability to do that. Some people question. I definitely have seen people who question their ability to be able to realistically plan, but that’s a skill that everybody has. You have to access it. And I think that that sometimes is the problem, being able to access that ability. But, everybody has it, to hone that skill and realize like, “Okay, I can get out of the situation. I need to figure out how.” Sometimes that means reaching out to people who support you or services that support you. Or it’s just figuring out what that is for you.
Alyssa Scolari [21:11]:
And sometimes it’s even as small as … And this is what I also want people to take away from this is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be as deep as what I was saying, which is trying to make it home and pick myself up after being assaulted. Sometimes it’s as small as just making the choice to get up out of bed. And I don’t think that people realize that there’s resiliency in that. The people who are battling depression, who are opening their eyes and going, “Another day. How am I going to make it through this day?” Your decision to even plant your feet on the ground and stand up is an act in itself of resiliency, and there’s hope in that.
Rebecca Christianson [22:04]:
Alyssa Scolari [22:05]:
As suicidal as you may be, as hopeless as you may be, there’s some part of you that is still very resilient when you make the decision even just to get up or to feed yourself or whatever it may be. Maybe even if it’s just brushing your teeth.
Rebecca Christianson [22:21]:
Every step forward is a step in that direction, a step in resiliency. It’s exactly right. The decision to plant your feet on the ground and take that first step. Get dressed. Brush your teeth. All of that is a step in the right direction for resiliency. It really is.
It’s like that never give up. It’s that just. You remember that really famous cartoon with the frog? It says like never give up. I don’t know if you-
Alyssa Scolari [22:53]:
Rebecca Christianson [22:54]:
Yeah. That’s what it just flashed into my head. One of my best friends and I have this quote that we send each other sometimes. It says, “Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.” Sometimes that is my motto. Sometimes it’s like, “That’s my motto. Get up, dress up, show up.”
I think that what’s important right now is that people realize there is hope on the horizon as far as the virus goes. Heading into winter, I see a lot of people, as I’m sure you do, heading into winter, this winter, this holiday season where you’re not really allowed to see extended family, where the holiday season’s going to look really different. The winter’s going to feel really dark. I think it’s remembering that hope is on the horizon as far as a vaccine and better testing and that when we look back in a year from now, this will be a point in time on the radar screen of our life. It does not have to define life for us forever. When we look back in a year from now next holiday season, this will be like 2020. And when we’re headed into 2022, it will not feel as it does right now.
So, just to kind of remember that idea that this will not always feel like it does right now. How can I take that hope and be resilient through this time when we’re headed into this dark winter? What can I do? What steps can I take? I think if we all could just remember that it’s allowing the support networks to help us, the people who support us, staying in contact with them and contacting the people that we support or that reaching out, even if it’s virtually. Right now, even if it’s virtually to allow people to support us, because we all need support through this, and supporting others. I think it’s that reciprocity that helps that connection that helps us feel more confident, that helps us feel not alone and not as isolated, that helps our connections. I feel like that is a huge step in the right direction as far as resiliency.
It gives our struggle meeting. It helps validate that we’re not alone and that we are struggling along with other people. And as we connect to people as a community, it’s easier to get through those times when you feel connected, when you allow those people in, and when you help other people.
Alyssa Scolari [25:43]:
Yeah. And that’s not always easy. As I’m listening to you talk, I’m thinking about even last night. I’m, of course, going to drag DBT into this because I just completed that DBT program. I think about this idea of throwing yourself into the moment and actively participating. It is so much easier, I feel like, right now when it’s dark at … I don’t know. It feels like it’s dark after lunch. I eat lunch, and I look outside and it’s dark out.
Thanksgiving is in a few days. David and I have decided not to do anything for Thanksgiving for a number of reasons, but obviously namely the pandemic. I have been not consciously but I think maybe subconsciously not ditching but I haven’t been very attentive to one of my best friends.
I have a best friend who is actually getting married, and it’s not at all the wedding that she was planning. I mean, a year ago, we were planning … We should be in India right now getting married. She is having a very small courthouse wedding, and she’s getting married on Tuesday when … Aw, when this podcast launches.
Rebecca Christianson [27:11]:
Alyssa Scolari [27:13]:
Urvashi, happy wedding day. But, I have been trying to touch base with her all week, and I just keep sleeping instead. Even last night, she was like, “I’m going to call you at 5:30 tonight.” I was like, “Okay.” I love her. It’s not her, but it took every ounce of my being to even pick up the phone, and I did. Then, afterwards, I felt so much better and so much more connected. I think it’s a lot easier said than done, especially right now, because it’s so much easier to note hop on that Zoom call or to not pick up the phone.
