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How To Be Encouraged and Encouraging, When Life Isn't

We've all been there. One thing after another seems to be going wrong. I was having one of these days the other week. A day where through every small obstacle, I attempted to brush myself off. But, they seemed to just keep coming, one after another. By the end of the day, after having two cars cut me off in traffic, finding out my Christmas gift order was lost in the mail, having to leave the longest grocery store line because I forgot one item, and so much more, I found myself having a complete breakdown after realizing the bread I just bought to make lunch, was moldy. Now this can be slightly frustrating for anyone, but after a long day of obstacles and mood killers, I found myself crying over moldy bread. Have any of you ever been here? Now, some days, like the one I had, are frustrating. However, sometimes days are devastating and you can be left to feel like you are drowning. Now, especially as a parent, educator, coach, or someone who's purpose is to lead and support others, how can you be encouraged and encouraging, when life just isn't?

The following is a list of 5 tips and tricks for how you can reset your mind and encourage yourself, and others around you when life is feeling flat out sucky.

1. READ!

Reading is a great way to not only calm yourself and ease your mind, but what you read can really shift your perspective on things. If you are a believer, I highly recommend getting into the word. God has so much to say about how to deal with trials whether big or small. Sometimes if I am feeling super lazy but want some Godly perspective, I will google: "What does the Bible say about ______". This is a great way to clear your mind, but also to shift your perspective on why certain things in your life may be going the way they are. If you aren't a believer, or need some additional recommendations, you could read or listen to any sort of self-help books about how to better your mindset. If you are more of a listener, there are a million different podcasts or Ted Talks to cover almost any topic or struggle you are facing. Take in some great knowledge while also distressing by reading!

2. Talk to Others.

This one seems simple, because it is! But- it is so impactful. Talking to others is a great way to reset your mind and to become encouraged again. In your conversations with others you can not only vent to one another about life's problems, (it is a great way to not keep your emotions bottled up), but you may even offer one another some different insight. At the very least, talking to loved ones about your struggles allows for emotional support of one another. Additionally- you may be able to encourage someone by sharing how you have had and dealt with a similar issue. Talking to someone is a great way to let off steam, feel and give support, and to gain new insights.

3. Do A Random Act of Kindness.

Trust me on this one. If you are feeling down, do a random act of kindness for someone else. This could be as simple as thoughtful text message or phone call checking in on someone, or making someone a meal, or even bringing them their favorite coffee. Random acts of kindness are amazing at lifting both your and someone else's spirits. You will feel uplifted for making someone happier and they will certainly appreciate that you are thinking of them.

4. Take A Little "You Time"

Find something you love, enjoy, get excited about, or that is calming. It could be a fancy bubble bath with candles, a long-walk outside, a guilty pleasure tv show you like to binge-watch, or pizza night with friends. Find what makes your day exciting and gives you something to look forward to. Whether you do this activity alone or with others is up to you, but do one thing, no matter how big or small, that just makes you smile. Life is only worth living for the small moments. Encourage others in your life to do the same. This is a great way to mentally and physically reset.

5. Get to Know Yourself and Your Needs- And Listen To Them!

Take some time each day to get to know and understand you. Reflect on what things make you overwhelmed, stressed, upset, happy, anxious, feel loved etc. Knowing and listening to your emotional needs will allow you to understand where you are at, and how to get you into a better mental headspace. Knowing your needs can also help you to communicate them to a partner, friend, co-worker, child, or teammate. Communicating how you feel and what you need from that person at that time will not improve your relationship with them, but it will open the door for them to share their needs as well, so you can be a support for them when they need you. Whether you need to feel appreciated and understood, or if you just need a good cry and a nap, knowing your needs will allow you and those around you to grow to get through any difficult season, no matter how long or short-lived.

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