When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Mister Rogers

In times like these, not only can we look for the helpers, we can find even more fulfillment by being one. 

While it serves no purpose for anyone to put themselves in harm’s way if they are not adequately trained to do so safely, many of us can still give back to our community in its time of need. 

Some examples are listed below: 

  • Foster a pet: Uncertain finances will lead to an increased number of abandoned animals in shelters. 
  • Donate blood: This may not be possible for those under age 18, but college students and adults can give back by giving blood. 
  • Check on elderly neighbors: Do their grocery shopping if you feel you can do so safely or just make sure to call them regularly. They will be even more isolated than the rest of us and may need more human contact in whatever form possible. 
  • Volunteer Virtually: Idealist has a list of volunteer opportunities in classrooms and communities across the globe 
  • Don’t waste your food: Take extra care to freeze food before it expires, don’t wash produce until you’re ready for it, and store raw and cooked food properly. 
  • Clean out your closets: You may have to hold off on making your donations depending on restrictions, but be prepared to donate to your local shelter, Good Will, or Salvation Army as soon as you are able to. 
  • Send notes: Send cards and letters to your local nursing homes or write thank you notes to your local health care workers! 

Often times our anxiety and thoughts can take over and make us feel like we don’t have much control. One way to combat this is to focus on what we can control. However, it can sometimes be a struggle to identify these things when we are feeling anxious. 

Identify and write out some things that you CAN control. Keep them in a jar and when your emotions feel out of control, pull one out to complete the activity, reflect, or even journal about the topic. 

Here is a list of examples you can use or help guide you to create your own. Things I CAN control: 

  • Keeping my word 
  • How I talk to myself 
  • When and if I forgive others 
  • How truthful and honest I am 
  • When I take mindful breaths 
  • The goals I set for myself 
  • When I need and break (and actually take one) 
  • Treating others with kindness 
  • How much effort I put into things 
  • When I ask for help 
  • How I respond to challenges 
  • Reminding myself I am enough and worthy 
  • How I take care of my body 
  • How to take a message 
  • How to write a letter 
  • How to balance a check book 
  • How to weigh pros and cons of a decision 
  • How to make a budget 
  • How to ask questions to get to know someone better
  • How to select a gift the recipient will appreciate 
  • How to make a genuine apology 
  • How to introduce yourself 
  • How to read a map 
  • How to manage time 
  • How to find a book in the library