Rebecca Christianson [28:02]:
Yeah. No, that’s definitely true. People, especially people that are working from home and doing Zoom calls, they don’t want to do another ZOom call with a friend or a family member. I guess that’s what I’m saying is we were talking about decisions, the decision to plant your feet on the floor, the decision to take a step forward. All of those are decisions in the right direction for resiliency. The decision not to not answer her call, the decision to answer her call is a right step in resiliency to feel that connection because you feel so much better when you stay connected.
And it’s so hard because we’re being told to isolate. That was such a important point that you made earlier. We’re being told to isolate. So, that staying connected is even one step further. It’s a little bit harder, but it’s so worth doing because that is how we find strength and purpose and how we … It helps us come up with that realistic plan. It helps not only for ourselves but for our friends, our families, our neighbors that … We can be part of their plan. They can be part of our plan. That connection is huge.
One of the quotes for EFT for couples that I use, it’s a YouTube and it says, “Love is the reason that we’re here. Love is the reason we’re alive.” And that connection, so important.
Alyssa Scolari [29:31]:
That’s so true.
Rebecca Christianson [29:32]:
Yeah. There were two other things in the articles that I thought were super important, too. One of them was the APA article. It talks about fostering wellness. That’s a huge component to resiliency.
Alyssa Scolari [29:47]:
Yeah. Can you talk about what that means exactly? Because that is so important. You’re right.
Rebecca Christianson [29:56]:
It talks about especially when we are struggling emotionally, mentally, psychically to not to take care of ourselves physically. The idea of I’m in this and I’m struggling with the social injustice, with the political unrest, with the pandemic and what that means, and going into winter when it’s darker, and it’s harder to reach out. So, we tend to not take care of ourselves physically, not exercise, not eat healthy, not drink enough water, all those things. It’s like trying to stay cognizant and devise a plan, whatever that is, to help ourselves physically stay as strong as we can, remind ourselves to drink more water, remember to make healthy choices, remember to exercise, even if that’s wrestling with your kids or dusting off your Wii Fit or whatever that is.
Everything’s on demand now. You can do yoga. You can do Zumba. You can do whatever it is, and it doesn’t have to be 30 minutes a day. Just stay active fostering wellness.
Then also, emotionally fostering wellness, mindfulness. You were talking about DBT. The first construct is mindfulness. But, learning mindfulness, learning to find time to quiet your mind, cognitive reframing, journaling, seeking help, also paying attention to your emotional health in a way that some people never have had to because they weren’t locked down. So, taking care of their physical and emotional health was almost like a part of their routine. And now it’s not part of their routine because they’re not driving to their office and in community. They don’t have the water cooler at work, and they don’t whatever.
It’s like taking care of your emotional and physical health in a way that you never had to pay attention to it the same way. That was huge. I thought that was a really … You can’t break down emotionally and physically and be resilient. You have to foster that. You have to take care of that, those parts of you to be resilient.
Alyssa Scolari [32:23]:
Yeah. Absolutely. I always like to point this out because … And this could just be … I don’t know. Maybe this is just me. But, I actually think this is accurate for most folks with a history of trauma, mindfulness. Mindfulness has always been my least favorite word in the realm of psychology, therapy, whatever. Every time someone says mindfulness, I roll my eyes because I picture sitting cross-legged on the floor like kumbaya style, sitting in silence and meditation. I guess I picture meditation.
I think that it’s important to point out that mindfulness really just means being all in in whatever you are doing. For me, my nervous system is so overactive because of my history of trauma that meditation right now I’m just not there. I can’t sit cross-legged on a floor and close my eyes and think about anything because it’s too triggering for me. So, mindfulness for me looks more like doing a puzzle because I have to be all in. I have to be looking at it. I have to be thinking about how the pieces fit together. So I’m active in my mindfulness, and I think that that’s an important piece for people to know is that mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean just sitting still. That make sense?
Rebecca Christianson [34:01]:
Yeah. One of the skills I try to teach about mindfulness is that you just stop yourself and name three things in the room and what their colors are. Name three things in the room and what their function is. What do you hear, smell, taste, see? Just even that, just even … That takes like a few seconds to stop yourself and think. What are my senses experiencing right now? Where am I? What am I doing? Sometimes I tell people like, “When you wash dishes, how hot is the water? What color is the plate.”
