In a recent New York Times article, Blair Braverman, a driver of a sled dog team, writes about the way her sled dogs have reminded her to stay resilient during the pandemic, as the dogs never know how far it is to the finish line. “The difference, of course, is that sled dogs want to run, and people do not want to live through a public health crisis,” she writes. “But there’s a parallel in the unknown distance, the unseen ending.” Braverman explains that running with her dogs has given her the gift of practicing sitting with uncertainty, and the acceptance that we can’t always plan for the future.  

We asked our Thrive community to share what inspires them to stay optimistic amidst so many unknowns this year. Which of these is helping you stay resilient?

Reflecting on another time of uncertainty

“Every time I feel overwhelmed by the unknown, I think back to when I was giving birth to both of my children. It’s a time in life that you can’t plan or predict what will happen, and you simply have to go with it. It reminds me that so much of life is out of our control and all we can do is control how we react to it. Once I’ve taken myself back to that birthing mindset, I feel ready to face the next challenge.”

—Fiona Brennan, content manager, Worcester, UK 

Spending time in nature

“Nature keeps me optimistic during uncertain times, as I find that it provides a sense of calm and beauty. No matter what it is happening, nature is always there for you to enjoy and explore, showing newness as it evolves through the day and changes with the seasons. Going for a walk in a park or by a river provides a mini escape, allowing me to relax and almost forget what is happening at the moment. For me, it is the ultimate ‘soother’ which has been part of my daily routine during the pandemic.”

—Katie Dyer, wellness coach, London, UK

Tapping into gratitude 

One thing I’ve found that’s helped me stay positive is to thank the universe several times a day for all the gifts in my life, especially right now when so many others are suffering. I’m grateful for the small things, like playing legos with my 5-year-old, and also the big ones, like our health. Taking a few moments to verbally acknowledge these things gives me a greater sense of calm and resilience throughout my day.”

—Peg Sadie, psychotherapist and self-care coach, Atlanta, GA

Reminding yourself to take things day by day

“My go-to mantra has become ‘day by day.’  As an educator and a visually impaired person who grapples with anxiety, the loss of predictability and control is a monumental challenge. Being separated from those I love and not being able to hug most of those closest to me is both mentally and physically draining. To stay resilient, I count my blessings daily, even if I don’t feel like it. I remind myself of the things that are greater and more important than predictability. Day by day.”

—Leah Herzog, professional educator, Israel

Thinking about a childhood memory

“Throughout the pandemic, my thoughts have turned to my childhood repeatedly. The memories and recollections have come rushing back. I typically think about a memory from my childhood when I am out on my daily walk, and I constantly find things that remind me of my childhood. I cannot put my finger on exactly how it has helped me to cope, but I know it has. It may be that I recall the wonder of childhood, the safety and security of home, or the amazing memories spent growing up on a ranch with my brothers and our dogs. Most of all, I feel an immense sense of gratitude for my childhood and family and that makes everything easier to bear.”

—C. Michelle Duenas, director, property management and investments, Miami, FL

Taking in your kids’ joy and wonder

“My children have kept me resilient and calm during this pandemic. They are my constant reminder that life is a beautiful and exciting gift, that it’s up to us to live and experience life to the fullest. I lost both parents when my children came into the world about seven years ago. My father passed away unexpectedly about a month before my first son was born, and my mother passed away about a year later, the day after my son had started walking. My mother had made the conscious choice to feel love and happiness — and that’s what I want to choose to feel when I’m with my children. When I’m around my children, their optimism and curiosity never fails to rub off on me, and I feel better immediately.”

—Bianca Riemer, leadership coach, London, UK

Revising canceled plans

“Prior to March, I planned several trips that I had to cancel. As a diversion, I started posting old photos of my family on past vacations all over the world. The process brought forward so many memories and so much gratitude. It also allowed me to think realistically about a trip we could take during the pandemic. Once I opened the door to the positive, I was able to manifest a great September beach house rental only a few hours from home. Although it was not a trip to Europe, it was strangely almost as meaningful and memorable. Decisions anchored in what is possible are actually solutions that lead us.”

—Randi Levin, transitional life strategist, NJ/ NY

Tapping into ancient wisdom

“The quote that keeps me positive amidst the uncertainty is from Rumi: ‘Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.’ It’s the attitude I choose to remember each day — a sense that the universe has my back, as opposed to waiting for anything that could trip me up. All we can do right now is to embrace and accept our situation for what it is. What’s important is to manage our focus, thoughts, and mind to make this time an opportunity to thrive and not just merely survive. This ancient mantra has been a driving force that reminds me that everything is happening just as it should be.”

—Lori Milner, speaker, trainer, and author, Johannesburg, South Africa

Focusing on what you can control

“When I need to stay positive in the face of severe uncertainty, I remind myself to stay grounded in today, instead of stressing about tomorrow or fearing the future. While staying grounded in the present, I remind myself to focus on what we can control. When we focus on what we can control, we feel more balanced, less stressed, and are able to think more clearly.”

—Al Roehl, leadership coach based on neuroscience, Lexington, KY

Seeking out new beginnings

“Something that helps me stay resilient in the face of unknowns and change is a mantra I learned from my yoga practice: ‘You can always begin again.’ This mantra helps me cope with the stressful reality around me by reminding me that we can always start anew with a clean slate. This fresh start presents the opportunity to make a reality you want to live in. While COVID-19 isn’t a reality any of us want to live in, I believe we can begin again by taking steps to cultivate a routine, a community, and a purpose to build a life we are excited to explore.”

—Sarah Rudman, healthcare manager, Boston, MA

What’s been keeping you resilient during the unknowns of the pandemic? Share with us in the comments.

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.