This blog may contain affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

Finding Encouragement: Healthy Habits

encouragement healthy habits

We all know that healthy habits can have a huge impact on our mental health. However, sometimes when you’re struggling with depression, or just feeling especially down or discouraged, this can be difficult to put into practice.

Today, I want to share some practical things that you can do to take care of yourself, and hopefully improve those down days–or at least lessen the severity and frequency of them. Some of these may be harder than others, but try to do what you can to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s important. And the bonus is that it will help you be a better wife and mommy too–win/win.


This is so important! God calls us to rest because he knows we need that. He created our bodies and he knows what we need to optimize them, and one important thing is rest.

I can always tell a difference in my mood when I don’t get enough sleep. Give yourself a bedtime if you have to, that ensures you’re getting the amount of sleep you need.


I couldn’t write this series with practical tips and ignore the obvious. Science tells us that exercise releases hormones that can boost mood. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy–even a good brisk walk for 20 minutes can help.

If you’re struggling, consider adding in some exercise. Yes, it will be hard. This one is especially hard in the throes of depression since it can cause severe physical fatigue in addition to mental/emotional symptoms.

But I want to encourage you that the hardest things we do are the ones that feel the best afterward. Those victories are the sweetest–and most uplifting.


This is another hard thing, but so important. Science has shown us that processed foods, especially sugar and white flour, can worsen the symptoms of depression. This is one of the many, many reasons we made the switch to a real food diet. Chocolate and other comfort foods might offer temporary relief, but in reality they make things worse.

Another vicious cycle. Depression makes you crave sugar and processed foods, and those foods feed the depression and keep it going. To be completely honest, I haven’t completely mastered this one, though I’ve made strides in the right direction for myself and my family. Food has always been a big issue for me. But, I do believe in the power of a better diet in improving mood, and fighting depression.

Fill up on real, whole foods–fruits, vegetables, etc. and limit processed flours and sugars.

Natural Remedies

I’m still trying to educate myself about this, but there are a lot of vitamins, herbs, and essential oils that are known to improve mood. Do your research and see what might help you prevent those down days before they start. Here are just a few to get started with:

My caution with the essential oils would be to be sure you’re getting a good quality essential oil and not a cheap kind. Yes, it is more expensive, but well worth it. This essential oil diffuser has great reviews, and is very affordable.

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

need encouragement 2


Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement: Your To-Do List

encouragement to do list

Often the source of stress lies in our over-filled to-do lists. But, if you’re putting the right things on it, your to-do list can help you gain the encouragement and motivation you need to keep going in the midst of tough times.

When I am feeling especially burdened and weary, it’s usually a good sign that I’m not taking care of myself, that I’m over-committing myself, and that I’m not honoring God’s commandment to give my mind and body some rest.

Be Productive

I’ve been in the dark pit of depression, and it can be debilitating. It drains you of energy and motivation, and the result is an even deeper feeling of uselessness and self-loathing. It’s a vicious cycle, but you can break it.

During the worst of my depression, I determined to do just one thing. One productive thing each day.

I know to some of you that sounds ridiculous. But I know that to some of you, it sounds hard to think of doing even just one thing. But I promise you, it will help. Get up and do just one thing to be proud of. Pick up a room, cook dinner for your family, wash the dishes, take a shower.

Just one thing.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get you back on the right track. Sometimes that one thing leads to more things. But even if it doesn’t, you can feel better at night knowing that you accomplished at least something.

If you aren’t in the throes of depression, then your aim might be different. Maybe you need to focus on doing just one fun thing with your kids. Or just one fun thing for yourself. Or one restful thing.

Whatever it is, don’t underestimate the power of doing just one thing.

Get out of the House

Sometimes when you’re down or depressed the natural response is to be a hermit. Getting out requires energy–both mental and physical–that you just may not have.

But being cooped up in your house rarely does anything good. In fact, it usually makes things worse. I know it’s hard, but get out of the house. Sunshine is proven to help!

