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Building Resiliency with Self-Care

Dr. Dave Miers shares the importance of self-care and tips on how to build self-care in your routine.
Building Resiliency with Self-Care
Featured Speaker:
Dave Miers, PhD
Dave Miers, PhD, is the counseling and program development manager for mental health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb. He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.

Melanie Cole, MS (Host): Welcome. This is Bryan Health podcast. I'm Melanie Cole and today we’re discussing building resiliency with self-care. Joining us is Dr. Dave Miers. He’s the counselling and program development manager for mental health services at Bryan Medical Center. Dr. Miers, it’s a pleasure to have you join us again. You're a great guest. First, I want to ask you what is resilience? What does that mean really for the listeners?

Dave Miers, PhD (Guest):   Resilience is when we work through life’s challenges in a positive way. So it’s when we’re faced with adversity that comes our way and when we can work through that adversity in a positive manner. One way to look at it is maybe when we’re sick and we’re not feeling well, and we can recover afterwards. We bounce back really rapidly in a rapid manner.  

Host:   So it doesn’t mean that a person won't experience difficulty or problems, right. It’s how you deal with them because we all have them.

Dr. Miers:   Exactly. We all have adversity. We all have problems. We all face challenges in our life but it’s how we handle those challenges. So it’s how we tackle that and how we face that. The adversity and the resiliency that we develop throughout our life can have some very positive things to it. So the more resilient we are, as I mentioned earlier, we can recover faster from illness. We’re going to live longer. We can do better in our daily activities, and we’re going to be happy and healthier in our relationships. We all can become more resilient. It’s not something that we’re born with. It’s something that we can all develop.

Host:   So we’re looking at how to develop resiliency. As you said, some people come by it naturally and some people really have to work at it. Self-care, we’re talking about this today. What does that mean? How are those things really connected? Because self-care is so important. We learn more and more about the damage we’re doing to ourselves by not taking care of ourselves, especially women Dr. Miers. We’re taking care of everybody else. We don’t always take care of ourselves. So where are self-care and resiliency connected? How do we practice one with the other and learn from the other?

Dr. Miers:   Self-care is something that we think of as kind of a routine, but you might think of it as gosh, self-care is just a basic thing. It may be, but it is something that’s very, very important. It is the foundation to resiliency. As I was stating, we run into everyday problems and we run into adversity, but resiliency is where we treat problems as a learning process versus becoming overwhelmed with that adversity. That’s where that self-care becomes very, very important. For instance our sleep.  If we get the adequate amount of sleep—seven to eight hours a night for most adults—on a regular basis that’s going to build our emotional and mental resilience. That’s going to make us feel rested. So when we’re faced with problems on an everyday basis we’re going to feel better to take on those challenges. We’re not going to maybe feel as overwhelmed.

Host:   So what are some things? You just mentioned sleep. What else can we do in our daily lives that could help us to practice that self-care and work that into our ability to withstand all of those stresses? Because managing our stress is really what this is all about.

Dr. Miers:   Exactly. Well, it’s important that we spend time exercising. I mentioned sleep. We have to do what we’re comfortable with in terms of either taking a walk or if we’re a member of a gym. A lot times people are kind of getting these boutique exercise things. Whatever fits your interest and routine is really important, but you stick with it. So whether it’s early in the morning, before you go to bed. Exercising is very important. Eating well, your nutrition is very important. That’s going to boost your mood as well as your physical health. It’s important to set yourself some boundaries. So I often tell folks you have to learn to say no. A lot of times folks take on too much on to their plates. They want to be very helpful. You take on, you take on, you take on and pretty much you're being seen as gosh this person is very helpful. Before you know it your plate is overflowing and pretty soon you're feeling overwhelmed. You're like gosh, I can't do all of this. It’s like okay. I need to prioritize. You need to step back and say no once in a while and know what your limits are.

