Practicing resilience

May 17, 2020 
Brenda Burjaw

Today marks 64 days of working from home and living under the rules of physical distancing and staying in place.
I’ve always believed that while there are so many areas in life that we cannot control, we can control our actions and attitudes.  I choose to look for the silver linings.  I choose to focus on the positive changes I see in people’s behavior.  I choose to be in the present.  I choose to engage in activities that make me happy. I choose to shut off the news and to manage my exposure to social media.  These are my choices and are in my control.

This pandemic requires patience; it requires empathy, and it requires working together towards a common goal.  
Like many, I am essentially carrying on each day holding down four plus full time jobs with each having a very unique compensation packages.  I am a full time commercial banker. I am a full time mother of a teen.  I am a volunteer treasurer and a member of the Beth Jacob Synagogue executive committee. Most recently, I am now a fulltime teacher for a Grade 7 overachiever.  In addition, I continue to train in powerlifting (in my garage gym) and any free time I have is devoted to giving back to my community, through making masks or participating in programs online.  

As a Type A personality,  I need to remain busy. I need to be doing.  I  attribute this to the female role models in my life.  First was my Bubbie Haren who survived the Holocaust,  supported a family business, loved her family and struggled with breast cancer.  She taught me resilience.  Then there is my mom, Alina Papernick, who taught me how to be a doer, a fixer, a fighter and most importantly, a caregiver.  My drive to provide a great Jewish life for my family was taught to me by my mother.  

Dealing with the frustrations and disappointment from cancelled plans and staying at home can take me to a dark place.  But it is the resilience that helps me to push forward.  To get up and wipe away the tears and try to find things to look forward to.  To accept the now but create the future.  This time, too, shall pass.  So, I continue to rely on my resilience, and my capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and tough times.