In difficult and uncertain times, it’s easy to fall into a trap of despair. I reached out to a handful of friends in their 20s across the country to find out what’s giving them hope right now.

“Something that’s giving me hope is that Side Quest, a geek-themed bar in Cleveland, started a GoFundMe campaign to help them be able to open again once the stay-at-home order is lifted. Their goal yesterday was $5,000, and in the span of less than 24 hours they met their goal thanks to the generosity of the community. They have raised their goal to $25,000 and are continuing to receive donations. Obviously, it’s not an ideal situation; they are looking into loans and assistance programs from the government. But to see everyone band together so quickly to support my favorite bar is really heartwarming!”
—Katie K.

“For me, it’s been building a new home with my partner. We moved into a new apartment at the top of this thing and have been unpacking box by box, hanging piece by piece. Finding places for pots and pans and soaps and such feels like a big ol’ puzzle. It keeps us occupied and gets me excited for the future.”
—Jacob D.

“One big thing I’ve been doing is hopping into a voice chat with six of my friends pretty much first thing after I get up, and then we hang out all day doing whatever, just to simulate being close and hanging out. It really helps with the isolation.”
—Jackie R.

“The thing that’s been keeping me going is learning how to bake. The world is so chaotic and out of control, but at least once a week I get to FaceTime my dad and perform a task that requires my focus and calm, and the steps are always clear and measured. From some combination of yeast, flour and sugar I end up with something beautiful and delicious made from my own hands. It gives me hope that even when things get dark, even when I’m overwhelmed, I still have the capacity to create.”
—Carson K.

“What I’ve been using to cope is spending time with my roommates. I feel so lucky to live with the people that I do. We’ve been doing drawn-out movie marathons to keep track of time and have recurring activities. We watched all of the extended “The Lord of the Rings” and then all the “Harry Potter” films. It helps to have small, accomplishable goals—I’m working through all the Paul Thomas Anderson movies and focusing a lot on my “Animal Crossing” town. My little brother and I play “Animal Crossing” together every few days, and it’s good to stay connected to home in that way.”
—Lee A.

“Our cats, Simon and Bo! They are the lights of my life.”
—Liv M.

“One of the things that has really helped me stay positive has been my virtual writing dates with my friends! We used to go to cafes around London to write together, and now we get on Skype and distract each other while we work on poetry, essays or pieces of fiction. It’s been a really nice way to keep our tradition going, even if we can’t see each other in person.”
—Kameron J.

“What I’ve found that helps me get through most of my days is actually listening to what my body wants. I do a 10-minute meditation every morning with my earbuds in. I get centered on me before I let societal stresses in. And if I’m feeling productive, I make a list of things I want to accomplish. But if I’m not feeling into it, then I really focus on making sure that I feel OK with not doing anything.”
—Nick P.

“One thing for me is turning my bedroom into even more of a sanctuary. It’s not just my space now, it’s also a protector from the outside world both physically and emotionally. So, I’ve been spending time doing little things to make it feel even more comfortable, like switching up the lighting, incense and candles, and using music to create different ambiences. I’ve put a lot of effort into organizing and being able to utilize the space. I do yoga and art and watch movies in my bedroom and try to keep all the stress of my job away from it. I also have my bathroom all cleaned up and set up nice for relaxing baths.”
—Mara C.

“The big thing for me has been seeing the concrete things people are doing to help those in need—sharing information, forming local aid networks, even things like benefit concerts—and reminding myself there are concrete things I can do, too, and then doing them. I am fortunate to be financially stable, so I donate to my local food bank and support small businesses. I call up friends who are living alone. I send cat photos to my family. I try to keep myself on an even keel, which is more successful some days than others. I’m able to do those small things that are within my power and, in the doing, feel less impotent.”
—Deb M.

What’s giving you hope? Let us know in the comments.