The other day…. I had the worst afternoon. Discouragement hit me like a big truck and stripped me down to a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and exhaustion. I don’t know what brought this on, really, but it was Friday afternoon…. and I am always so exhausted on Fridays. Or, it could be a combination of lots of things – hormones, middle age, exhaustion …. Or just life itself!
But, then I realized when we are stripped down to our core, everything usually seems worse than it really is! The good news about discouragement is – there is usually no other place to go BUT UP!
Later that same day, my daughter and son-in-law came by with my new grandson, and my husband came home from work. We got takeout food, played with the baby and had a nice time. I got a lot of sleep that night, and like the old saying goes “things looked better in the morning”.
But discouragement can creep in quietly, like a thief in the night, and when we get to a place of being exhausted, it overwhelms us.
Often I have seen the young mother with kids tied to her coattail, not able to have a moment to herself. I have been her … overtired and thinking, what’s the point? Is this really worth it? But then, many years later, as our children walks across that stage to get their college diploma with a smile on their faces (and tears running down ours) … we realize – it WAS worth it!
And the “empty nester” with extra time on her hands and may wonder, “Now what?” A quiet house, early retirement and nothing to do! Discouragement sets in… but don’t let it! Wow, think of all the fun things you can do now! Take that photography class you have always wanted to take, go volunteer, take a girls’ weekend escape with your best friends!
This discouragement is a common but unfortunate place to be … and it happens to us all at different times, in different seasons in our lives, for different length of times.
I hope some of these tips that have helped me get through discouragement might also help you:
- Get enough rest and sleep. I find things really do look brighter in the morning…. after I have had a good night’s sleep.
- Get some fresh air and move. Sit outside with an iced tea, or walk your dog through the neighborhood. Just getting some sunlight – good ol’ Vitamin D – is so energizing and really makes me feel better.
- Talk to an encouraging mentor. I have found reaching out and talking with someone I know will understand, and that I look up to, really helps. We grab a cup of coffee and talk things through.
- Give to others. In giving, we are receiving, and it is such a great reward. It makes us feel worthwhile right down to our core, and we can begin feeling good about ourselves.
- Stop Complaining. Complaining is not a solution! I sometimes get caught in this, and the I try not to complain – it is really self-destructive, and in the long run, it just makes things worse.
- Take one tiny step towards progress. I find setting some small goals helps me get a “fresh vision” of what I am trying to accomplish or what I really want my life to become. If we are dissatisfied with our lives, this helps us move towards where we want to be in the future. Where do we see ourselves in a year from now? In five years from now?
Discouragement can be overwhelming … but this too shall pass. Stay in hope! The last chapter of our story – our lives – hasn’t been written yet. So each of us needs to choose how the rest of our story will read!