For many people, the past week has been a time of darkness as the COVID-19 virus moves through our state and our country. Feelings of fear, isolation from close contact with friends and so many unknowns surround us.

A quote that some attribute to Eleanor Roosevelt says, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

This is a dark time, but people in our communities are working to make it brighter. School staff and others are cooking and delivering meals to make sure children and seniors receive the meals they need. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Medical and other emergency personnel and police officers are going to work every day to keep us safe. Grocery stores and restaurants with takeout are staying open to serve us.

In an interview with “Woman's World” magazine, country music superstar Reba McEntire said “We are stronger than we know.” This interview was done before COVID-19, but the advice applies.

Her four tips for hard times are to boost your confidence by talking and sharing with friends, tackle challenges head on, find true joy in giving and focus on the good all around you.

While getting together with friends in person up close is on hold, people are staying in touch by texting, skyping and emailing. Sharing both fears and hopes can help us all feel less alone. Going for a walk with a friend while keeping a safe distance apart is another option, especially as days are getting warmer.

Tackling challenges is easier than worrying about them. Preparing for a possible quarantine by stocking up on essentials is one thing many people are doing, along with setting things up to work remotely when possible and for online learning for students.

Finding true joy in giving can be as simple as putting $5 on your debit card when you pay for groceries to help the food shelf or mailing a card or surprise package to a friend or family member. Giving helps take the focus off worries and onto helping brighten someone else’s day in some small way.

Focusing on the good can be done in many ways. Read inspirational stories every morning and take in just enough news to stay current.

Since children are no longer in school, this is an opportunity for families to spend more time together, building connections and making memories. Both children and adults are starting to get cabin fever, so make sure to make time for fun. Have a picnic in the living room, do craft projects or go stargazing. Happy times will help everyone stay positive.

End the day with each person sharing something they are thankful for, or start a gratitude journal and write them down. Light a candle and say a prayer.

Send stories of what you are doing to focus on the light or how others in the community are helping to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com to possibly include in the Enterprise. Together we can get through this.