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5 Things To Do When You Feel Tired & Discouraged

5 Things to Do When You're Tired & Discouraged

As many of you know, I recently had surgery, and my recovery ended up being much longer than I originally anticipated.

For days, I was exhausted, nauseated, weak, and losing weight and yet I didn’t have an appetite. Then, I started experiencing some pain that didn’t feel right. I finally went to the doctor and discovered I had a post-surgery infection.

While I’m feeling much better now, the last two weeks were hard and I struggled to not feel discouraged. This thing just seemed to drag on and on and on. My doctor had said she thought I’d feel mostly all back to normal within a few days and it had been two weeks and I still didn’t feel back to normal.

I just wanted to have my usual energy back. I wanted to be able to function at the energy level and productivity level that I’m used to.

In the grand scheme of things, this is such a small thing. I know there are so many people dealing with so much more, but at the same time, that didn’t change the fact that I was tired of waking up feeling sick and tired. I just wanted to be well!

5 Things to Do When You Feel Tired & Discouraged

Do you ever wake up and feel tired & discouraged, or just can’t seem to find the strength to face the day? 

Here are 5 things I did when I felt tired and discouraged last week:

1. Fire your inner critic.

My inner critic was telling me I was a wuss and that I should be able to deal with this more easily. I had to fire this voice inside of me that was saying it was my fault and my problem — that I needed to push harder and just get up and get over it in order to stop feeling so exhausted and sick.

Instead, I needed to give myself grace. I needed to focus on healing. I needed sleep. And I needed to take it easy. I decided to fire my inner critic and instead step back and listen to my body’s need for rest.

Listen to the truth, and don’t let the inner critic dictate your life.

5 Things to Do When You're Tired & Discouraged

2. Feed your body well.

Sometimes when we are going through a difficult time, it is so easy to reach for chocolate, junk food, or too many carbs. Emotional eating might feel good in the moment, but in the long run, it will often make us feel even worse.

When I was feeling nauseated, I realized I was just reaching for whatever I sounded good, but it wasn’t necessarily what my body needed. Instead, I started making a conscious effort to eat healthful foods that would fuel my body well. As a result, I found that I felt so much more nourished and it made a big difference in my energy levels.

5 Things to Do When You Feel Tired & Discouraged

3. Fill your soul.

What does your soul need? What are you craving? Maybe you need to do something creative, or just call up a friend and share your struggles.

For me, I just wanted to watch a good movie and relax, so that’s what my husband and I did. I also went to church, spent time with people who support me, read soul-nourishing words, and listened to some encouraging podcasts. All of these things helped build me up on the inside and gave me a feeling of hope.

5 Things To Do When You're Weary & Discouraged

4. Focus on others.

Some of you kept asking me why I was continuing to blog or periscope when I did not feel well, and it’s because I needed to get the focus off of myself and feel encouraged by focusing on others. I find that when I help others, it helps me forget about the things I was originally discouraged about.

There was one morning when I just did not want to get up and record a Periscope. I was feeling so tired and unmotivated, but I made myself do it. Once I got on and started streaming my video, I instantly felt better! Periscoping has become a daily joy for me, and it greatly encouraged me to focus on my community that morning.

What can you do to serve someone else? It might be something as simple as smiling, sending a text, or making a phone call. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, especially if you don’t have a lot of energy.

5 Things to Do When You're Tired & Discouraged

{“This is our literal air guitar” they told me!}

5. Find the funny.

Find something to laugh about. My friend Tam Hodge always tells me this, and it really makes a difference. Find your funny — whether it’s watching YouTube videos, a funny movie, or spending time with a friend who makes you laugh. Laughter is such good medicine!

What helps you when you feel tired and discouraged? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Watch my video on this topic: 5 Things To Do When You Feel Tired & Discouraged.

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  • I try to tell myself it’s okay to have some downtime. Normally we don’t watch tv during the day. But if I am feeling sick I just curl up in bed with some soup and veg out with the tv on. I figure if I spend one day doing nothing I will probably feel better sooner than if I keep pushing myself.

  • Caitlin says:

    Thank you for this. I’m about to have surgery next week and I really am not excited about the recovery. I’ll have to read this post again to remind myself to give myself grace and relax. Glad you are feeling better!

