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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my dear friend Kelly Matsudaira. Kelly is passionate about personal development and reflection on life and often pops in to share words of wisdom! I hope you enjoy today’s article!}


by Kelly Matsudaira

Everyone has difficult days, weeks, or even months, when all you want to do is stay in bed and sleep. It would be easier to ignore all the stresses in your life, but reality doesn’t work that way. You must face your challenges head on so you can eventually get past them and move into a more blissful state of mind.

You may have a tough few days of being under a tight deadline at work with the boss breathing down your neck, your children won’t stop fighting with each other, and your spouse is sick. Or, you can have a really bad week where you lose your job, have a death in the family and your cat goes missing.

Whatever type of event that is going on in your life is irrelevant. What matters is how you approach each difficult situation and how you bounce back.

Be Selfish During Life’s Challenges

No matter what stressful event you’re dealing with, you need to take care of yourself. You are no good to yourself or anyone else if you’re sick.

When you’re under a lot of stress, the first thing to go is your immune system because you wear down your ability to keep viruses and other infections away. Your body releases stress hormones as part of the “fight or flight” response to prime your body for danger, whether any exists or not. Your body can’t tell if it’s really in danger or if it’s just in your head.

Remember to keep eating healthy foods to help your immune system fight off diseases. Try to keep your fridge and cupboards stocked with lean proteins, fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and other of your favorite healthier foods. Stay away from fast food and other junk foods.

Also, if your schedule allows, keep doing your exercise routine. Exercise can help release some of that tension and stress building up. You’ll also allow yourself some relief from the stress by releasing endorphins during your workout. So not only will you feel better, you’ll also sleep better.

Keep drinking water to stay hydrated and taking your daily vitamins and supplements. You still need to keep your body in top shape even if you’re going through a difficult time.

And if you’re not suffering from insomnia, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep in each night so your body can rest and rejuvenate itself.

One of the worst things you can do is neglect your own health.

10 Ways to Lift Your Spirits and Feel Better

Here are some ideas to try when you’re having a bad week and just want to feel better quickly:

1. Meditation – Stopping your mind for just a few minutes and becoming present is a great stress reliever. Focus on your breathing and release all the tension from your mind. If you can’t quiet your mind because it’s running too fast, choose a mantra to repeat during your meditation, like “release,” “be here now,” “i am safe,” whatever word or phrase calms you down. If you prefer guided meditations, there are many YouTube videos to watch and apps you can download.

2. Get Outside – Taking some time to be with nature will help calm your nerves. You don’t have to hike up a mountain or get lost in a forest. You can just take a walk around your neighborhood. Try to go alone and leave the phone or iPod at home. Look around at the sky, the clouds, the trees, the grass, the flowers; listen to the birds, buzzing of insects; feel the leaves on a tree; smell the air of someone grilling or cutting the grass. You’re trying to quiet the mind and be present with what is. Just take in all the beauty around you and see how effortless it is for nature to just be.

3. Write in a journal – Sometimes if you’re in a bad mood, you just need to vent and get it all out of your system. Journaling is very therapeutic and helps you to release all that pent up emotion. It’s also a safe place that you can truly be yourself and say whatever you want to say without any consequences. Just abuse the pages and write out everything you’re feeling, what’s making you angry or frustrated, why you’re feeling sad and depressed, etc.

4. Watch a funny TV show or movie – Laughter really can be the best medicine, especially if you’ve been grouchy all week. Take a night to watch the funniest shows or movies you know of or own. Laugh all the stress out of your body.

5. Spend quality time with your loved ones – Sometimes when you’re having a rough week, the last thing you want to be is alone. Call up your friends and plan a night out on the town or catch dinner and a movie. Or if you’re at home, turn off all electronic devices and have a family game night.

6. Do something fun you really enjoy – Don’t take your favorite hobbies for granted. If you’ve been putting off “fun time,” then make time for it again. Paint, cook, sew, write, sculpt, garden, play an instrument, whatever you love doing the most…do it!

7. Pamper yourself – There is nothing wrong with giving yourself some quality time alone. Take a hot bubble bath. Get a massage. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi. Bake your favorite dessert. Curl up with your favorite blanket and read a good book.

8. Have a dance party – No, you don’t need to throw a big bash at your place, unless you want to. You can have a dance party wherever you are – at home, in the office, in your car. You just need to put on an upbeat song that you can dance to, turn up the volume and dance like nobody’s watching.

9. Clean your home – This may sound like a lot of work, and who wants to do chores when they are feeling crappy? But when you feel like there is a lot of chaos in your life and you feel unbalanced, coming home to a clean space can be exactly what you need in the moment. It’s one less thing you have to worry about, too.

10. Do an act of kindness – One of the best ways to perk yourself up is by doing something nice for someone else or someone less fortunate than you. You may feel like you have the worst life ever, but your problems will seem small in comparison when you see what others have to do to survive in this world. Find an organization to volunteer at or just do a kind act like paying for the person behind you in line at Starbucks. Pay it forward.

There are many other ways to turn negative emotions around when you’re having a bad week. It happens to us all, but it’s how you deal with those tough moments and situations that define who you really are.

Don’t take opportunities like these bad weeks for granted because you really can learn more about yourself and grow when thrown into difficult challenges. Remember, nothing is ever as bad as you think it is. You’ve gotten through rough patches before and you’ll get through them again. Best wishes!

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