We all have good days however, sometimes we have not-so-great days. Whether you’re stuck in a job that’s no longer igniting your passion, your relationship is on the rocks, School life is dragging on with what seems like no end in sight; Whatever the case may be, we all need encouragement to just keep going. Or from the famous quote from Dory of Finding Nemo, to ” Just keep swimming“.
As someone who struggles with anxiety & depression, I can tell you that I have days more often than not that I remind myself to “just keep swimming”. I am naturally a bubbly person, and you would probably never know I struggled with these things unless I otherwise told you. There’s a reason it’s known as an ‘invisible illness’ and I’m here to tell you that if you struggle too, you are not alone and your feelings are validated.
This post will probably be a long one however, it is a subject I feel so close to my heart and would love to share & encourage you if I can. So, grab yourself a drink or a snack & let’s get into this!
If you are someone who isn’t a believer, you are welcome to skip past this section. Before I became a Christian, I never read the bible or went to church. I definitely found religion off-putting, and wasn’t afraid to make fun of churchgoers and ‘bible thumpers’. Ironically enough, it took me to be in a desperate place in need of encouragement for me to open up a bible for the first time… And I’ve been changed ever since! So, while you are welcome to skip past, I do encourage you to follow along because you might even surprise yourself!
To touch on what I mentioned above, when I was going through a tough time in College I had opened my bible with the encouragement of my boyfriend. (We weren’t dating at the time, but he was my rock at this point!) I had reached a low point and was honestly desperate enough to follow his advice on reading Jeremiah 29:11 in the bible. I had even scoffed to myself thinking ” this is just something that I’m sure helps him out because he’s a Christian because I know this isn’t going to help me whatsoever”. Once I opened up the bible to Jeremiah and scanned the words from Verse 11, my whole body that had physically been shaking from distress had stilled. My heart that was beating far faster than I would’ve liked, had slowed. My spirit that was troubled, was calmed. I never in my life felt anything close to what reading that verse had done for me. No human connection, anti-anxiety medication, no self-help magazine, bubble bath or glass of wine, had ever given me the stress relief that reading the verse had done for me. I literally sat there in shock for a good minute before I thought to myself ” wait, what?”. I honestly couldn’t believe how reading this verse, had rid me hours of an anxiety attack. I almost felt stupid for believing it happened and didn’t want to admit to myself that reading the bible actually helped. The verse I read was Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Needless to say, as someone on the fence about God at that point in time, I felt like my opinion changed that night. I encourage you, when you’re feeling distressed or hopeless & lost, break out a bible (there’s even a free bible app if you don’t have a physical copy!) and read Jeremiah 29:11. Now, when I’m in times of trouble I go back to this verse. It helps to remind me that God has a plan and that I don’t need to carry that extra weight and stress of the unknown. I also now have devotionals to keep me feeling encouraged daily. (Almost like following an Instagram page with daily motivational quotes 😉 )
Getting to spend time reading the word in solitude, is something I don’t take for granted. It brings a surreal amount of peace to the soul, and i’ve learned some surprising things about God that had me realizing that my past judgements on Christians and religion were very wrong.
Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, and to reach out spiritually. Even if you were a skeptic like me, reading your bible and highlighting verses that jump out at you really can encourage you!
Talking To Someone
Telling someone your feelings, and getting them out into the world is the best thing you can do! Sometimes you don’t need advice, but just have someone listen. This can be a parent, relative, friend, teacher, spouse, etc. It doesn’t matter who, but the important thing is to have a good chat!
I was always someone who hated talking about my feelings. I never wanted to burden myself onto others or have people’s perception of me change based on my troubles. I also despise crying, and as someone who is deeply emotional, I just couldn’t fathom the idea of talking to someone and then crying in front of them. However, as I’ve gotten older these things are slowly changing. I have reached out to many women in my life, and I now have a solid circle of women I can go to! We have lunch or coffee dates to catch up on each others’ lives. Each of them has been such a blessing for me, and it’s been so good to reach out and get their listening ears and open hearts! It took time to open up but what a difference a heart to heart can make in your life! Now if I’m in need of a quick prayer or chat, I can also text them if life gets busy. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, don’t judge you & make you feel validated and understood. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk! Plus, it’s also an excuse to go out and get good food 😉
Get outside! Go for a walk and get some fresh air. You’d be surprised how much going outside and doing a light activity such as walking can help! Studies have actually proven that walking increases your mood. When you walk, you are helping your body by clearing out cortisol a.k.a a stress hormone! The fresh air and a nice view help to clear your mind, and even just the distraction of leaving the indoors is enough to help jumpstart getting out of a rut or mood.
Do The Next Thing
I have to be honest, I started this blog post on a whim because I was having a ‘low’ day, and just needed to let it out. Writing for me is almost like a form of therapy, and if I can help others through it I see that as killing two birds with one stone. Once I started to write this post, I increasingly started to feel better as I wrote on. All of this to say, you can’t just sit and do nothing when you’re feeling down. Do something! Since I was having a tough day, the first thing I did was clean my room. It was a simple task, and yet it helped to declutter my surrounding space, helping me to relax and mentally feel as if I ticked off a task for my day, making me feel productive. Do you have a hobby? an activity you like to do? Whatever that is, go and do it. If you’re not feeling motivated or up for it, invite a friend so that it encourages you to have to get out of your bubble. The first step in any situation when you’re down is to just do. the. next. thing. It sounds like a silly sentence but really think about it. Take things one at a time, and keep yourself busy. So if you’re moping in your room upset, get up and go do something about it. The worst thing is to wallow in the same spot all day!
Sometimes things can feel as if you’re waiting for your next big break. You’ve been waiting for your dream job, waiting for your dream partner, waiting for the right moment to do something. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Something no one likes to do is wait. Myself included. It’s important to remember that life is not a race- no one person is doing better than another, we are all doing our own thing. Life is a journey, and everyone’s is different. Therefore it’s time now, to stop comparing. This is your wake up call, to stop comparing to others. So what if they graduated before you? So what if they got their dream job before you? so what. Your time will come, and your efforts will pay off. It’s important to note that experiences we go through, all teach us lessons to bring forth into our lives for the next chapter. For example, if you feel stuck in a job you don’t like and are trying to make it through until you find your next big break don’t give up hope. Learn while you are at this job. Make mistakes and learn from them, get confident in this job and become great at it. Take these experiences to make you all the much more confident when that dream job arrives. God can use you wherever you are placed, take what you’ve been given and be thankful! Be patient where you are, and be thankful for where it is you’ve been placed at this time. Learn and grow as a person, and continue to have hope. With hard work and prayer, you will get to where you want to be (and it may even be somewhere you never expected, but was everything you needed!)
I know that some of these things might sound redundant, or you’ve heard them before… but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. I know that while I was writing these out, they were a reminder to myself to do the next step and to get out of my room and do something. I understand what low energy levels feel like, and I know how hard doing a simple task can do when you’re at your lowest. As I said before, you are not alone in this! There is so much to be joyous for, and while at this moment you might not feel it there is so much hope in this world. You might not have gotten that promotion or that job, you might have gotten bad news or missed an opportunity due to your anxieties. At the end of the day, the world doesn’t stop and we move on. Better things will come, we have to continue to be hopeful. If I can reiterate from all of this it is to seek God in times of trouble (Jeremiah 29:11), be patient, and do the next thing- a.k.a keep going!