Alyssa Scolari [34:33]:
Rebecca Christianson [34:35]:
That can be mindfulness, just being aware of place and time, stopping yourself and being aware, especially when you feel that constant level of anxiousness and you’re unsettled. So, stop yourself and say, “What am I doing right now?” Even that is enough to train your brain to start to be mindfulness.
I say all the time kids grow up so fast. Everybody says that. So, take mental snapshots of don’t ever let me forget how little those feet are, whatever, that belly laugh, those things. Take these mental notes so that you … Write them down.
I’m a huge fan of journaling. I believe that journaling is human’s way of naturally problem solving. Sometimes people are like, “I don’t know what to journal.” I don’t think you should journal every day. I don’t think that’s necessary. But, I definitely think journaling is a way to teach yourself problem solving, a way to come up with a realistic plan.
I tell people write. I don’t know what to write. And you’ll start writing, or writing about a problem or something you can’t … But, that’s mindfulness, I think, just writing down, “Today, this was my day,” or, “This is something I don’t want to forget,” or those things I think are … That’s all part of being mindful. I don’t think you have to stop and mediate, but a lot of people … When they hear mindfulness, I think one of the first things that people go to is mediation. Exactly, sitting cross-legged. And I don’t think that that’s true at all. I think you can be mindful throughout your day. It’s the ability to stop your brain and recognize where you are in place and time and be mindful of your surroundings. That control is calming.
Alyssa Scolari [36:27]:
Yep. Couldn’t have said it better.
Rebecca Christianson [36:29]:
Anxiety is very distracting.
Alyssa Scolari [36:33]:
Is it ever? Yeah. Was there one more that you had?
Rebecca Christianson [36:38]:
There’s one more. The other one in the Everyday Health article named five principles, which are kind of things to pay attention to. They’re not like building, having a realistic plan, reaching out to people. They’re not that connection character, contribution, not the … They’re not skills. They’re principles. So, they’re gratitude, compassion, acceptance, meaning, and forgiveness. I thought that that was also worth mentioning.
I also tell people the easiest way to get out of a tough place in your mind is gratitude, so finding one thing you’re grateful for. Sometimes I tell people if they have difficulty sleeping to write three things you’re grateful for and put it on your nightstand so it’s the last thing you think of and it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. Gratefulness is the easiest, quickest reframe. So you can almost always find one thing you’re grateful for. Sometimes I tell people when they go to WaWa in the morning for their coffee to hold the door open for someone. Because just that thank you can-
Alyssa Scolari [37:51]:
Rebecca Christianson [37:51]:
… change your day.
Alyssa Scolari [37:52]:
Except in New Jersey when some people never even say thank you. Then, I end up in a rage. I know I’m not the only one who will hold the door and then people just walk in and don’t say anything. And you’re just like, “Oh, you’re welcome.”
Rebecca Christianson [38:09]:
That’s so funny, because the second one is compassion. So, I would say that maybe having some compassion that they’re having a bad day.
Alyssa Scolari [38:17]:
I have lots of compassion in the office. But if you catch me at WaWa and I hold the door for you and you don’t say a damn thing to me, my compassion is gone.
Rebecca Christianson [38:28]:
Right. I know. I know. I have had that before where people say like, “I did that, and they didn’t say thank you.” I say, “Well, do it again tomorrow. And if it’s the same person, don’t hold the door open. Hold it open for somebody else.”
Alyssa Scolari [38:41]:
Right, right. And the point is you’re not necessarily doing things for the thank you. Sometimes the thank you that you get isn’t always the most important thing. It’s the act itself.
Rebecca Christianson [38:56]:
The act itself. Right, right. It’s doing something for somebody else. It kind of brings you out of yourself. But, having gratitude I think it’s the easiest and quickest reframe because you can almost always find one thing no matter how tough the spot is that you’re in that you can be grateful for.
Then, I just think the other principles were finding meaning. That was throughout a couple of the articles that I thought was interesting. I think those are things that you just kind of have to pay attention to but not necessarily … They’re not skills that you have. I think they’re things that you have to sort of pay attention to. But, I think the skills are more in what we talked about, like the community, a realistic plan that gives you some sense of control, finding purpose, helping others. I feel like we see that every day in this pandemic, and I think that’s why we are going to be resilient. I think that’s why we are going to look back at this in four years and say, “Wow. That was tough.”
My best friend and I were talking about our kids and how our kids are going to some day look back at this time. We were talking about how once there’s a vaccine that’s readily available, and there’s better testing, and schools go back full-time in session how we could see our kids reassimilate. I don’t even know if that’s a word. But, she said like, “I feel like they’re going to reassimilate.” I was like, “Oh, that’s such a good word. I’m totally going to use that in my podcast.”
Alyssa Scolari [40:44]:
If it’s not a word, it is now.
Rebecca Christianson [40:46]:
It is now. That’s right. I can just see how going back into the classroom, especially for the college kids, they’re going to reassimilate to life before. One of the things about that as we were talking about that, when I thought about reassimilating, even if that’s not a word, for all of us is that we will all have gratitude for the things that we took for granted before the pandemic.
Alyssa Scolari [41:13]:
Rebecca Christianson [41:14]:
I think we’re all going to have huge gratitude for being able to walk outside without a mask and talk to our neighbor, just to have gratitude to be able to walk into WaWa and not have to wear a mask. Some day that’s going to come back, and we are all going to be grateful for the things that we just took for granted before the pandemic.
I think that having hope that we’re going to reassimilate to normalcy and that we’re going to be grateful for the things we took for granted is, I think, such … It leaves me with such peace. It leaves me with such peace that we’re on the right road. We just have to get through it together.
Alyssa Scolari [42:00]:
Yeah. There’s going to be so much joy, I think. I almost picture it as all of us kind of discovering the inner child in us where everything is new again. Everything is new. All those college kids out there who didn’t want to get out of bed for their 8:00 AM class, and I know because I was one of them, are going to be friggin skipping to class at eight o’clock in the morning just because they can. There’s hope. There’s hope on the other side of it. That’s for sure.
Rebecca Christianson [42:38]:
Alyssa Scolari [42:40]:
I think with all this being said, to all the listeners out there, this is a lot. What Rebecca and I are talking about … Or there are lots of skills. It’s a lot to think about. And keep in mind that if you struggle with this, you don’t necessarily have to do all of this on your own. Well, one of the positives of the pandemic is that it’s actually easier than ever to get access to help because you can find a therapist, find a counselor and do telehealth.
So if you need help in any of these areas, none of us are meant to do life alone, so I hope that you are encouraged to reach out and find help if you need help with any of these things. Because even though we talk about them, I still feel, even as a therapist, and I’m sure you can relate to this, that while all of this is very important, it’s also very difficult. And I have definitely needed people in my life who are there to help me hone the trade of resiliency.
Rebecca Christianson [44:00]:
Yep. Exactly. And that’s kind of where we started was like community, like allowing our supports to support us and to pay that forward to support others. That is, I think, one of the number one constructs and resiliency in general is being able to do that, being able to receive help and to give help.
Alyssa Scolari [44:26]:
Absolutely. Well, thank you for coming on again.
Rebecca Christianson [44:32]:
You’re welcome. I was happy to.
Alyssa Scolari [44:35]:
I know. I was so happy to have you back on. People really, really liked the podcast that we did. Oh, and by the way, Ireland, all of my Irish folks reached out to me because we have … There are people in Ireland who are downloading this podcast, and I want to know who you are. So, find me on Twitter, on Instagram. Email me, email@example.com. Because there are some folks in Ireland who are really liking the podcast. And I would be so interested to connect with you. I don’t know. It just amazes me how the reach that the podcast has had and that people are listening. But Ireland in particular, they’re really all over this podcast. So, hi, Ireland. Thank you for the love.
So yes, thank you, Rebecca Christianson, LCSW, founder of Rebellious Wellness Counseling. I will post her website again. If you are looking for help, please reach out. They are accepting new clients right now. Rebecca and her team will be happy to help you.
Rebecca Christianson [45:55]:
Awesome. Thank you so much. Yes, thanks. Thanks for having me. I love to chat about these subjects that I feel like are so important to everyone.
Alyssa Scolari [46:05]:
It’s the best. I know. You’ll be back.
Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoyed this episode. For more information about today’s episode and to sign up for the Light After Trauma newsletter, head over to my website at alyssascolari.com. I’m also on Twitter, and I’d love to chat with you guys. Be sure to follow me. My Twitter handle is AlyssaScolari. Thanks again for listening, and take good care.