Strategies for building our power and positivity in uncertain times - Q&A with ‘Resilience Queen’ Justine Martin

 

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To be resilient means having the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties – to show toughness! This definition has been the cornerstone of Resilience Consultant Justine Martin’s extraordinary journey over the last decade. Ten years ago, she was diagnosed with MS, underwent three heart surgeries, then was diagnosed with three primary cancers. Justine now runs three businesses and has won several awards. She’s a resilience consultant and speaker, professional artist, mum of two and grandmother of six.
 

What does mental wellbeing mean to you?

To me, mental wellbeing means being in a good state of mind to handle the daily and normal stresses in life. Having a healthy mental state is incredibly important to cope with life in general. It results in rational thinking, a more controlled vision of life, and a level of resilience to cope with things that life throws your way.

What steps can people take to find hope and strengthen their own wellbeing?

Self-care is very important, now more than ever. Controlling what you fuel your mind with at the moment is paramount for good mental wellbeing. Personally, I’ve chosen to not watch the daily news. Instead, I fuel my mind with positive things I see and read, such as podcasts or autobiographies of inspirational people.

I also control what I see on social media. If someone’s core values don’t match mine and their posts on my news feed cause me anxiety or stress, I simply unfollow them rather than unfriend them. They will never know unless you tell them and your own mental health is so important, so to ‘tweak’ what we see or hear is a must.

Fuelling your body and movement is equally important. Eating healthy, limiting junk, alcohol and high sugar foods is again paramount to your mental wellbeing, as is movement. Move where you can with exercise. Taking control of these things will strengthen your own emotional and mental wellbeing.

What are some practical steps that people can take towards building a more positive future for themselves, regardless of what’s going on around them?

This is a really important question, especially with the stress and effects the pandemic has had on our country and the world over the last two years. I put together a resilience tool called ‘My Top 10 Tips.’

These practical tips were inspired by the many conversations I’ve had with clients and friends, and those not coping under the current conditions of the pandemic.

They include things like:

  • writing a list of what you would like to do in the next 12 months
  • getting an empty jar and every day writing a positive word and placing it inside the jar
  • making a vision board of all your goals and displaying it in a place in your home where you’ll see it every day
  • taking some sticky notes and writing positive affirmations on them about yourself (for example, ‘I am a worthy person’). Place them around the bathroom mirror and read them every day.
What are your tips for building a more positive mindset and keeping mentally healthy?

There is an incredible amount of anxiety in our community, from people in survival mode, to just coping with daily pressures, to getting back to some normality again and mixing with others. With all the noise, my top tip is to concentrate on the things that you can control and block out the noise!

So what can you control? You can control what you fuel your mind with – watch/listen/read positive and inspiring things. You can control who you spend your time with – are they positive or do they make your feel more anxious?

And you can control what you fuel your body with – healthy, fresh, full of nutrient power foods for positive mind and body.

Building resilience is a key life skill – a skill everyone needs to consistently work at. Life can throw us curve balls – sickness, job loss, pandemic, death, no purpose…but it is our inner strength (our resilience) to get back up, navigate the journey of change, build ourselves back up …that defines who we are!

If someone’s struggling with adversity in their life, what’s the most important thing they can do right now?

When you’re struggling with adversity, it can really break you and if you can’t find a path or direction out of it, it may feel like you’re in a hole you can’t get out of. When faced with adversity, working out a structured plan and timeline is vitally important to help see the light of hope. My goal in working with clients facing adversity is to form a bond of trust, and then look at a plan to optimise their health and wellbeing through strategies and practices. It’s reassuring for clients to know that a resilience consultant is covered under the NDIS for planned and managed clients.

Justine’s tips for overcoming pandemic fatigue

It’s important to focus on self-care to overcome pandemic fatigue as we should with MS fatigue. We have all been in heightened awareness of harm which in turn is forcing our nervous system to operate in overdrive.

Try to keep your normal daily routine. Find activities to help invigorate you. Exercising within your limits, getting enough sleep, going to bed at a reasonable time, eating healthy foods, catching up with friends or family, are all things that can help with your pandemic fatigue. If you aren’t coping, don’t be afraid to ask for external help from a resilience consultant, a friend, or a counsellor.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Becoming disabled has meant looking at life differently and creating a whole new meaning. The success I’ve had in business over the last 10 years is 100% attributed to strengthening my mindset. My success is recognition and a celebration that my business is making a difference to others with disabilities, bringing colour and life to those who suffer adversity day in, day out. It’s given me the platform to reach more people, to stand out, to be the change and give hope to others. Your mindset is so powerful – aim to build it every day. You can achieve what your goals are, you can believe in yourself, you can build your mindset. Just a step at a time!

If you’d like to find out more about Justine’s resilience consulting, visit www.justinemartin.com.au. To find out how we can provide emotional support to assist your wellbeing, call our MS Connect team on 1800 043 138.


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