  • Kreena says:

    I have been reading your posts about surgery and recovery. I have a similar story. I had surgery July 17 because I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was in the hospital for a week and the home for two weeks. I developed infection and pulmonary embolism. I was in the hospital for a week again. It was hard not to have my normal energy and was easily discouraged. I started noticing all the ways God was sustaining me day by day- a card in the mail from a friend, a call at just the right time, a Bible verse that would grab my heart. During this time my husband and I and some friends went to the movie War Room. It is an amazing movie about prayer. I have been praying like crazy for not only my own family but others that are going through hardships. I have always prayed but have stepped it up. It helps me to focus on others and encourage them. My good news is that they believe they got all my cancer and I only have to do 6 months of chemo. I am looking forward to see how God continues to sustain me.
    I am glad you are giving yourself grace because that is what we all need. Our health is so important.

  • Great timing on this post for me! I was grumbling earlier and feeling discouraged. One thing that tends to help me during tough times is trying to keep things in perspective. Most of our struggles will be over eventually and typically without many bumps in the road. It’s also helpful (but difficult) to remember that we often learn valuable lessons during these times.

  • Brooke Frazier says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post. I have been just diagnosed with mono and am having a hard time telling myself it’s ok to just sleep and rest all day. It is so hard to do with a husband three kids a handicap brother and we live on a farm.

    • I’m so sorry you have mono. Please give yourself grace and rest… even though it has to be hard. I just prayed for you!

    • Anne says:

      Oh Brooke, I feel for you. I got mono when I was a single 2nd grade teacher working on a master’s degree, doing research, and on the admin team which seems like nothing compared to your workload! My boyfriend (now husband) had mono when he was in college and developed pulmonary embolism from it so he was good about encouraging me to rest. I got mono hepatitis (not as bad as other hepatitis but still serious)as a complication. Please take care of yourself as much as you can. I will pray for you.

  • Just the perfect post I need to read this week. I have been trying to stay encouraged with myself professionally. It’s been quite a struggle but I know that God knows my needs. Thanks you for this!

  • Jen K. says:

    I’m recovering from meningitis right now. I couldn’t sit upright for days as I healed from a spinal tap headache. I *had* to lay down nearly all day. Getting up to go to the bathroom was an ordeal. This has forced me to slow down and let others serve me. It’s been difficult, especially since I have small children, but I’ve learned so much through this process.

    To health!

  • Cher says:

    Blessings! God gift you with health and joy!

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you. I needed this today. I found out yesterday that I broke my ankle, and had to use crutches today to get around at work. I’m tired and trying hard not to be discouraged because I realize I have many long weeks of this ahead of me. For now sitting with my foot up and enjoying the cat on my lap has been a joy. I’m also focusing on how grateful I am for my sweet husband who has been helping me in so many ways.

  • Micaela says:

    Not sure if you heard but we now have two kids….recovery is slower because of labor. Your post popped up on Facebook for such a time as right now.

  • Liz M says:

    I’m glad doing Periscope is so fun for you because I really love watching your videos!

  • Tiffany B says:

    I’m glad you like periscope, & it helped you feel better. I don’t have a husband & kids, so technically I’m not your demographic, but I love watching your scopes.

    These are good reminders, & I love that you try to stay positive even in the ups and downs.

  • bPatty says:

    my soul has been craving a book. I believe that’s what I will do today 🙂
    Awesome air guitar!

  • Victoria says:

    When I am feeling discouraged (but well physically) I like to grab the family and go do something. Spending the day with them reminds me how blessed I really am. If I am discouraged and not feeling well physically, I let myself just lie on the couch and watch a funny movie or two on netflix with a cup of hot tea beside me. Normally if I watch TV I am always doing something, knitting , or pinning to pinterest, or placing orders on line, or making lists so just snuggling up and watching TV is really relaxing for me and often fills my energy tank and the laughs from the movie change my mood for the better.

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you Crystal for your wonderful post. I have been feeling tired and discouraged. I have had a period for over two months now and found out two weeks ago that I have a mass in my uterus that needs to be surgically removed and tested for cancer. Waiting to hear today when my surgery will be. To top it off my husband is leaving this weekend from Thursday until Sunday for a men’s weekend he is helping to lead and my son is sick. My mantra is always one day at a time and I am one day closer to this all being over and done with.

