I haven’t spoken about it on this blog a lot, but like many twenty-somethings navigating being adults, I struggle off and on with anxiety and depression. It influenced my life for many years until my senior year of college, when a friend encouraged me to seek counseling help. I was amazed when I finally had an adult acknowledge the way I constantly felt and affirmed me in my wishing it could be something separate from me.
And it can. She told me that depression and anxiety don’t have to be YOU, they can just be something we deal with more than others, or that affect us greatly in our day to day lives. And I agree. But more on mental disorders and health another day.
Because I have these struggles that don’t just “go away” and won’t just be banished by extra prayer or having “more faith” (concepts of some Christians that I extremely disagree with), I have to find a way to push through every day. Some days are way better than others and surprise me, and some days are just in a “funk” that I have to accept and deal with.
I have noticed that, despite how I feel, I can choose to act and live a little differently than I have before. I make mistakes constantly, but something I am noticing is the small little victories that occur when I try something new, try something remembered, or choose to see through a different perspective.
Here are some ways, and some perspectives, that help me make joy happen in the moment:
1. Read quotes. Inspiring, motivating, positive quotes.
They are WONDERFUL. I cannot appraise them enough. Obviously there’s a lot of leeway when it comes to amassing a collection of them or choosing which ones you want to see. I have continued the process of writing them down immediately, whether that be journaling, re-pinning on Pinterest, retweeting, bookmarking a link, etc.
OR, what really helps me be inspired by positive and upliting quotes is printing them out or writing them down and putting them on my walls. My bedroom used to be covered with them, and I find that when I am reminded of that awesome quote, I am reminded of the positive feeling I associated with it when I first read it or what it inspired me to do. That’s a pretty fantastic way to find joy.
For example, a quote from Kate Arends, a speaker I heard last week at Creative Mornings Minneapolis: “If you can’t see how blessed you are, even the best things in your life can look dull.” #wordsofwisdom
2. Talk to friends (like one-on-one coffee dates).
I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without the many times I have sat sipping coffee with a good friend. These times of exclusive listening and time-giving are when I feel most comfortable, loved, and noticed. Having coffee with one friend gives me the space to share what’s really been on my mind, and it gives me a chance to listen to them as well! Nothing beats connecting over what you have in common and encouraging each other, whether your struggles are similar or not.
In this world of busy career life post-college, it is important to make time for friends. Even if I only get to visit with one or two in person a week and max out my coffee shop budget before the end of the month, every minute is completely worth it for me. Since I don’t have the blessings of the dorms anymore, being intentional is absolutely essential!
If you’re not able to meet in person or spend money, shoot a text or, if you’re braver than me, a phone call to say you need a little extra encouragement or just to share your thoughts about something. Staying connected is key.
3. Seek the little things.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s absolutely true and worth repeating. Find what small joys you have in your day and seek them out. Remember them! Write them down! They can be as simple as your morning cup of coffee that tasted so fantastic and woke you up, or maybe the book you’re reading is amazing, or maybe working out makes you feel really good. Great! Do that thing.
As twenty-somethings, we get to decide how to shape our lives. We get to decide where we find joy and then pursue that thing.
Yes, there are always going to be situations that we don’t love and are tedious (job searching, everyone?). But what I’ve found is that, by seeking out “me time” or encouragement from something every single day instead of waiting for it to come to me, my day gets a little bit brighter.
What are some ways YOU find encouragement every day?