2020: The year of developing resilience

CJSA Southern Suburbs and Bo-Kaap Ladies knitting for our outreach programme in February

Resilience is the ‘rubber ball’ factor: the ability to bounce back in the event of adversity.

It’s the ability to cope with and rise to the inevitable challenges, problems and set-backs and come out stronger than before.

Resilience relies on different skills and draws on various sources of help, including rational thinking skills, physical and mental health, and your relationships with those around you. It is not necessarily about overcoming huge challenges; each of us faces plenty of challenges on a daily basis for which we must draw on our reserves of resilience. Nor does it eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties.

People who possess this resilience don’t see life through rose-coloured lenses. They understand that setbacks happen and that sometimes life is hard and painful. They still experience the emotional pain, grief, and sense of loss that comes after a tragedy, but their mental outlook allows them to work through such feelings and recover. Resilience gives people the strength to tackle problems head-on, overcome adversity, and move on with their lives.

During the past seven months we have had to cope with isolation, lockdown and a variety of personal disappointments caused by the restrictions placed on the community by COVID-19.

The organisations under the Jewish Care Cape umbrella all work closely together to ensure that everyone in our Cape Town community has access to assistance and advice when and whenever needed. During the past seven months this has been even more evident and by working together we have shown that we are a cohesive community.

There are four basic ingredients for resilience:
• Reaching out — how we call upon others to help us meet the challenges that we face? Because resilience is also about knowing when to ask for help
• Self-awareness — noticing what is going on around you and inside your head
• Mindfulness — being able to interpret the events that are going on in a rational way
• Self-care — our mental and physical ability to cope with the challenges without becoming ill
No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, as part of the main.
John Donne (English poet)

Being resilient through adversity
Every individual handles adversity in different ways and different approaches and strategies have been learned and shaped by the culture, society and family systems we grew up in and are a part of.

Some common skills and attitudes emerge across the board:
• Being connected to others. Relationships, both in and outside of the family that offer love, encouragement and assurance can build and support and care are one of the primary factors in resilience.
• Being flexible in your thinking and actions — try something new, showing emotional adjustment and maturity.
• Making realistic plans and take actions to carry them out. Part of this skill is being able to see what is, rather than what you would like. Being proactive is a component of this skill — take a courses such as CPR or First aid.
• Being able to communicate well with others. Taking care to be or become a good communicator, listen and problem solving skills while working as a team member within the community.
• Being able to manage strong feelings — clear thinking and action is needed without being impulsive. If you are angry or hurt, think before action takes place. Imagine the worst and let your imagination run riot. What could have gone wrong and what might have happened. Then think about the best possible outcomes and good it can get. Finally, think about the most likely outcomes — probably somewhere between the two and make a plan how you would respond to that.
• Being self-confident and having a positive self-image is critical if a person is able to confront and manage fear and anxiety in his or her life, such as by helping someone else.
• Finding purpose and meaning by making sense out of what is happening . Spiritual and religious practices are often a component of this factor, including acting on one’s values.
Being able to see the big picture. Optimists in general are better able to see the bigger picture than pessimists, both good and bad events occurring in their life being temporary rather than permanent.
• Being able to appreciate and use humour appropriately.
• Being able to take care of yourself — diet, exercise and also being able to take care of others physically and emotionally can also build resilience.

We are all capable of being resilient and 2020 is a year that has tried each one of us to the fullest with many of us surprising not only ourselves, but those around us with the ways in which we have coped. Hopefully this document will assist those of you having difficulty to adjust and make the most of every day.

Special mention of our knitting ladies who have continued to produce wonderful beanies and knitted articles throughout lockdown which have been donated to the less fortunate during the cold winter months. Thank you ladies. Anyone is welcome to join this group of committed knitters.

CJSA will be holding a special AGM via Zoom on 3 December. All interested parties are invited to attend. Please contact our office on admin@cjsa.org.za for details of logging onto the Zoom link.

Diana Sochen

Social & Personal
Judy Dadon — grandson
Ruth Katzeff — great granddaughter
Barbara Kahn — grandson
Barmitzvah/ Batmitzvah
Harry and Simone Friedland — granddaughter
Prof Cyril and Jenny Karabus — grandson
Gavin and Sarah Morris — son
Mervyn and Arona Shrand — grandson
Special Birthdays and Anniversary
Maureen Helman — 80th Birthday
Collette and Barry Levin — Golden Wedding Anniversary
Dennis and Nesta Shorkend — granddaughter
Our condolences to those members who have lost loved ones during the past month

Judy Galansky — mother, Dorothy
Sam Goronovsky — sister, Janey Casper
Zelda Harris — mother
Joyce and Lionel Hessen — daughter
Bess Lonstein — sister, Janey Casper
Hillary Murcia — mother
Lilian Sheldon — partner, Dodi Davis

Our condolences to family members of CJSA members who have passed away during the last month
Janey Casper, Dodi Davis, Lisa Lerer, and Erica O’Riordan

Cape Jewish Seniors Association
Director: Diana Sochen, 021 434 9691, director@cjsa.org.za
Admin: Amanda, 021 434 9691, admin@cjsa.org.za
CJSA on Facebook

Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Download the Dec/Jan issue PDF here.

Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

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