Sometimes a change in scenery or routine might be just the thing you need to get your day back on track.

Examine your schedule

Sometimes, I am too busy doing the wrong things. When I step outside God’s good and perfect will and take on things that He never intended for me to take on, that’s when I become weary and burdened by many things.

I love the words that Jesus spoke to Martha:

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

One thing is needed. Just one thing. And when we move beyond that one thing, we bring unnecessary stress and burdens on ourselves, and the things we are really meant to be doing suffer.

Ask the Lord to help you accept and embrace His calling for your life, even if that means setting some other things aside for this season. Make sure you have time for the things that are most important.

Do Something Fun!

Sometimes, the best remedy for a down-in-the-dumps day is a change in routine. Forget about your to-do list and re-write it. Do something fun, something that makes you happy. Play a game with your kids. Go for a nature walk. Put on some worship music and dance around your house.

Be silly. Make memories.

Sometimes, on a bad day it may feel like you don’t have the energy for fun, but put your mind to it and make it happen. Sometimes it can snap you right out of that down day.

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

need encouragement 2


Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement: From People

Encouragement from others

Sometimes, when we’re feeling down and discouraged, our natural tendency is to focus inward. This is especially true for many people who struggle with depression. Being around people, even loved ones, can be exhausting. It can be draining, and requires energy that you feel like you just don’t have.

Furthermore on those days we’re often more insecure than usual. You might think that you have nothing to offer, or that you’re just a bother.

Don’t believe that lie. Yes, it can be tough, but pushing ourselves to interact with others can be a game-changer when discouragement is involved.

Here are three types of people who can be especially helpful for you during this time.


I have to admit this one is tough for me. I have struggled with maintaining close friendships, and a lot of the reason is because of my depression. However, good friends can be such a blessing.

The key is to be discerning. Find 1-2 trusted people that you can confide in and ask them to pray for you. Find one or two trusted friends that you can call up and count on to help you get out of the house.

Be sure you’re hanging out with the right people here. Some might be great at letting you vent or ranting along with you, but what you really need is someone who will point you to Jesus. Look for someone who is grace-filled, but not afraid to speak the hard truths. Sometimes a little tough love is the best thing to pull us out of a pity party.

At the same time, if you’re struggling with clinical depression, unfortunately, you may have to tread lightly and be wary. Yes, hard truths are sometimes necessary, but at the same time, you need someone who understands that depression is a real medical issue, who will take it seriously and have your best interest at heart.

If you don’t have someone like this in your life:

  1. Turn to the Lord first. There have been times in my life when I’ve struggled with not having friends and looking back I can see that it was because the Lord was teaching me to turn to Him first instead of other people.
  2. Pray. Pray that the Lord will lead you to a friend, and that He will show you someone who is in need of your friendship as well

Godly examples

I love to find real-life encouragement from someone who has been there, done that…and has done it well. Look for those Titus 2 women in your church, or on a blog if you don’t have anyone in real life. Watch these women and see what they do. How do they get through trials? If you feel comfortable enough, you can even ask them for their advice. Just be sure not to discount it. Not everything will work for everyone, but some things may surprise you if you give them a chance.

Whatever it is–a blog, a book, a fictional character, a real person–find something that challenges you and encourages you. Most importantly, look for sources that point you to Jesus!

Someone to Serve

Bear with me, here. I get it. You’re overwhelmed. You’re tired and weary, and couldn’t possibly imagine adding one more thing to what you’re already doing.

I’ve been there and I get it. But nothing pulls you out of the doldrums like serving someone else.

Sometimes we can get so inward focused that all we can see is the stress of our own problems and to-do lists. When we look outside ourselves, things have a way of coming back into focus.

So look around you and find someone who needs something. Call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while–it could be that she’s discouraged too and your phone call could help you both. Take a meal to someone who’s been sick. Find something productive and encouraging to do for someone else.

You might be surprised at the impact it has on your outlook.

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

need encouragement 2


Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement: Count Your Blessings

Encouragement from blessings

I know this can sound trite, but it’s actually very important and effective.

