Hello and welcome to Making Generation R: Resilience Through Inspiration. To start with, all you need to do is put in the password and click play on the video below.

Definitions

Before you move on to the activity, it might be useful to have a look at the definitions once again. These will be useful as you move on to the activity.

Adversity:
A Difficulty or Challenge you may face in your life. These may be small and everyday or big and life changing.

Resilience:
Your ability to use helpful coping strategies to overcome or recover from the adversities you may face.

Helpful Coping Strategy:
Actions and techniques you can use to manage the challenges you may face, and to manage your reaction in a way that is useful.

Activity

Now that you have listened to the story, below you will find a few short exercises where you can explore the story further, and look at what resilience means to you.

You could complete these activities by:

  1. Printing out the activity sheet here.
  2. Drawing your own images of the activity sheets using pen and paper.

Exercise 1 – Story

First, think back to the story you have just heard.

Answer the following questions – you can replay the video if you need.

  1. Identify the adversities your speaker faced.
  2. How did the speaker feel when faced with adversity / how do you think they felt?
  3. Did the speaker do anything that was unhelpful to their recovery? Why was it unhelpful?
  4. What helpful things did the speaker do during their recovery? Why were they helpful?
  5. In your opinion, how did the speaker show their resilience?

Exercise 2 – Adversity

Now that you’ve explored adversity, resilience and coping strategies in the context of your speaker’s story – we’re going to take a look at what these words may mean for young people today, starting with adversity.

Adversity: A Difficulty or Challenge you may face in your life. These may be small and everyday or big and life changing.

We may face adversities each day, some may feel bigger or smaller than others, but when we are faced with an adversity, it is important to recognise the challenge we are facing.

Here are four examples of some of adversities that young people may face today –

Now come up with at least three more adversities young people in the UK may be facing. You could think about some of the challenges faced as a result of Covid-19.

Exercise 3 – Case Study

Once we have identified the adversities we may be facing, we can then begin to look at how we are able to overcome them.

In order to do this, it is firstly helpful to be aware of what we are thinking and how we are feeling about the adversity, as this will help us understand how it is affecting us.

Pick one of the adversities from the previous exercise – this could be one that you came up with, or one of the examples – and fill in the worksheet using the following instructions: You could do this as a bullet point list or mind map if you prefer.

 

  1. Character – give your fictional character a name – no-one that you know – and pick an age between 11-18 years old – write this inside the body.
  2. Adversity – in the adversity speech bubble, write the adversity you have chosen to explore. Then write 3 bullet points to give a bit more detail about what challenge your character is facing. See example
  3. Feelings – in the heart, write down how your character may feel about the adversity they are facing – feelings can usually be described in one word and look at our emotions. See examples
  4. Thoughts – in the thought bubble, write down what your character may be thinking as a result of the challenge they are facing – thoughts are usually sentences we may say to ourselves. See examples

Exercise 4 – Coping Strategies

Recognising how we are feeling and thinking about the adversity, can help us to identify specific coping strategies that we can use to make us feel better.

Helpful Coping Strategy: Actions and techniques you can use to manage the challenges you may face, and to manage your reaction in a way that is useful.

It is helpful to have a variety of coping strategies for when we are faced with a challenge – here are five broad actions that can help us to cope when faced with adversity: Connecting with people, Taking Notice of the world around you, Being Active through exercise, Learning something new, and Giving Back by helping others.

Use the worksheet or draw the diagram below and come up with as many helpful coping strategies you think would be useful for your character and the adversity they are facing. See Examples

Exercise 5 – Personal Toolkit

Now that you have identified lots of helpful coping strategies your character could use, it’s time to think about what you can do to help yourself feel better if ever you are faced with an adversity.

Have a think about an adversity you may currently be facing (i.e. a challenging piece of school work, not being able to meet up with friends). Using the list of strategies you came up with in the previous exercise, pick six strategies that may be helpful to you and write each one next to or inside a different tool on the worksheet. Pick the coping strategies that are specific to you, and make sure there’s a variety of things you can do yourself and with others.

Exercise 6 – Helping Hand

Having a toolkit of coping strategies can be helpful for us, but it also means we have lots of ways we can help others too.

If you see someone else who is struggling, it may be helpful to share with them some of the ways that you cope.

It is important that we don’t tell people what they should do or how, but by sharing some ideas of how you help to look after yourself, you can help to give them ideas.

In the heart – write one coping strategy you would share with a friend who may be struggling – or write one sentence you would say to comfort a friend who may be struggling with an adversity.

Resilience

At the start of these exercises, we gave you our definition of resilience:

Resilience – Your ability to use helpful coping strategies to overcome or recover from the adversities you may face.

 

Now that you have completed all the exercises, we hope you can see all the ways you are already and can continue to be resilient:

  • Taking a moment to recognise the adversity
  • Consider how it makes you think and feel
  • Use your toolkit of coping strategies to identify a way it would be most helpful to overcome your specific adversity
  • Share with others how you help yourself
  • Share with others what you would say to comfort them when they are faced with an adversity

Taking these steps can help you to keep going when faced with an adversity, and recover from the challenges you may face. This is resilience.

Further Learning

Podcast

How we overcome adversity and what resilience looks like is different for each individual.

If you would like to hear how some other Blesma Members have overcome the adversities of limbloss, loss of use of limb or eyesight – how they’ve coped and what they’ve gone on to achieve, you can listen to their stories via The Resilience Sessions Podcast.

Click here to find the list of episodes.

A Coping Strategy we’d like to share: NHS Breathing Exercise

This calming breathing technique for alleviating feelings of stress, anxiety and panic, takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.

Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If possible, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.

If you are lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with palms facing up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.

If you are sitting, rest your hands on the chair’s arms.

If you are sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you are in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.

  1. Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  2. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  3. Breathe in gently, and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
  4. Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again.
  5. Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.

You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly as part of your daily routine. 

Further Support

Every Mind Matters

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more.

There are simple things we can all do to look after our mental health and well-being – take the quiz to get started today with a free plan, expert advice and practical tips.

The Mix

The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people. They are there to help you take on any challenge you are facing – from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs. 

Talk to them online, on social media or call their free, confidential helpline on 0808 808 4992.

Young Minds

Young Minds is a charity which focuses on a range of topics including the challenges of COVID, aimed at both young people and adults.

The website includes downloadable information leaflets on a range of topics, including self-harm, aimed at both young people and adults. 

Beat Eating Disorders

Beat is UK’s leading charity that supports anyone affected by eating disorders or difficulties with food, weight or shape. 

They have trained support workers who also host anonymous support chat groups online for young people, adults, and those whose friends or loved ones have an eating disorder.

Call them on 08080 801 0677 or talk to them online at
www.b-eat.co.uk.

Selfharm UK

This is a website developed by someone who used to self-harm, providing lots of support and information including access to ‘Alumina’ – a six week online programme to help you overcome self-harm. You can also self-refer. 

Find out more information and get in touch with the team at www.selfharm.co.uk.

Childline

Childline provides support to young people who have concerns about themselves of their friends. The trained listeners will never break confidentiality or judge. They are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Call them on 0800 11 11 or talk to them online at www.childline.org.

Samaritans

Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days
a year.

Call them on 116 123, email the team, or find more info online at www.samaritans.org.

Copyright © 2020 Making Generation R. Delivered in partnership with Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, and The Drive Project.