5 Ways to Build Physical Resilience OR Bouncing Back When You’re on Your Ass

Elisabeth Olyvia Norton
3 min readFeb 27, 2017

Last Friday I took a spill on the ice leaving my office. I whacked the back of my head soundly and ended up with a cranky jaw and neck to accompany the cranial goose egg. As I lay on the icy concrete, assessing the potential damage, part of me went directly to the resilience course I’m leading right now. It’s the week about physical resilience. How to take care of your body to bounce back well. I guess here’s my chance, I can be my own guinea pig in real time.

It was almost funny, I would have laughed if my head hadn’t hurt so badly.

So here they are, the top 5 ways to set yourself up for physical resilience:

  1. Make time to eat well, move, and get enough sleep

These are your foundation and all three set you up to be able to handle stress, illness, and injury with more efficiency and effectiveness when they occur. You already know this one. Do it.

2. Take time for rest and recovery

Breaks make all the difference when life gets challenging. From a short walk around the block to an actual day off, down time is essential. Give yourself proper time for rest and recovery and your productivity goes up everywhere else. Plus, if you are constantly on the go, the body doesn’t have any resources to bounce back when life gets hard.

3. Play

Yup. I said it. Whatever play looks like for you, keep doing it or add it back in. Not only is it incredibly healthy for your body, it’s one of our best places of learning. Plus it fuels our bodies with the chemicals that set us up for long term resilience.

4. Connect with your Heart

Our hearts have a huge, intricate nervous system surrounding them. Put you hand on your heart and notice it beating. Thank it for doing its job, constantly moving so we can keep living. Notice any feelings that come up, if they do, and let them wash over you. Research shows that connecting the nervous system/s of our brains & hearts has a dramatic impact on stress-relief, and feelings of fulfillment, hope, and overall optimism.

5. Breathe

Slow, deep breathing is our easiest access to slowing down the fight/flight mechanisms in our bodies. This will reduce the body chemistry that keeps us in levels of high stress on the inside. It’s easy, free, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. I recommend often.

I’ve been practicing all weekend, especially sleeping a lot to let my body do that healing thing it does so well. I did all the 5 above except play, as it wasn’t quite on the head’s agenda.

The goose egg has flattened and the bones feel bruised, they don’t hurt much unless I poke them to check how they are. My jaw has managed to start working again properly, though it needs some further attention and my neck is wobbly, but healing properly with some self-treatment. Mostly, I’m able to keep going and keep moving forward instead of getting stopped by pain accompanied by fear of what problems an injury could end up causing.

I’m bouncing and pretty pleased. Give it a try to prep your body for maximum bounceablity.



Elisabeth Olyvia Norton

Positive Psychology Coach, Writer, Educator. Optimist, edge pusher, & smarty pants. Momma to bevy of 4 leggers, artist & proud science geek. areallybiglfe.com