Remember What God Has Done for You

What can you praise the Lord for? Sometimes when we’re discouraged or having a string of bad days, it can be hard to remember the things the Lord has done for us. But if we’re intentional, it can go along way in helping us regain a better perspective.

Here are some questions to get you started

  1. How has the Lord delivered you in the past?
  2. How has He provided for you?
  3. How has God come through for you when you needed Him, or brought you through a tough time?
  4. Has the Lord healed you or a family member from physical illness?

If you are really low, and really stuck, just thank Him for His merciful, saving grace. That alone is so much more than we deserve.

Remember those times that God has been there for you. He is never changing and Jesus has promised to never leave nor forsake His children. He has seen you through the valleys before and He will do it again .

Look to Your Blessings

Sometimes when we’re discouraged, our problems look so big. They start to take over until on the darkest days, the enemy will use your discouragement to lie to you and tell you that you aren’t blessed. That there is nothing good about your life or that you aren’t important.

Don’t listen. Don’t let that attitude win, instead look to the giver of all good things for the blessings in your life. Start naming them. No matter how bad your situation is, you have something to be thankful for. And on a regular discouraged day, you probably have tons of things to be thankful for. You just have to be intentional about seeing it.

Practical Steps

  • Start a prayer journal. This may not help you today, but it will help you in the future. This can be as detailed or simple as you want, but it’s so important for us to keep a record of the ways God answers prayers in our lives and moves in situations. It will help you to remember those things in darker times, and it will help to build your faith for the future.
  • Start a gratitude journal.  Start now, whether you’re discouraged or not. Every single day, make a list of 3 specific things that you’re thankful for. I’ve always tried to focus on gratitude, but when I started being intentional about listing 3 specific things every day, it changed my entire perspective.

Making intentional gratitude a part of every day has helped me to form a habit of seeing the blessings in the midst of trials. Start this now, and it will be easier to focus on your blessings on the bad days.

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

need encouragement 2


Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement: Look to the Lord

Encouragement from the Lord


The Lord is sovereign and He allows trials to come into our lives for a variety of reasons. The Bible is filled with men and women who were brought through the fire. Men and women who were overwhelmed and given tasks above what they were able to fulfill on their own.

Paul says this, “we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”

Oftentimes, life is more than we can handle. It’s more than we can bear. But it’s never too much for Him.

God’s word says that He will bear the load for us if we will only let Him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

If you are feeling weary and burdened, let those words wash over you today. Sometimes we hear certain verses so much they can almost lose their meaning, but don’t let it. Really soak in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ wants to take your burdens from you. He will carry them. We can trust in the Lord and His sovereignty, no matter what the day brings.

Turn to the Lord right now and give your burdens to him.

“Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.”

What a sweet reminder that so many burdens would lesson when we trust in His sovereignty and give our burdens over to Him.

God’s word is filled with encouragement for His people! The book of Psalms is a great place to start. David often felt discouraged and even depressed. He had enemies coming at him from all sides. He was often near the point of being overwhelmed. Yet He turned to the Lord in every trial and trusted in Him. Even through the worst of it, he could say that he trusted the Lord, His deliverer.

God is your deliverer. Meditate on God’s word. The reminder that He is able and in control may be just what you need to lift your spirits.

Here is a link to some scriptures for those who are struggling.

Practical Tips

  • Praise/Worship. Turn on some hymns or worship music and praise God. There are so many reasons to praise Him, and getting your focus off of your problems and onto your creator might be just the thing you need to perk up.
  • Pray. A secret I’ve learned is to pray for someone else. Oftentimes, I’m so down that even praying about my own problems can be disheartening–because my focus is still on my problems! Instead, trying praising God, thanking Him, and praying for someone else.
  • Read your Bible. Make a list of encouraging verses. Copy some onto index cards to memorize. When those bad days come, you’ll have scripture–God’s words of life and truth–in your arsenal to use against it and get back on track.

Other Resources & Articles

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

need encouragement 2


Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: