Welcome Wellness - Accepting Doses of Reality

By the Department of Psychiatry’s wellness advocate, Dr. Deirdre Conroy:


Many of our fellow members of the Psychiatry Department are getting their first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine this month. While our immune systems accept the vaccine, our minds are also accepting the realities of a post-COVID and conflicted world.  

Perhaps with this vaccine we can build not only on strong immune resistance, but perhaps a mental immune resistance as well? How do we take realities of 2020 and learn from them as we look towards 2021? As author and poet Sonya Renee Taylor said,

We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal, other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment, one that fits all of humanity and nature.”

How can we build resilience to the realities of current day and the future? According to Webster’s dictionary, resilience is an ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change. Some key components of building resilience might include:

  • being aware of and utilizing skills to cope with strong negative emotions
  • nourishing supportive relationships
  • using problem-solving skills
  • practicing good communication skills
  • and one’s own self-efficacy: the belief that you can manage or cope with a challenge. 

For more information about resilience resources available to you, please check out: Resources for Healing and Development. There is also a course on resilience here offered through UPenn starting January 11 2021.

Happy New Year!