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April 25th is a very important date in the Australian and New Zealand calendar.

It’s the day we commemorate the contribution made by the ANZACS, the army corps from our two countries who served to keep us safe.

It’s a day of remembrance and while during this time of physical distancing and staying home means Anzac Day 2020 is going to be somewhat different, we can still come together by, as the RSL has suggested; turning on the porch light, or lighting a candle and standing at the end of our driveways at 6 am, the time for the dawn service.

Making the time to celebrate this way serves to connect us as a society, reminding us of what we stand for and who we are.

Which made me think how we can all use this time as an opportunity to stop, take stock and reflect on how we are being impacted by the pandemic and to consider what we can learn from the ANZACS that will help us to reset and be better prepared for what’s next.

When thinking about the ANZACS the qualities that come to mind include mateship and sacrifice along with courage, endurance and humour. These are the qualities that define us as a people. These are the qualities that will serve you well to successfully navigate through these difficult and uncertain times.

If overwhelm, anxiety or loneliness have been getting you down, there are a number of ways to draw from the spirit of the ANZACS, to reconnect to your sense of purpose, rekindle your determination to find a path forward and experience hope and realistic optimism.

Addressing our uncertainty is key.

We hate uncertainty because it reminds us, we’re not in full control of the situation. The ANZACS faced that every day, uncertain whether they would live to see another dawn, uncertain as to how long the war would last, uncertain as to whether the world they would return home to would ever be the same.

If your kids have been asking (or maybe you’ve been asking the same question) “is everything going to be OK?”. How can you answer that, because no one knows? Our leaders don’t know, the medical experts don’t know, and we don’t know.

What we do know, like war, is that the pandemic will eventually pass. What will remain will be the remnants of what was. Job insecurity, economic hardship and having to manage on less will be a reality for many.

If your expectations and dreams have been dashed, it’s time to reimagine your future. Ask, “What do I need to know more about, to upskill in, learn or recraft what I do?”. We can look to see the many examples of businesses sharply pivoting to address the needs of the present; distilleries producing hand sanitiser, wholesalers opening their doors to retail sales, small businesses offering online services or home delivery.

How will you pivot?

They are also revising the how and the what they will do in the new post-Covid-19 world.

What are you revising that will help you?

Understanding ‘what is’ helps to keep you forward-focused, drawing on your resilience, ingenuity and curiosity.

What are you curious about?

How are you retaining a handle on your reality and sanity?

What will you be taking out of COVID-19 that will serve you well?

The answer to the third question is a reflection on what you have been able to appreciate about the current situation. While there is nothing good about death, disease or hardship, perhaps you’ve noticed the groundswell of acts of kindness and compassion that previously might have gone unreported or not happened, because we were always too wrapped up in the busyness of our lives.

We’ve seen countless individuals; health care workers, teachers and small business owners selflessly putting themselves on the frontline day after day in the service of others.

We’ve witnessed generosity of spirit; sharing songs from balconies and cathedrals, free concerts, virtual tours around art galleries, and online exercise programs that provide joy and elevate wellbeing. We’ve chosen to reach out and connect with the more vulnerable in our communities – because we care.

We’ve taken time to press pause and notice the beauty of the world around us. Experiencing how the new quiet and stillness allows us to connect more deeply to nature and with other, savouring the warmth of sunlight on our skin, the sound of birdsong and marvelling at what we as humans have created – our cities, our monuments and our technologies.

As we step into our unknown future, let’s take time to step back and reflect on what the ANZACS have taught us, and celebrate who we are and what we’re truly capable of.

Will you be putting your porch light on and standing in your driveway on Saturday morning?

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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