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Resilience is the capacity to positively adjust to difficult life experiences and is particularly essential now during COVID-19.

In The Hartford‘s study on resilience, researchers found that if a person believes they will manage through difficulty, that belief has a strong influence on how they will manage.

The study also had advice about boosting resilience, which includes physical activity (especially walking) that helps reframe issues. Connecting socially with supportive and positive friends and family – people who will help you see the bigger picture, and let you know you’re not alone is vital. Developing one or some of the 5 pillars of resilience: perseverance, coping, belief in your ability to take control of a situation, social / family networks, and self-efficacy (a belief that you can manage through difficult situations) will help deal with the stressors of the pandemic, be they financial, health, or uncertainty about the future.

The Connecticut Historical Society has several exhibits about how people in the past have developed resilience to overcome great odds.  The Language, Culture, Communities: 200 Years of Impact by the American School for the Deaf and its transformation from 1817 to today,  including the development of American Sign Language, is a story of the advancement of technology, educational methodology, and culture of acceptance that has impacted the lives of those who attend school as well as their families and friends. The exhibition Facing War: Connecticut in World War I tells the story of how people responded to the global conflict and how it affected all aspects of our Connecticut communities. Finally, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow explores the struggle for full citizenship and racial equality in the years following the Civil War. The artifacts document the central role African Americans played in advocating for their rights. The resistance to oppression, defining their own lives, and how they found strength are lessons we can learn from now.

One source of comfort for many throughout history during times of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty is art – whether it be music, song, poetry, paintings, drawings, sculpture, or theater. Art helps us remember the good times, inspires us to hope for the best, and helps us experience joy during stress. Many events are coming up in December that may provide solace.  TheaterWorks will hold performances Christmas On The Rocks, and A Very Ella Christmas: Tina Fabrique and Friends; The Hartford Stage will hold a  free, virtual performance of A Christmas Carol, as well as Hershey Felder Tchaikovsky – Live from Florence; the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will perform Music for Strings & Organ as part of their Spotlight series; the New Britain Museum of American Art will hold the final Virtual Gallery Talks on 2020/20+ Women @ NBMAA Wednesday, December 9; and there will be a live stream of A Candlelight Festival of Lessons and Carols held December 13, at 3:00 p.m.

The Season of Light

Whether it is a multi-colored string on a tree, the candelabrum of Kwanzaa, or the menorah of Hanukah, it is the time of year we take comfort in the simplicity of light as a reprieve from the darkness. The flame or twinkling tree reminds us there is hope, there is a future, and through gratitude for the most basics of nature, we will survive.

Accompanying photograph is of the Charter Oak mural that uses water activated paint to only be visible when it is raining which reminds us that even in the worst of situations, there is always a silver lining if you search hard enough.