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What’s in Your National COVID-19 Day Hope Box?

Practical tips for how to remember, be encouraged, and endure during COVID.

On March 11th, the United States will observe National COVID-19 Day.

Nick Fewings/Unsplash
Source: Nick Fewings/Unsplash

The purpose of National COVID-19 Day is to help our country navigate our collective grief, encourage one another, and embrace hope for what is ahead. March 11 was chosen in recognition of the day COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Consider putting together a “hope box” as a possible way to observe this historic anniversary. A National COVID-19 Day Hope Box can serve as a physical reminder of the things in your life that bring you encouragement, help you preserve the memory of someone you lost to COVID-19, or to help you endure the remainder of the pandemic.

How to Make a National COVID-19 Day Hope Box

Your hope box can contain anything that might help you honor what or who has been lost to COVID-19. It can also be used to help foster perseverance as the pandemic marathon continues. Another way you might consider using a hope box is to help put aside painful thoughts or negative emotions by collecting items that give you joy.

There is no one “right” way to create or use a hope box. You may choose to include cherished items or keepsakes. Others may choose to fill with new belongings and instead use the box to remind you of things to come.

Decorating the box can be renewing as well. Here are some ideas for things to include:

  • Photos or letters from people you care about.
  • Poems, books, or inspirational passages that lift you up.
  • Movies or music you like.
  • Notecards with uplifting words or thoughts, things that have kept you going in the past, or memories of happier times.
  • Special trinkets or mementos that help you feel grounded.

Your box can contain actual objects or be a collection of links or digital files on an electrical device. Consider filling your box with old keepsakes or new items that give you hope. Or, you might make or create something that you could add to your box. When you begin to feel bad about yourself or your life and feel stressed, the contents of your hope box can help lift your spirits.

What are some items or belongings you will put into your hope box?

About the Authors: Jamie Aten, Ph.D. is the founder and co-director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College and Blanchard Professor of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership. Kent Annan, M.Div., is co-director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and Associate Lecturer of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College. Follow on Twitter at @kentannan or visit They are also the co-founders of National COVID-19 Day.