Using SEL Skills to Cultivate Resilience

If you’re feeling cranky, blah and unmotivated right now, you’re not alone. Many of us are experiencing the symptoms of Covid burnout: lack of motivation, symptoms of depression, lacking purpose, feeling isolated, anxious or angry. Signs you have pandemic fatigue and COVID burnout ( Feeling this way can make it challenging to do well at school, focus at work and be present for our families. We can ignore these symptoms and hope they go away or we can try to build resilience and move forward. So how do we build resilience? Fostering Resilience During COVID-19 Through Social and Emotional Learning | Education Links (

Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) can help foster resilience so that we can better deal with life’s up and downs. For years SEL has been a buzzword in the classroom, then the pandemic happened and it’s become a necessary addition to curriculums in schools nationwide. Research has shown that teaching SEL skills not only improves grades, attendance and social behaviors but it also helps students with their mental health & wellbeing. It turns out that the same is true for adults. SEL for Adults: Self-Awareness and Self-Management | Greater Good In Education ( According to Collaborative Association for Social Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL can be broken up into 5 categories: Fundamentals of SEL – CASEL

By developing our own personal SEL knowledge we can start to chip away at some of that burnout, feel more like ourselves and positively affect our communities. Self-Regulation Skills in Life & Society | Committee for Children ( So how do we move from awareness to action?

When we feel overwhelmed by a problem it can be tough to know where to start. “Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators” by Elena Aguilar offers a path to resiliency with concrete steps and helpful exercises to renew your spark. Onward: Stories and Resources to Cultivate Emotional Resilience ( In the book, Aguilar uses a self-assessment tool to help users identify which SEL skills they are doing well with and which areas they may need to address. Self-Assessment Download – Onward ( While it may seem like an extra step, the benefit of using an evaluation tool is that it will require you to be honest and take an internal inventory. This will give you a clearer picture of where you need to take action.

Once you’re ready to start, be realistic in your action plan in terms of what you’re willing and able to take on right now. It’s important to remember to be compassionate with yourself and understand that building resilience takes time and that it’s all about making progress. Finally, be proud of yourself for acknowledging the need for change and taking the first step.

*This is a difficult time for all of us. If you find that you are struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression or hopelessness that won’t go away, it may be time to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. I’m looking for mental health help for myself | Mental Health America (

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