As outlandish as it might seem at first, 2020 has been defined by resiliency and support rather than merely by its crises. We, the people of Earth, have indeed faced great challenges in 2020. We’ve weathered the COVID-19 pandemic. Politics and social issues, too, have caused many people to experience heightened anxiety and fear. Yet 2020 isn’t only about these problems. This year has brought positives. We’ve come together in support, have demonstrated the ability to adapt and grow, and are acting to create long-overdue positive change in the world. A recent survey conducted by the organization OptionB sheds light on some encouraging statistics and offers tips for support and resilience that we can use this holiday season and beyond.
2020 About Resilience and Support? Survey Says Yes
To be sure, 2020 has brought significant doom and gloom. A November, 2020 survey of 2,050 people aged 18 and up conducted by the organization OptionB indicated that 80 percent faced major life challenges in 2020. (See the full survey report here.) These challenges included:
- Mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety
- Job loss and/or financial struggles
- Serious illness or injury (themselves or a loved one)
- Death of a family member or close friend
It’s important to note that the reason for illness, injury, and death was not solicited, so this doesn’t imply COVID-specific illness or death.
OptionB’s survey also revealed that despite the year’s upheaval, life isn’t all doom and gloom.
- Over two-thirds of respondents reported that they are better able to handle new challenges because of what they’ve faced and learned in 2020
- Almost half had more support this year than in the past
Where is this support coming from? It seems that we’re giving it to each other. Among the respondents:
- 70 percent stated that their most support came from family members or partners
- 55 percent received the most support from friends
- 21 percent found support from acquaintances, neighbors, community members (such as local groups and churches)
According to those surveyed, professionals like therapists, social workers, life coaches, and religious leaders were important support givers as well, but much less so — only 13 percent of respondents received the most support from professionals. In the vast majority of cases, we’ve been relying on each other, and we’ve been able to rise to our challenges because of our support systems.
How to Build More Resilience Through Support
Support helps people bounce back from adversity. We can all develop this resilience and thrive despite all kinds of obstacles and challenges. According to OptionB’s recent survey, meaningful forms of support include (percentages indicated the proportion of respondents who valued each act the most)
- Reaching out to someone simply to tell them you’re thinking of them (39 percent)
- Texting or calling regularly to check-in (30 percent)
- Simply acknowledging struggles and validating feelings (24 percent)
- Encouraging someone to take care of themselves (19 percent)
- Sending a meaningful gift or care package (17 percent)
- Inviting someone to an event (in-person or online) (17 percent)
- Doing chores or running errands to help lighten their load (12 percent)
- Helping develop a plan to get through a hard day or this holiday season (12 percent)
- Remembering significant dates related to their struggle (such as the anniversary of a loss) (7 percent)
These are only a few suggestions of ways we can support each other. In fact, 17 percent of survey respondents indicated that none of the choices given were their top forms of support, and two percent simply indicated “other.” Clearly, support is important in our ability to face challenge, and there are many ways to give and receive support.
Tips to Support Someone During the Holidays and Beyond
Holidays can be difficult in any year, and this year they may be more difficult than usual for many people (46 percent of survey takers indicated that they think this year’s holidays are harder than past holidays). To help us all help each other not just survive the holidays but enjoy meaningful times, OptionB has created an initiative called #OptionBThere for the Holidays. They offer five general tips we can all use to support each other right now, during the 2020 holiday season. This infographic highlights their tips. Go deeper and learn more specific ways to implement each tip on #OptionBThere for the Holidays.
Support a Child in Your Life and Help Them Be Resilient
We all need support so we can be flexible and resilient, kids included. Kids face stress, anxiety, and challenges. With support, information, and tools, they can learn to respond calmly and productively to the big and small challenges they face every day.
Because I believe that we all have the capacity to develop resiliency and thrive despite problems, I create tools to help people do just that — self-help books for adults and a mental health course for kids. (To do so, I draw on my educational, professional, and personal experience.)
Gift a child who’s important to you with the tools they need for a lifetime of resiliency in the face of challenges. Find it on Lernsys: Education, Your Way.