Kate McKenzie

New Resiliency Strategies for 2019

Life likes to throw curve balls at us all. What you do when it gets hard, and the tools you have in your toolbox to face those hard moments, can make all the difference. For leaders, whether you are a manager or entrepreneur your competitive edge will be your ability to remain resilient and hopeful despite facing difficult moments.

This past year I’ve added eight new strategies to help me stay resilient and maintain mental health. As someone who deals with mental health challenges (see my TEDxYYC talk to learn more), I believe it is important to keep finding new methods to help me maintain wellness but also to face difficult days head-on. It’s also worth noting that I do not work for or receive any compensation from these companies or brands, I just found them helpful and want to share what’s worked for me.

Resiliency Strategy #1: Calm App – Sleep Stories

When I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed it’s often hard to sleep since the thoughts just keep swirling around in my brain. I’ve been using the “Calm” App with their “Sleep Stories” to help me fall asleep and get some much needed rest on nights when it’s harder. It does the trick pretty much every time.



Resiliency Strategy #2: Sunday Morning Run Club with Running Room

Knowing that there is a group, a community, that I can meet up with every Sunday morning at 8:30am has motivated me so many times this year to get out for my long runs. I’m super grateful to the Running Room and particularly, to the Beaches Running Room, for hosting these meet-ups. It’s been a great way to meet new people and stay connected. Plus, I know that staying active will help me stay in a more positive space.

Resiliency Strategy #3: Shawn Achor’s Happiness Hygiene

I listened to Shawn Achor’s audiobook, Big Potential and found so many helpful tools to support resiliency. I especially loved his 2 minute activities which he calls “Happiness Hygiene.” Similar to brushing your teeth, each of these activities are meant to help you maintain good health. I find they give me a little boost, especially mid day or at the end of my work day.

  1. List three unique things that you are grateful for and why.
  2. Write down one positive experience or most meaningful thing from the day with three key details.
  3. Do 2 minutes of meditation or just focus on your breath.
  4. Take 2 minutes to praise or thank someone by sending them a quick email, text or message.

Resiliency Strategy #4: Dr.Rangan Chatterjee’s 5 minute workout

There are definitely days when I don’t want to work out. I know though that regular movement helps boost energy levels. I loved Dr.Ranjan’s suggestion of a quick workout that you can do anytime, anywhere (even in your kitchen) without any equipment or without needing to get changed. It focuses on helping to build muscle strength so I always feel a bit more powerful afterwards!

  1. 10 press ups (against a wall or traditional pushups)
  2. 10 squats
  3. 10 lunges
  4. 10 calf raises
  5. 10 tricep dips (do them against a counter)

Resiliency Strategy #5: National Geographic Travel Instagram

At the end of a long day when I need a way to unwind and to remember that the world is still beautiful, I often check out National Geographic Travel on Instagram. They have stunning photos mostly featuring nature. It’s super calming to view them and even to learn a bit more about the story behind the photo.



Resiliency Strategy #6: Scheduling Relax Days

This year I’ve started to schedule in Relax Days into my calendar particularly after times I know will be more stressful. I try to schedule at least one every quarter. It’s a day when I am not allowed to do any work and preferably turn off my phone and computer. These relax days are like little islands of calm in the midst of my otherwise crazy schedule. Even knowing that the relax day is coming up is helpful since it gives me something to look forward to in the middle of stressful periods.

Resiliency Strategy #7: Sara Beth Yoga Youtube Channel

This year a friend of mine shared Sara Beth’s YouTube channel with me. It has all sorts of different yoga routines from 5min-30min, different styles including Ashtanga, Yin Deep Release and even one you can do in your bed! I have found it really helpful to have a workout option I can do at home and one that can be matched to my energy level for that day. It has also been a great way to practice some self care.

Resiliency Strategy #8: Stat your Day with a Positive Story – Good Night Rebel Girls

My brother sent me the best book this year called, “Good Night Rebel Girls.” These short stories and illustrations are meant to be read to children as bedtime stories but I’ve been reading one a day at the start of my day. Each story is inspiring and features a woman who had to overcome a challenge in order to pursue her goal. It’s been great to start the day with such a positive input. There’s also a version for boys by Rob Kemp called, “The Good Guys.”

I hope one of these suggestions is a new strategy that helps you and your loved ones pursue wellness this year. Let me know what you think, which one’s work and any other strategies that have worked well for you by leaving a comment below.

-Kate McKenzie





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