Life is hard.
We have those moments when it seems that life is filled with one obstacle after another. Even if we’re mostly content, we can still face moments that are more difficult than most. When in that place, it is easy to feel stressed out and truly overwhelmed. During these times it’s a struggle to find your joy and keep your spirits lifted.
I get it, you feel drained, constantly tired and unable to focus on even the things you enjoy.
But I want you to know that despite these circumstances, many of which are outside of our control, there are some practical ways that you can recapture your joy and lift your spirits.
I am not saying this is easy. In fact, it can be especially difficult when we feel weighed down with numerous burdens and obligations. Yet, this is exactly the time we need to rejoice the most and lift our spirits.
Here’s the thing, it starts with taking your focus off of your circumstances. The more we focus on our self and on our circumstances, the more we lose that joy. But the trick is that when we turn our focus to others we can find our joy return and our spirits lift.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time to care for yourself. Quite the contrary, it’s during the difficult times that it’s very important to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
But, really it is all about finding a balance between caring for you and taking the time to focus on and care for others.
Remember: “Even though you may have been dealt a bad hand, you still hold all the cards.”
So play your hand well and use these simple steps to lift your spirits and bring back joy.
Let’s start with the things that you should be doing for you!
When life is particularly stressful or just hard, getting rest is more important than ever. If you are exhausted, it is virtually impossible to be calm and have that feeling of peace that will allow you to express joy despite your circumstances.
No matter your current situation put your health first. After all, you can’t help anyone if you are not caring for yourself.
2. Keep Things Simple
This may feel impossible when your schedule is already overflowing. While there are seasons that make it difficult to simplify as much as you would like, you can still simplify key areas.
Make a meal plan for your week. When you cook double the recipe so you cook fewer times during the week and stick to simple recipes.
You can limit laundry by wearing similar colors, this way you can toss everything into one load.
Simplify your Work
When you are dealing with all that you have on your plate, batch your similar tasks together. Make all your phone calls at the same time. Run all errands while you’re out and about.
This is the time to simplify as much as possible. Being able to know you have dinner taken care of, a handle on the laundry and several smaller tasks done will bring a sense of relief. This relief will lift your spirits despite other major circumstances. For more detailed ways to simplify your life check out this post here.
3. Get Advice
An independent, go it alone attitude, is a thief of joy. On the other hand, seeking out advice from others can dramatically lift our spirits.
There are many places in Proverbs where we are told of the importance of wise counsel and even how wise counsel can lead to joy. (Check out Proverbs 11:14; 12:20; 15:22 & 24:6).
Hearing from someone who has been there, done that, and comes out okay brings us hope. This hope brings comfort and allows us to experience joy despite trying circumstances.
I dare you to feel bad while spending the day smiling. Smiling automatically makes us feel better, and brings that sense of joy.
If you really want to feel joy laugh. Laughter is not only the best medicine it is a powerful way to bring joy and lift your spirits.
So call that friend that always makes you laugh, or play your favorite comedy, you will feel the joy return and your spirits lifted in no time.
5. Fiercely Guard Your Me Time
Having a daily quiet time has a big impact on my attitude throughout my day. When I skip this, I tend to feel much more anxious and impatient throughout my day. When you are struggling to maintain your joy and keep your spirits lifted, make sure you spend some quiet time refreshing your soul.
6. Create a Relaxation Space
I have a vision in my mind of the perfect place. This place gives me that perfect feeling of peace and calm. When I start feeling overwhelmed and my spirit is down, I can do my best to create that feeling of my perfect place.
To create my relaxation space, I find a spot that is clean and organized. I light a candle with a subtle scent released among the flickering flames. I turn on my sound machine to the raindrops gently falling while my diffuser glows with the serenity blend.
Even if I can only spend five minutes, it instantly calms my soul and lifts my spirits.
What about you, it’s important to find your happy place. Maybe a relaxing bath, or if your happy place is the ocean, get a sound machine that plays the gentle sound of the waves, add a candle with the scent of an ocean breeze. Soon you will find your spirit lifted and your soul calmed.
Wherever you feel that sense of calm and peace, recreate it to lift your spirits and bring back that feeling of joy.
Now that you’ve taken those little steps to care for you, turn your focus to others to see your joy restored and spirits lifted.
Whenever I take the time to volunteer at an organization near and dear to my heart, by the end of the time, I feel like I was the one being blessed. Something about being there for others and having the ability to help someone out brings that feeling of true joy every time.
Volunteering helps take our focus outward, away from your own circumstances. Moreover, when you are serving others, you realize your problems are not so big and you are not the only one.
2. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
There is something about a random act of kindness that fills your heart with joy.
It doesn’t even need to be something complicated or planned out. Taking the time to say hello and smile at someone, or telling them to have a nice evening can go a long way to make that person feel good. Their response will fuel your own feelings of joy because you know that you really brighten someone’s day!
Most of us don’t think twice about asking to speak to the manager when our service was bad or our meal not as expected. Why not try turning it around and going out of your way to let the manager know when you received good service. I promise you the manager will be surprised and their response will be a smile on your own face.
How fun it is when you get the chance to pay for someone’s coffee waiting behind you in the drive-through.
Making someone else’s day is a great way to instantly boost your mood!
3. Encourage Others
Most of the time encouraging the ones that are closest to us goes against all of our natural tendencies when we are feeling stressed. I know that when I am overwhelmed, I am much more likely to snap than encourage those I am closest to. In the end, it leaves us all feeling worse.
Instead, when you are having a particularly stressful day be purposeful in looking for chances to encourage. Making this simple effort can completely transform your entire day.
4. Meet a Need
I read of someone who whenever asked how he is doing, responds “Better than I deserve.” I loved this, this simple way of responding reminds us of how much we have, which is more than we deserve.
With this mindset, look for ways to bless and serve someone who has a genuine need. Instead of focusing on the hard time you are going through, remember you have more than you deserve. So reach out and bring dinner to a friend who is also having a hard time.
Offer to give someone a ride. How great would it be to pick up groceries for someone when you are out at the store. There are so many things you can do to serve and bless someone else. This simple act will have you focusing on the positive and the good in your own life restoring your joy.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation or with a decision you are struggling with and find yourself with greater clarity just by being able to talk it through with someone? In these times I am always so grateful to have that person who was simply willing to listen to me.
Rather than talking about your own problems and difficulties, vow not to do that and instead just listen to what someone else may be going through. Choosing to listen to someone else can really change your focus and restore your joy.
6. Pray for Them
Taking the time to pray for others is another great way to change your focus. It allows you to empathize and to remember that you are not the only one going through a hard time.
When you spend time in prayer for another, you will walk away feeling refreshed and with a peaceful heart.
When life throws those curve balls you don’t have to lose your joy. You can lift your spirits and rejoice despite your circumstance by taking some time to be kind to yourselves and then focus on being kind to others. Soon, you will fill your spirits being lifted and rejoicing at the good that you have.
As always, live simply, live intentionally and make each day your Favorite day!