Do you recognize how you operate under pressure?
Getting to know yourself and practicing new skills are key factors in strengthening psychological resilience in times of crisis. By trying to understand yourself, building healthy routines, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills and maintaining a sense of community, you can increase your ability to cope and adapt in difficult circumstances.
How can you improve psychological resilience before a crisis?
Self-care and routines
- Getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet and regular exercise promote physical and mental health.
- Forming daily routines makes it easier to get by even in disruptions and crises.
- Ensure that you have an emergency food supply and other necessities at home. When you know you have useful supplies ready, you have more confidence in your own ability to get by.
Knowledge and skills:
- Being prepared means not just supplies, but also knowledge and skills. Gaining knowledge and accepting that difficult situations can happen help you prepare mentally.
- By practicing preparation skills, you improve your own abilities to cope with different situations. There are many organisations that offer courses to help you improve your skills. See, for example:
- National Defence Training Association (MPK), Arjen turvallisuus (Everyday safety) course and others
- Women’s National Emergency Preparedness Association, Selviytyminen sähköttä (Surviving without electricity) course and others
- Save the Children Finland, Lapsen kohtaaminen kriiseissä (Helping children during a crisis) course and others
- Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK), First-aid fire extinguishing training
- Finnish Red Cross (SPR), First aid courses
Getting to know yourself:
- Think about how you react to different situations. How do you act under pressure, and what causes a stress reaction in you? By knowing your own reactions and behaviour under stress, you are better prepared to manage them during a crisis.
- Practice simple stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises. You can find instructions for the exercises in the Mielenterveystalo.fi, for example (in Finnish).
- Testing the limits of your psychological resilience helps strengthen them and gives you confidence that you are able to cope with difficult things.
- Having people around you provides support and help even in difficult times.
- Take care of your loved ones and get to know your neighbours, for example, to make it easier to ask for and offer help in case of an emergency.
- Think about who you could help in an emergency and who might need your help.
What can you do during a crisis?
Everyone reacts differently in a crisis. These guidelines can help you and others cope better. However, it is important to listen to your own needs and be flexible when the situation requires.
Routines and active lifestyle:
- Stick to your routines. Following routines gives a familiar and safe feeling even during an emergency.
- Do things you enjoy to pass the time (such as playing cards and reading books). Meaningful activities help take thoughts away from the crisis.
- Get information from trusted sources. Choose the sources you use well, because in the event of an emergency, getting accurate information is essential. Read more on the Communication in a disruption and reliable information page.
- Don’t share information that you aren’t sure is accurate.
- Follow the instructions of the authorities.
Psychological support for yourself:
- Try to accept your emotions and the fact that in times of crisis, mental wellbeing can be put under strain.
- If necessary, ask others for support.
- Use the stress management techniques you have learned as they can help you calm down.
Emotional support for others:
- If you see someone in need of support, offer to talk to them if you can.
- Take special care of children and ensure that they feel safe.
- Stay in touch with your loved ones to check how they’re doing.
What can you do after a crisis?
Talking about emotions:
- Talk to your loved ones about a crisis or emergency and how it affected you.
- If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from helplines or chat services, for example. Check the list of services provided by organizations on the THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare) website (in Finnish).
- Remember that even though you have helped others during a crisis, you may also need help and support in dealing with your own emotions.
Being better prepared:
- Evaluate what you learned during the crisis. Think about how you can be better prepared and what to do in similar situations in the future.
- Update your home emergency food supply. Restock any missing supplies and make improvements if necessary. This will help improve your feeling of security.
- Think about what skills would have been useful to know during the crisis or emergency. Think about what you could practice to be better prepared next time.