The other thing is you need to schedule your self-care. You need to know what you like to do. What are some things that you like to do when you relax? What are some fun activities that you like to do? You need to put those in your schedule and stick to that, but that’s separate from your exercise. So we exercise but then we also do some things that we do for fun. That’s what we call those self-care activities. It’s important that we enjoy nature. That we get out. So you can combine those things with the exercise. If we go for a walk and just get outside and enjoy nature, that can help reduce stress. Just go for a walk out in the countryside or whatever might be. That's important.

Then our physical health. It’s important that we take care of our physical health. Getting your flu shots, getting your medical checkups. It’s important that you take care of your boy. Because when we’re talking about resiliency, we’re taking care of our mental part of our body, our brain. Our mental physique. It’s important we also take care of the physical part. So it’s a whole mind, body, spirit that we’re putting together.

Host:   That is really great information. I love your advice about how we can turn off some of that noise and practice exercise and get out in nature and work on our stress. If a key element of resilience, Dr. Miers, is your perception of an event, how can we reframe or view our problems and challenges in a different way? I'm somebody that writes lists and I tackle the list by order of need or emerging conditions. How can we reframe these things so that we can be more resilient, and we can look at these challenges and say, “Okay, I can deal with that. I can deal with that. Oh, that one is a little too much for me. I need some help with that one.” How do we do that?

Dr. Miers:   I always encourage folks to start with celebrating our successes. So look at the things that you're doing well. So that teaches your mind that I can be successful. These are the things that I'm doing well. Then when you run into challenges it helps you to reframe those things. That you can say, “Gosh, I'm having a hard time with this, but I've had success in the past. I can tackle this. I might be having a hard time now, but let’s look at this a different way.” I too am somebody that likes to write things down. I make a lot of lists. To-do lists and things that I might be having trouble with this. Sometimes it’s important to get advice from other people, to ask for help. So if you're having trouble with something write it down, think about it, try to reframe it. If you're still struggling with it, ask for assistance. Ask a friend or ask a colleague to help you look at it maybe in a different way. It’s okay to ask for help. We tend to think we have to take on too much by ourselves, but when we know that there’s others out there that can help us sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. There's help out there. When it becomes too much and we feel overwhelmed and it does become overwhelming, we think, “Gosh, my resilience isn’t strong enough.” It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to reach out and talk to a professional and to talk to a therapist. It’s okay to seek professional help to help you build that resiliency.

Host:   Before we wrap up as we’re doing this for ourselves and we’re learning self-care and we’re teaching ourselves to build that resiliency, give us a few tips on helping our children as we’re raising them to build that resiliency, manage their stress, and really learn these good health habits that can help them be stronger adults.

Dr. Miers:   Well I think it’s important to help our children as far as when they run into struggles, into obstacles that they face is to not always jump in to solve those problems for them but to let them face some of those struggles. Help them by being a bystander and let them try to problem solve some of those obstacles themselves. To be there for them if they need, what I was saying earlier. That if you need help to ask somebody. That if they need help, they're going to ask you. Don’t jump right in right away to say, “Okay, I'm going to fix this for you. Let them try to problem solve it. That’s how they're going to build resilience is that they need to think through it, and they need to do some problem solving and some thinking and going through those steps themselves. That’s how they're going to build that resilience.

Host:   That’s great information. Really good advice we can all listen to. Any last tips? Any final thoughts you’d like to leave the listeners with about building resiliency with self-care so that we can manage our stress?

Dr. Miers:   Well, I think it’s just important that we all nurture a positive view of ourselves. That life is full of challenges. We all have our ups and down every day. A lot of it, as we’ve been talking about, is a thought process in our mind. It’s important that we have positive thoughts and that we face challenges head on and just know that we can overcome obstacles. Things will get better and that tomorrow is going to come and that we’ve had success. We can overcome. That if we need help, there is help available that’s out there.

Host:   Thank you so much Dr. Miers. Great information as always. Thank you, again, for joining us. That wraps up this episode of Bryan Health podcast. Please visit our website at for more information and to get connected with one of our providers. Please remember to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast and all the other Bryan Health podcasts. For more health tips and updates, please follow us on your social channels. I'm Melanie Cole.