Because when you stop and take a look around, life is pretty amazing!
How to Build Emotional Resilience – A Guest Post by Lee Allison
I first met Lee at the Jellybean Wedding Conference a couple of years ago. For the first half of the event, I was sat next to him in the audience, not realising he was one of the guest speakers. When Lee finally took to the stage, the subject of his talk and the candour with which he spoke made a huge impression on me and everyone else in the audience.
Later that same year, I had the pleasure of attending a familiarisation trip in the Algarve for wedding planners with both Lee and his fiancée, Kelly. You can see some of the beautiful images Lee captured during the trip here.
What is Resilience and Why Is It Important?
Resilience or the ability ‘to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis’ is important for several reasons. It enables us to develop mechanisms for protection against experiences which could be overwhelming and it helps us maintain balance in our lives during difficult or stressful periods. It can also protect us from the development of some mental health difficulties and issues.
Having been through some incredibly challenging times, I invited Lee to share what he’s learned about building emotional resilience…
Building Resilience & Surviving Trauma
I’m Lee, a wedding photographer based on the Essex/Cambridge border. I’ve been shooting weddings for nearly seven years and I absolutely love it. Every weekend is different and I love that I get to meet all kinds of people. I live with my fiancée Kelly and our two dogs, Doris and Ralph. We both love to travel and in the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to combine this with my photography.
I wasn’t truly aware of what resilience was until I received a life changing phone call from my father in law saying one of our twin girls had died. It was during this terrible time I realised I had to develop a resilient mindset.
Kelly and I had been trying for a family for a long time and in 2017 we found out we were expecting IVF twin girls. Sadly, we lost both Lilly May and Ava at 17 and 18 weeks respectively.
This happened in June – the busiest time for a wedding photographer. I had weddings to shoot, one just a week after losing Ava. Personally, I was in a bad place, but I couldn’t let my couples down. These weddings had been booked 12-18 months in advance, so I forced myself into work mode. Weddings are so fast paced it’s hard to think of anything else except what’s going on in front of you. It wasn’t until my weddings started to quieten down that the trauma really hit me.
There are many things that got me through this period, but these are the three main areas I focused on to develop my resilience…
Surrounding myself with positive people was massive for me. I run a Wedding Supplier Group in Cambridge and we meet once a month. This was great because it got me out of the house and allowed me to talk to colleagues and friends. Talking is so important in the healing process and having this regular human interaction was vital.
Being fit and healthy can have a big positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Again, it also got me out of the house. I signed up to an online PT program which helped me keep motivated towards my fitness goals and stopped me from giving up. This was important for my state of mind.
Eating a healthy diet makes you feel good and gives you more energy. This is super important when you are going through such trauma. It’s too easy to turn to junk food and alcohol, but this only blocks the pain for a short space of time and leads to you feeling bad about yourself, which then affects your mental health. A huge vicious circle.
It’s been a challenging few years since we lost the girls and we’ve suffered further heartache and trauma along the way, but my mind and body are now stronger as I’ve continued to follow these steps to build resilience and keep focused at difficult times.
Photography credit: Lee Allison Photography
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