3 Tips for Hard Seasons in Life

PC: Ryan Christodoulou

For anyone that knows me well, I’m a pretty positive person with a lot of goals and fearlessness when it comes to moving, traveling, and trying new things. I’m also a pretty motivated person to take action and face challenges in front of me with motivation and a positive mindset.

That said, for about five months I’ve really fallen out of my norm and have felt pretty lost.

I’ve had a long five to six months of marriage/ life in my husband’s country. It’s been exhausting really. Culture shock, marriage shock, living with in-laws shock… Not to mention the behind-the-scenes extreme fighting between my husband and I—not what I expected when we would talk about life in his country leading up to my moving here!

Outside of social media I felt lost and confused. I questioned every life decision leading me to this point trying to figure out where I went wrong in making it here to this place.

Then, a few simple changes have pushed me in a positive trajectory in the last 30 days and I am in a MUCH better place now than before. I feel a little bit more like myself and every day I am getting closer to feeling motivated with life and work by running the course marked out for my life.

That said, I know we’ve all experienced hard days, weeks, months, and years. And I’m here to share three tips to encourage you. These are things I’ve been doing this entire season of stress and change, and I hope they can help you as well!

  1. Surround Yourself With People Who Care

Who is your team? Your tribe? Who loves you most? Who can you call on and open up to without fear or judgement? Bring those people into your circle ASAP because that is going to make the difference between feeling alone in the world, and feeling capable of conquering the world. Not everyone should know all the nitty gritty details of horrible things you are going through in life. But some should. Your relationships matter and I promise by calling the lifeline of friends or family who have your back fully, you will be empowered. Even if circumstances don’t change in the physical sense right away, by leaning into your community, you will notice things around you shifting and moving just in how you interpret and process life with others. Relationships matter so much to getting back to a place of motivation and positive change.

I opened up to a few people in my life and knowing they are praying, having them hear me, and accepting words of comfort, affirmation, and empowerment though we are countries apart. It is more meaningful than anything.

2. Diet and Sleep

Your diet and drinking plenty of water through the day has more of an effect on your mental emotional state than you may realize. See, your mood is actually enhanced by the good or bad bacteria in your gut; gut health matters and has a direct effect on your brain and the amount of serotonin produced. By keeping a healthy microbiome and by getting probiotics and even practicing intermittent fasting to help your gut health, you can help your general well-being and mood. Here and here are articles to start with that explains more on gut health and mental health, if you are interested in extra reading.

Along with that, is getting plenty of rest through the night. In a basic sense, your brain chemistry re-calibrates, heals, balances, and allows new growth through periods of sleep and rest that you cannot get any other way. Your hormones balance out and your long-term memory kicks in. Sleep is a vital part of letting your body recoup and regroup that no other action you take while awake can help you achieve the same results in order to feel and live your best. A really great, easy to read article on sleep and improved mental-emotional health is this.

3. Watch What You Watch

One huge thing that has made the difference of a “blah” day or a “worse-than-blah” day, during these months of confusion that I had been living is truly what media I was ingesting. Music, shows, news, books, and other entertainment—the power of healthy and uplifting messages in the things I was watching and listening vs not so healthy or uplifting truly matters. My husband, a big music person, at one point told me he got rid of all kinds of music on his phone with negative self-talk and negative messages on women and relationships. This action step was good and is something I can respect on his end. For me, I learned quickly news and can be turned off if its not adding value. The movies can be turned off if they aren’t adding value. The music can be switched out if it’s not adding value. Instead, I started picking up healthier books through personal recommendation and a Leadership Training Program I went through from October 2020 through December 2020 and the impact was huge.

In any event, these three steps are things that I am taking seriously to maintain as I get mentally stronger once more. By focusing on what I can control and letting go of what I can’t, I’m feeling like my normal self once more as I was designed by my Creator.

What tips do you have when you consider getting off track the course you want to be on when it comes to living a positive, motivated life? Anything you would add to this list?


For anyone interested in reading material that helped me during these months, here are some books that made a world of impact for me:

I also read The Heart Work: Declutter Your Past to Make Room for an Amazing Future by Jackie Dorman and You Deserve the Love of God by Stephen Hill, which are two books that are more God-centered and encouraging on a spiritual level.

Birds Sing Through the Night…

KevinYoung

PC: Kevin Young

I know because my window is open at night now that the weather is warming up. I like the ventilation and fresh air clearing out my stuffy room after a cooped up winter and chilly spring. More importantly though, I live in a neighborhood at the treeline of the Central Pennsylvania State Gamelands, which means I get a good dose of nature right outside that window.

So, window open, lights out, and for a few nights in a row it’s been nothing but restless tossing and turning. Drinking water, walking around, stretching, and feigning sleep haven’t helped. And the more determined I’ve been to sleep, the more my body and mind have refused that quiet bliss. My bed too hot, the air too cool, but really I’ve been doing what I shouldn’t- stressing about people, relationships, and circumstances that I can’t change. Until last night.

It was around 3:30 AM, I sat straight up with a frustrated sigh when I noticed a shift in the darkness. A quiet singing. It was a beautiful melody, faint and distant in the woods. With each passing note, the voice sounded gentle but determined. I felt like the song was written for me, after all, I was the only one awake in that part of the world at 3:30 in the morning. So I climbed out of bed, leaned out my window, and breathed in the cool air, listening.

Within 30 minutes, more voices added to the melody, each distinct and soothing. Within an hour I saw the faint, faint outline of the sky lighten with the sun. By now my mind felt more at peace, so I closed the window, turned to my bed, and slept for a short 2 hours. That’s when the full choir of birds decided to sing their loudest, waking me up again. Apparently they really wanted an audience. I gave into their song once more, quieting my mind to appreciate their joy in sharing their sweet voices.

I realized then that even in the darkest, birds do sing. When the night is black, and not a soul is around except for you and your racing thoughts and emotions… the birds taught me it is possible to sing. It is possible to hold onto joy. Or when it’s really dark and lonely, it is possible to let others’ joy carry you. Because before you know it, the worries of the night will give way to a pink and orange painted sky and rest will come if you allow it.

So sing in the dark.

It is what brings the light.