Five Things We Can Learn from Pioneer Women about Resilience

Have you ever felt too emotionally exhausted to get everything done you want to? Your house is a mess, there are piles of laundry, and you don’t dust or vacuum near as often as you want to. Every time you muster up the energy to try, it works for a little while. Eventually, though, you give up and it’ll be days, weeks, or even months before you even try again.

For years I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle to be a productive human being. I knew the best way to have the spirit in my home was to keep it clean. But when it came time to do chores, I didn’t have the emotional strength to do anything except sit on the floor with my kids while I numbed out on Facebook. There had to be another way to stay motivated and focused.

In my therapeutic support groups through Life Changing Services, I learned about Maurice Harker’s “Pioneer Woman Mode;” an analogy comparing women who suffer betrayal to pioneers. A woman has to pack her wagon full of emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial tools she’s going to need to make the trek to Zion.

The more I thought about these pioneer women, the more I realized there was something else I needed to learn from them. These women were resilient. When they were emotionally overwhelmed, they couldn’t go back to Nauvoo. They had no choice but to press on. How could I be more like them? 

As I studied, I found five things pioneer women did to be resilient.

Use Their Bodies 

The pioneers walked, pushed, pulled, hunted, and gathered all day. We can also use our bodies. Most of us will not be taxed with the challenge of walking thousands of miles. We can, however, walk around the block. We can smell the fresh air. We can dance. We can hand-knead bread. We can do pushups. Pick something that uses your body. Anything.

Resiliency Pauses – Our brains tend to default to the negative. Resiliency pauses can push us back to the positive. The pioneers practiced resiliency pauses every Sabbath. They rested from their labors to worship, read scriptures, and pray. We don’t have to wait for the Sabbath. Along with our spiritual self-care, we can ask ourselves some questions:

What tools have helped me in the past? Are there any I could be using now?
Who has helped me in the past? Can I reach out to them again?
What blessings have I yet to count?

Relationships – The pioneers moved west in teams. We must also have a team. We must not be ashamed to reach out to others to ask for help. Many people love us and want to help us through our trials. Above all, turn to the Savior. He is an essential member of our team, the one who can support us in a way that no one else can.

Keep an Eternal Perspective – The pioneers had a vision of why they were on this journey. They had a testimony of the work. They knew God would reward them for their faithfulness. When we keep an eternal perspective, it can give us the same motivation to move forward.

Exercise Faith – The pioneers knew that God would restore all things unto them, whether in this life or the life to come. When we practice faith in the most genuine sense of performing an action despite not having an assurance of the reward, God will also restore all things to us.

As I have applied these tools, I have become resilient. Instead of taking days, weeks, or months to restart, I wake up every day with fresh energy to move forward in my goals. 

If you are struggling to find the energy to keep going, schedule a free consultation with me to learn how to apply these tools in your life.

Heidi Davies

Hi, I’m Heidi.

I help women who feel powerless to external circumstances “find their fight” so they can live the life they dream. 

I help her set goals focused on HER value system instead of someone else’s and reawaken a lost sense of empowerment so she feels in control of her own life and happiness!


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