Firstly, a very Happy New Year from everyone at UFA. The working week is well underway for most of us, holidays may seem a distant memory and despite the best intentions some New Year Resolutions will already have gone by the wayside. After two wet weeks at home with a menagerie of animals, children and family members as well as far too much TV and food, my first drive into work was a welcome return to normality, until I pulled up and managed to rip a hole in my tyre.
Not a great start to the New Year, but no big issue in the scheme of things, which was quickly resolved by a call to a very helpful mobile tyre fitter and I was back on the road again, slightly poorer, but the problem was solved. But dealing with two very similar incidents in quick succession made me realise how much our ability to bounce back is shaped by what’s happening in our lives.
The exact same thing happened just a week before Christmas and thanks to a very different set of circumstances, it turned into a disaster of epic proportions. Admittedly, I have a car with no spare, just a new-fangled inflation kit, and this time I realised I had a flat when I was on the ring road in Birmingham, in the evening rush hour, in freezing cold rain and needed to get home to pick up my children. The resolution involved a two hour wait for the AA, a recovery driver who looked just like Santa, a new set of tyres, multiple phone calls and a Costco Cottage pie, before I eventually got home three hours later than expected.
This week I was tackling a problem in daylight, I was well rested and I had a warm safe place to have a coffee and research a solution online with no pressing deadlines. Before Christmas, I was cold, tired, hungry and facing a massively busy day at work the next day swiftly followed by the Christmas party. I was sitting in the dark, with no internet access, children to collect and after a very busy few weeks at home and work, few reserves left to draw on.
Both times I solved the problem, but it was far harder to bounce back where the circumstances were, shall we say, less than ideal. Resilience is a quality we refer to in our programmes and comes up more and more frequently in the media and in day to day life. It’s almost impossible to define what gives people that quality of being able to bounce back. But based on my most recent experiences, it’s the foundations our lives are based on that give us that resilience.
So I’m not making it my resolution to be more resilient, but I am making a few resolutions to support my foundations.
I will eat, exercise and sleep regularly as being tired, hungry and stressed makes any situation worse.
I will continue to make time for the people who fill my life with happiness and positivity and support me when things are going well or badly (and who will look after my children in case of emergency!)
I will recognise that life has a habit of happening whether you want it to or not, so I will be flexible and change my goals and my path as things change.
Even in the worse circumstances I will remember that ‘This too shall pass’ and that the majority of things can be solved (and I have the skills to solve them)
Professionally I look forward to working with the team to support the young people we work with in building the best possible foundations so whatever life throws at them, they can bounce back.
And finally, I will learn to park on a curb properly and take a basic car maintenance course.
Happy New Year.
This week’s blog was written by Jenni Fryer UFA Comms manager @jennifryer