As we approach the 75 th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) we should have been enjoying big celebrations on a bank holiday weekend to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.

But the surreal times that we find ourselves in mean we need to act together as a nation again, but this time to stop the invisible enemy – COVID 19. We can only mark this anniversary from our homes and raise a toast at 3pm ‘to those who gave so much, and to whom we need to say thank you.’ All the street parties, bunting, lunches, picnics, commemorative events are halted and replaced by virtual celebrations which will be in stark contrast to Friday 8 May 1945 when our nation came out onto the streets to celebrate.

It is incredible to think that 75 years ago the world was coming out of a period of turmoil caused by WWII, and that we are again facing a very different, but global turmoil, as every country has been touched by this pandemic.

We have seen though throughout history that great periods of hardship all end eventually and we as a human race are resilient and cope with the change and make a new future for ourselves.

Resilience is often talked about these days and discussed at great length – but what is it and why do we need it?

“Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”

Resilience is not a “you have it or you don’t” sort of trait. There may be a genetic component to a person’s base level of resilience, but you are always able to improve the resilience you have. ‘Self-learned resilience’ can be developed, and we can all work on it by taking steps such as:

  • Finding a sense of purpose in our life, which will help boost us up on difficult days.
  • Building positive beliefs in our abilities to help us increase our self-esteem.
  • Developing a strong social network of people who support us and who we can confide in.
  • Embracing change as the inevitability that it is and be ready for it.
  • Being optimistic—we do not need to ignore our problems, just understand that it’s all temporary and that we have what it takes to make it through.
  • Nurturing ourselves with healthy, positive self-care—get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise.
  • Developing our problem-solving skills through strategies like making a list of potential ways to solve our current problems.
  • Establishing reasonable goals by brainstorming solutions and breaking them down into manageable steps.
  • Taking action to solve problems rather than waiting for the problem to solve themselves.

All of this will need perseverance – and we mustn’t get discouraged if it takes a while to get to the level of resilience we desire.

So practical and positive steps we can take now are:

  • Allowing ourselves to feel a wide range of emotions
  • Identifying our support system and let them be there for us
  • Processing our emotions
  • Be mindful of our wellness and self-care
  • Getting some rest or try to get an adequate amount of sleep
  • Trying our best to maintain a routine
  • Creatively record our experiences and share it with others

So with stronger resilience we will be better able to “Bounce back” which is what we do when we face disappointment, defeat, or failure, but instead of letting things keep us down, we get back up and continue on with our lives. And yes, we will need to bounce back as COVID 19 has tested us. How resilient will we be as a nation, as a community, as a family, as an individual and how will we bounce back?

Each one of us needs to know that we are prepared. In the meantime, we need to enjoy what we do have and remember how much power we have over our lives and our circumstances.

Remembering the resilience that people showed around the world during WWII, we need raise a glass on this 75th anniversary and remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before (https://www.veday75.org/) and make sure we are ready to play our part in the new future that is facing us now, where:

‘We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day’

Thank you to all who have sacrificed so much over the years for our tomorrow!

K DALY-GHERABI

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