“The availability of social support in all its forms—instrumental support, emotional support, support with how you think about things—they all matter and help us in facing challenge.”
I came across that quote, from resiliency researcher Elliot Friedman, the other day, and it got me thinking about the Fresh community. Particularly about the way we’ve supported each other through what, for many of us is one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever faced.
I’ve always known that Freshies were positive, active, generous people, but over the last few months it’s really blown me away to see just how fantastic our community has been in a crisis.
Research shows that being socially connected part of a supportive community plays a massive part in resilience. Good relationships help us to deal better with stress, and being part of a group, feeling that we’re not alone, is an essential part of getting through tough times.
Situations that would be virtually unbearable, or seem to have no hope, look more positive when shared with supportive colleagues and friends. Having structure and consistency in our lives helps generate a feeling of optimism and positivity.
And you see that in spades if you look at Fresh.
The stand out moments
Some of our members were hit really hard when the pandemic first reached Australia, but never once did the spirit and resilience of our community fail. The examples that stand out for me include:
- Facilitators rapidly getting to grips with having online meetings. The way you used the new agendas to keep the energy levels and engagement high, even via a screen.
- Members generously giving their time to present free webinars on everything from Jobkeeper to mindfulness.
- Members, like Carol Benton, attending meetings virtually every day of the week, because it gave her ‘connection with others, a structure and a positive start to my day’.
- Members like Laura Litcanu who despite juggling her business with home schooling her kids, never lost her energy in leading the Camberwell hub.
- Members who see each other as allies, not competitors, like the two business coaches who buddied up to go for regular ‘walk and talk’ sessions.
- I personally have Krys Sutton and Michele Carson to thank for their support in helping me to stay positive. They helped me to use the crisis as a time to focus on Fresh and keep the community growing.
So to these people, and the many, many others who I haven’t listed, THANK YOU. Give yourselves a massive pat on the back. I am so grateful for your individual resilience and your willingness to share your time and your knowledge. Sometimes it’s just about being available to listen. Put it all together and you have the magic recipe that makes this community so wonderful. If we can get through this together, we can get through anything, so thank you for your support of each other and for proving that community is everything when it comes to resilience.