The resilience donut

This last year of mostly working from home, many months in lockdown, uncertainty, sickness, loss and the inability to plan ahead have certainly tested our resilience.

The Resilience Donut is a helpful tool that I had learned before the pandemic. Thirty years of practical research by psychologists have identified both internal and external characteristics that develop resilience – to have even just three of these firmly in place will create resilience and, of course, even more will build a stronger resilience muscle.

Seven external resources said to help us to build resilience are a loving partner, skills we have mastered, a family where we belong and feel cared for, enjoyment of and involvement in learning, strong and close friendships, belonging to a community which gives us a sense of purpose and meaning, and the opportunity to do meaningful and valued work (voluntary or paid). When I consider the external factors that God has provided for me, I feel deeply blessed. I have far more than the three minimum resilience support systems. And of course I can continue to work on growing and strengthening these.

The internal resources consider what ‘I have’, what ‘I am’ and what ‘I can’. While this is not a faith-based model, we know as God’s people we have social resources and support through the church. We are a body of believers who support each other in times of need, we are not isolated – ‘I have’ community. We can proclaim with confidence, ‘I am’ a beloved child of God; my value, identity and security come from God’s love and knowing I am created unique, in his image. ‘I can’ also know that I have gifts and abilities that are given by God. He has provided me with skills which enable me to manage in these circumstances and to support others.

While this has been a difficult 18 months, I know that I have been upheld by friends, family and community. I have been able to continue with meaningful work that engages my skills and to continue learning through my master’s programme. These systems of support have been the provision of God that have enabled me to stay resilient in these challenging times.