What is resiliency? It can be described as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Are you a resilient person? Do you conceptualize events as traumatic or as an opportunity to learn and grow?
In the Peace Corps, we talk a lot about resiliency and ways to work through the tough times we will experience. Each volunteer brings with them different strategies to help them cope.
Back in November, I was part of a resiliency session at one of the trainings for new volunteers. There were four of us who discussed struggles we have gone through and/or currently going through and the strategies we use to cope. For me, my biggest struggle/challenge is the language. Darija (Moroccan Arabic) is not an easy language to learn and I simply find it extremely difficult. Arabic is the second hardest language to learn in the world. Darija is the Arabic dialect spoken here in Morocco. Some days I have to force myself to leave my house because I’m scared to have to speak to people. It’s a catch-22. If I stay inside I don’t have to speak; but if I actually go out and speak then maybe my language will improve; but then again, I’d have to actually go out an speak. Ugh.
I’ve developed a couple of strategies to help me and thought I’d share them here.
*If there’s something specific I need to talk to someone about, I practice what I need to say before leaving the house and as I’m walking down the street.
*I use a notebook or my phone to track new words that I can then review later
*Yoga & Exercise- every day
*Meditation – for me, meditation is about gaining control of my breath and calming my mind; many times I use meditation before leaving the house to think positive thoughts and center myself
These are my main strategies. Other things I do to preserve my sanity is have clear boundaries, hide away and read, spend time with other volunteers and eats lots of chocolate. I also find spending time with my host family to be relaxing and enjoy having couscous with them every Friday and kaskrut every Monday.
Being resilient is not easy. Knowing yourself and what works best for you so that you can learn to cope with the struggles and obstacles that face you is an important strategy for success. For PCVs it’s a vital part of service.