Avoiding burnout: How to be more resilient in life and worK  – Templar interviews Sukhvinder Pabial

With the stress of the pandemic now firmly in the rear-view mirror, businesses and individuals are placing a greater emphasis on understanding exactly, what is resilience? Where do our strength reserves come from? Why do some thrive, whilst others struggle?

Responding to global demand, we have developed a range of new programmes to help our clients build resilience and improve their response to change. As part of our work in this area, we were thrilled to be able to speak with author and senior learning strategist Sukhvinder Pabial. He caught up with Templar Consultant Nicholas Colley, to discuss his upcoming book ‘The Resilience Handbook – A practical understanding of resilience.

What exactly do we mean by the term resilience?

The common definition is that it’s about the bouncebackability that we have. When you’re faced with a difficult, challenging situation what internal capacity do you have to keep pushing through?

But rather than trying to define resilience in one sentence, what I prefer to say, is that resilience has a number of things that brings it together. That’s why the book centres on evidence-based approaches to resilience and wellbeing through the lens of positive psychology and emotional intelligence, and mindfulness.

Why are those disciplines so important to understanding resilience?

They give us a lens of understanding around the human condition. With positive psychology, we learn that you can cultivate hope and optimism. When we cultivate these, it helps us feel like there’s something to strive for or something to root for. For example, “I want to get a new job,” or “I’m in a positive relationship, and it’s really helping me to feel great about my life.”

When we have these experiences then we build up a bank of optimism, which helps when things become difficult. We know that, okay, this is currently a difficult period, but it isn’t always like this. It’s not going to be a long-lasting thing.

When it comes to emotional intelligence, we all get emotional in different ways, including getting angry and frustrated. All of those emotions are valid and shouldn’t be discounted. It’s the expression of them, and how we act on them – and process them – that matters. That is what develops resilience.

So, concepts of hope and optimism, emotional understanding and reflection are key principles in developing a resilient lifestyle?

Completely, yes, there’s a clear focus in the book that talks about self-awareness, and the importance of building that self-awareness, to develop resilient practices. If we don’t recognise when we’re not resilient, or when we are, then how do we know what we need to do to develop it?

What more can companies do to help reduce their employees’ stress and become resilient?

A good place to start is in seeking to understand from their people, what is it that they’re experiencing that is making things stressful for them at work? How can they improve on these things? Are they genuinely listening and taking steps to avoid burnout? Or are they just putting in beanbags and a pool table, or buying a headspace subscription, and expecting this to be the thing that helps people feel better at work.

A key point that came out in my research for this book, and also from talking to lots of people in this space, is that if we look after our people, then they will do good work. Because they’re appreciative that someone is valuing them. People want to know that within their workplace there is the space and trust to share what’s happening, without it being held against them.

By going for tick-box exercises, organisations are missing the genuine act of asking, ‘how’s it going today? Is there something I can help with?’ There is plenty that individual managers can do, but from an organisational perspective, are they actually trying to understand how people are finding it difficult and seeking to make this better? That is the best place to start.

Are there any habits that people can develop in daily life that can help to promote resilience?

Yes, but what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else. The thing about resilience, is that we need to figure this out for ourselves – ask yourself the question, ‘what is it that I need, to be resilient?’

Firstly, as I said, self-awareness is important. There is an important piece around how we develop that understanding of who we are and how we react to things. So, talk to friends, talk to family members, talk to your manager, use online self-diagnostic tools – whatever you need to do to gain a better insight into you as a person, and your overall resilience.

Ongoing reflective practice is an important piece. Find a way to take time to think about the day, the happenings, a particularly demanding situation, or something’s that’s gone really well. Reflective practice helps us to question ourselves and find answers to those things that we may not have had the time to think through before.

Finally, it would be around how do we build in activities, which fill us up, that nourish us in some way? We can all probably think of or reflect on something in our lives where we think, ‘when I go for a round of golf, I feel better afterwards.’ Or ‘if I’m reading my book, that’s my time.’ It could be as simple as wanting to spend time with your partner. It’s finding that time to do whatever it is that you know will nourish and refresh you.

What do you hope your readers will take away from the book?

The book is aiming to provide another voice out there for resilience. There’s a lot of incredibly good academics and researchers out there who are producing great work. What I’m trying to do is bring some of that together in a way, which is just a bit more accessible for people in a practical everyday sense. So that people can read the theory and go, okay, intellectually, that makes sense. And then here’s some practical guidance that helps people to really hold on to it and use it to build ongoing resilience in their daily lives.


The Resilience Handbook, a practical understanding of resilience, by Sukhvinder Pabial is out on June 1st. You can pre-order your copy here.

To find out more on how Templar Advisors are future-proofing workforces with our new courses on Resilience and Embracing Change, Developing Powerful Habits and Psychological Safety, please contact info@templaradvisors.com

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