People are afraid. How can they not be? Images of cities turned into ghost towns, fatigued hospitals, medical tents popping up across the country, and grim projections that more than 100,000 people in the United States might die from COVID-19, perhaps 200,000.

People are out of work; paychecks have stopped. Businesses have shuttered; the hopes of business leaders are failing because they can’t take care of their employees.

And millions of homes across America have become temporary classrooms, making moms and dads substitute teachers.

People aren’t sure what to believe because news briefings contradict what they reported the day before as experts learn more about COVID-19.

Domestic violence and child abuse are rising, along with suicidal thoughts and behavior. If fear, stress, and hopelessness are the emotional powder keg, then strained social connections are the short fuse.

COVID-19 is impacting every area of our lives. One word describes the mood: Grave.

But another story is surfacing during this time of chaos. It’s a story about heroes.

They are the folks keeping our store shelves stocked, and the truck drivers making sure there’s something to put on those shelves. Not to mention the checkers risking their health to make sure we get home with our supplies.

They are the bank tellers, overworked nurses, police officers, firefighters, lab workers, scientists, government officials, entrepreneurs, community volunteers, generous businesses, faith communities, teachers and principles finding creative ways to educate our children, oh -and let’s not forget the kid who keeps toilet paper on the shelves.

This is an age of heroes. We can choose fear and uncertainty or courage and hope. We can cower inwardly, or be brave, choosing to work, serve, and live for a better tomorrow.

Here are ten ways you can stay hopeful during the COVID-19 crisis and channel your inner hero, no mask required (well, not that kind of mask).

1. Be Prepared

Keep your family prepared with medicine, food, and personal items. Preparing isn’t hoarding; be a hero.

2. Be Optimistic

Focus on bravery and breakthroughs; avoid doom and gloom information.

3. Be Active 

Physical activity strengthens the immune system and brightens your mood.

4. Be Hopeful

This crisis is temporary; it will pass. So don’t do something permanent or irreversible. People have overcome similar situations; so will you. It won’t be dark forever; dawn is coming.

5. Be Money-Wise 

Although times are tight, review your finances, and keep accurate records. If you’re having trouble paying bills, let your creditors know.

6. Be Kind 

Do something selfless. Make someone smile; offer hope; be a friend.

7. Be Mindful 

A few minutes of deep breathing and meditation will soothe your mind. When feeling stressed and overwhelmed, find a quiet place (even if it’s alone in the bathroom!) to enjoy a couple of minutes of slow, deep breathing. We need you. Be a hero.

8. Be Productive 

Keep up with your studies and work; choose a project or hobby. Don’t be idle.

9. Be Grateful

Even during difficult times, we can find something for which to be thankful. Before falling asleep tonight, give thanks for two or three things for which you’re truly grateful.

10. Be Strong

While some people advise avoiding negative people during times of crisis, why not be a blessing instead? How? Listen. Encourage. Be a blessing by sharing hope. Be heroic. Lend a glove-covered hand. Point to the generous and selfless acts of others, no matter how small or insignificant. Lift people up. Help those in need. Grieve with those who grieve. Be strong.

Although it might not feel like it right now, this will all be over soon. The world won’t be closed for business for very long.

We will find a vaccine, and life will slowly return to normal. People will return to work; kids will go back to school, and hospitals will have beds.

We will study what we did well and what we could’ve done better.

We will honor loved ones who passed and forever cherish their memory.

But for now, until that day comes, and it is coming, let’s help each other through these scary times by clinging to hope and being someone’s hero.

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

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