How stories of adversity through the pandemic can give us all hope

I consider myself lucky (or rather, I should say blessed) to live in a country where I get free access to healthcare. Over the past year we have seen the strain on the NHS, trying to cope with the pressure the demands from the pandemic have placed on it.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 12:52 pm
Carol Stewart, executive career and business coach

When I look at countries that don’t provide such a service to their nationals, it grieves me to see that there is such a divide between the haves and the have nots. It makes me think that in some ways, life is like a lottery. Your circumstances and start in life determined by the location in which you are born. Some of us born in locations that have the likes of our NHS Some who are born where they don’t. They lack access to the medical aid we in the UK take for granted because they simply can’t afford it.

I take my hat off to all who work for the NHS. For their tireless efforts to take care of the health needs of our nation. The past 15 months have shown us just how valued they are. That is why when I was approached to contribute to the book Resilient Voices: True Stories of Resilience, Positivity and Hope from a Pandemic, give of my time, and share my experience of 2020 it was a no brainer. The reason being is that it is a give back book and all monies received from the sale of the book will go to support NHS UK. Book Brilliance Publishing is sponsoring all costs of publishing it.

The book comprises of over 40 people from across the UK, who like me have donated their time to write and share their stories of how they remained resilient through the challenges of the past year.

We've all had to be more resilient during the pandemic

With each person having a different story to tell.

As a nation we are incredibly resilient, which was demonstrated by how easily we adapted when the world as we knew it was turned upside down last year. Many of us are a lot stronger than we think, and it is often when we are pushed to the limit that we see just how strong we are.

Although we don’t like going through adversity, there are actually benefits to be gained from doing so. Research shows that when we go through challenging times, it is likely that the challenge is not so bad should we go through it again. We develop resiliency and with that comes the coping mechanisms that enable us to get through the struggles. Developing a support network and getting the support of others, and not trying to do it all on our own is important.

In order to grow through the challenges that life throws at us, researchers of post traumatic growth discovered that those people who survive trauma, identify, and embrace new opportunities. They create stronger relationships with the people that they love, as well as developing relationships with other people who have been through what they’ve been through. They develop an inner strength through the knowledge that they have overcome the adversity. They get a deeper appreciation for life. And they develop spiritually or existentially. Something we’ve seen a lot of over the past year.

A study from the University of Bath found that 88 per cent of respondents said ‘yes’ to thinking that there were positives to come out of the pandemic and social distancing restrictions. The researchers described four key areas of post traumatic growth whereby participants of the study experienced positive effects as follows:

48% described a growth in family relationships. 22% described feeling a greater appreciation for life 16% described spiritual growth, which involved a greater engagement with fundamental, existential issues 11% described discovering and embracing new opportunities and possibilities

When we are in the midst of challenging times, it can sometimes feel like we are the only ones going through what we’re experiencing. But there is something about other people’s stories of making it through adversity that gives us inspiration, encouragement, and most importantly hope. That is what Resilient Voices strives to do.

We had eagerly awaited June 21 for all social distancing restrictions to be lifted, only to be disappointed when the date for this was postponed. Yet again, plans for get togethers, parties, and other celebrations had to be shelved. But whilst we may be disappointed, the past year has shown us not to get too downhearted.

Resilient Voices: True Stories of Resilience, Positivity and Hope from a Pandemic will be published on July 5, the 73rd anniversary of the NHS, and is available to pre-order on Kindle now for a discounted price at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B097F4T19B/. All proceeds to NHS UK.