Training for resilience

a person walking up stepsResilience is about our ability to recover more than our ability to endure. Not everyone is born resilient, it is like a muscle that we can strengthen, a skill that we can develop. Should we then be training for resilience?

We live in a world where we are undeniably, regularly put under some sort of pressure. This pressure can come from at least three different sources – unpredictable natural disasters, personal challenges or living in an oppressive system.

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Why us?

Why us?               by Vera Marbach


Why us?


there we were

on the job

close to Migdal Eder

on the outskirts of Bethlehem


shepherds, following

the cloud of witnesses who

carried the staff before us,

like Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David

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November’s Pick ‘n Mix Stress Management

Pick 'n Mix Stress Management on Wednesdays in October online 19:30 to 20:45, illustrated with a colourful variety of fresh fruit and vegetablesDoes the idea of doing a whole day stress management course feel stressful in itself? Like the last thing you actually have the time for? Does it feel too stressful to organise someone else to take over your responsibilities to free you up? Or does paying for a longer course just add more financial pressure?

With our offering ” Pick ‘n Mix Stress Management” we would like to put the power back into your hands. Now you can claim the agency to tailor-make a stress management package that really works for you. Every Wednesday in November from 19:30 – 20:45 we will be facilitating a different topic online (R100 per session). You decide what you need and what fits your budget. You plan when and whether you would like another session. You give yourself time to apply your learnings and implement change. You control the amount of new information and challenges you are exposed to. Every month our offering will change slightly – we have two new topics this month. Do check in regularly to see what’s been adjusted. We may also try out a different day of the week.

In November you can select from the following topics:

Controlling time (2 November): Am I controlling time or is time controlling me?! We will reflect on our perceptions of how we use our time, explore our beliefs about time and look at some practical ideas for time management.

Re-directing the emotional rollercoaster (9 November): We can learn from our emotions before they run away with us, understand our triggers and learn to regulate our instinctive reactions.

Healthy habits (16 November): Let’s honestly evaluate our habits, both good and bad. How can we build on the good and develop healthyhabits for self-care of body, mind and soul? We will explore what keeps us stuck in the same old rut…

Can we respond instead of react? (23 November) We will explore our stressors and how to regulate the effect they have on our autonomic nervous systems. Our aim is to respond intentionally and creatively rather than automatically to a stressful situation.

Endings and beginnings (30 November): As we approach the end of the year, we would like to close off with a poetry dialogue that encourages self-reflection and explores our feelings around endings and beginnings. When we suppress these issues they can go underground, affect us subconsciously and internalize stress into our bodies. This can result in inter-personal explosions that seemed to come out of nowhere. The end of the year is an opportunity for closure so that we can start with a clean slate in 2023.

The fact that we live in a stressful time is undeniable. Pressure is rising in the systemic environment. Many of us are also experiencing personal pressures. Let’s be pro-active in terms of developing our own stress management skill. We can make a change, one step at a time.

Book your place for the session of your choice with Vera at

Pick ‘n Mix Stress Management

Does the idea of doing a whole day stress management course feel stressful in itself? Like the last thing you actually have the time for?

Although we can see the benefit in a break from daily routine, we realise that it is difficult to find the time for a whole day course. Most of us feel stressed at the thought of organising our responsibilities to free up an entire day. Let’s not talk about finding the money and the added financial pressure! We recognise that we may feel refreshed after a day in nature, but it can feel overwhelming to face all the challenging changes to develop the new “stress-free me” afterwards.  This inadvertently becomes a new source of stress. We feel stuck in the stress spiral.

With our new offering “Pick ‘n Mix Stress Management” we would like to put the power back into your hands.

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A different type of self-care

I recently heard a helpful analogy. If we consider ourselves to be like a traditional china tea cup, then we should be caring for others out of the overflow that spills into the saucer, not pouring out the resources inside the cup until we are empty.

Often when this topic comes up in conversation (especially with women), I have heard people say, “but it feels so selfish to be putting myself first and spending time and resources on me. There are so many other demands, the people I  love need me, and I tend to put myself last, if I ever get around to myself at all”. I catch myself saying the same thing sometimes. I will get around to taking care of me later…

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Grief delayed

Delaying Grief by Khanyi Mthimunye


Build walls, to keep the pain out.

It seeps through the cracks of a rushed job.

So I build trenches in my brain,

Fill them with water to drown memories.


I can hear the clock ticking away,

As blood rushes across to send signals.

Prepare!  An explosion is imminent.

The muscles and organs are on standby.


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Personal statistics

Personal  Statistics by Vera Marbach


Every number

has a face

is a person

in a family

tells a story.


Every number

stays a number




know that face

miss that person

love that family.


Then, every number

tells your story.


During the third wave of this pandemic, those impersonal statistics out there have become personal for many of us. As one loss is layered on top of another, with limited opportunity to express the grief, we are experiencing a different kind of stress – compound grief…

This is one of the sources of stress we plan to address in our Stress Management course for busy women in Magaliesburg on 11 September.


Regulating your autonomic nervous system

In our recent video series #relaxinseconds, we focused on exercises that calm an over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. Regulation of our autonomic nervous systems is a little more complicated than that.

The sympathetic nervous system is often in the limelight because of its well known fight, flight or freeze response. The other part, the parasympathetic, which is responsible for rest and digestion, can also unhealthily dominate our nervous system. This can become evident in lethargy, a lack of motivation, a general blahness about life, or wanting to sleep excessively. The pandemic style of stressful experiences like isolation, grief and uncertainty has meant that the parasympathetic extreme has become familiar territory to many of us.

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Can we respond, rather than react?

In the midst of a very challenging time in our country, there is a turmoil of emotions swirling round in each of us – disbelief, horror, sorrow, sadness, anger, growing anxiety, for some, fear. Things feel very much beyond our own control – in fact completely out of control in some places. The stress hormone cortisol builds up in our bodies, activates our sympathetic nervous system and we are ready to fight in word and deed, or fly as fast as we can. Every fibre of our bodies is on high alert. In the last few days, many lives have probably been saved by the body’s design to readily react to circumstances.

Our ability to react to what is going on around us is rooted in what is going on within our own bodies, minds and hearts. It is linked to the levels of our own hormones, to our own emotions, to meeting our own needs.

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Am I listening?

During the question time after a talk I gave about relationships, a number of questions focussed on older people’s relationships with the younger generation.

“I want the best for her, a future with a degree, a good job…she can wait with the partying for later.”

“The world is not a safe place. When he is out at late, I worry whether he is still okay.”

“I thought we were on the same page, but the next day she was out all night again…”

Older people’s motives are often love and concern, they do have the youth’s best interests at heart. But as I listened to what people were sharing, I also became aware that they were focussing on what they had said and not on what they had heard the younger individuals say…

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