    Thank you for the helpful suggestions. I especially loved the purple flowers. Purple is my favorite color.

    ((Hugs to you))

  • Angi says:

    Crystal, I receive several emails from different blogs that I follow. I wanted to let you know that I search for yours in the list of my emails. I usually find a few things that help me or encourage me to better myself. I am a very busy person these days. I am a Jamberry Nails rep, work 40 hours a week, president of a direct sales network, plan and organize a 5k each year…. plus have 3 daughters in college and I wouldn’t be able to do any of it if I didn’t have the love and support of my husband. Thank you again for all that you do!

  • Sara says:

    HI Crystal,

    I really needed this today. I have some health issues that have plagued me for years and these past couple of months have been rough. I had to drop the one college class I had signed up for, because I just couldn’t muster the energy and focus to study, and I’ve been beating myself up thinking that I am lazy and unmotivated, and that I should just do it. I work full time and when I get home, all I want to do is sleep. The thought of studying makes me cringe.

    I’ve been praying to God to heal me, or help me carry this burden better. It’s been almost 20 years of dealing with flare ups, surgeries, different doctors and medications, and it’s wearing me down. I know he will give me the strength to deal with this and I just need to trust him, but it’s hard.

  • Anne says:

    I got a GI bug about six weeks ago. It was mild but took me four weeks to get better and eat normally again. I kept rushing to eat healthy food (ie produce) too quickly and sent myself back to square one. I was worried for a while I had food allergies or something but the doctor reassured me that I was just plain rushing things. I was frustrated because I had just started going to moms groups and was getting into a rhythm in our new area so I fought the healing process. Once I finally embraced the opportunity to eat endless saltines, stay home with my toddler, read, rest and journal more, I finally got better. This is totally minor compared to the illnesses other people face but it taught me a valuable lesson: embrace the opportunity to rest! Two or three weeks later, it is a distant memory but while in that season, it felt like it lasted forever!

    • Girl! I’m SO sorry that you’ve been sick and I didn’t know it. And here you’ve been reaching out to me time and time again and I had no idea that you weren’t doing well yourself. I’m so sorry, but also so grateful that you embraced the opportunity to rest and that you’re finally feeling better!

  • kariane says:

    When I feel down or discouraged, or just need to sort out my thoughts, I find taking a walk is really helpful. I find that it puts me in touch with my own truth, and helps me to find a better perspective. I wrote about it here:

  • Katrina says:

    I’m de-lurking! I’ve read your blog for a long time and I find it very inspirational and enjoyable to read! I’ve loved watching it change over the years! Love this post too! Thx for the insight and tips!

  • Laura says:

    My dear friend sent this article to me because I have struggled for over a year with chronic nausea and vomiting due to multiple illnesses that I have fought for almost a decade.

    I am so sorry that you had to deal with it for even a day…to me, the inability to function due to extreme nausea is the worst feeling.

    However, I have also learned to have compassion for myself…

    I have learned to slow down, “smell the roses,” enjoy the good moments. I have mastered mindfulness exercises like controlled breathing and meditation.

    I know tell people the best thing they can do for themselves is to keep it simple, remove the toxins (bad food, non-supportive people, etc) and only cling to what truly nourishes their soul (friends, family, whole food, exercise, etc).

    It was a huge lifestyle change and it definitely doesn’t come easy, it takes constant work…

    But that is ok…you have to constantly work at relationships, even the one with yourself ?

  • Wendy Briscoe says:

    Praying helps me, and journaling. Sometimes just getting the words out on paper and no one else but me and the good Lord can talk things over. I’ve been trying to walk too. (I sooooo need to get in better shape). But, I am giving myself grace too and napping when I can.

    Several ladies in my church including myself are knitting dishcloths to go in grocery care packages for the needy at a soup kitchen for Christmas. That too has helped me focus on others as I sit and knit.

    I have “Found my funny” by watching Andy Griffith Show, and YouTube Videos of Chonda Pierce, and I Love Lucy Episodes Good clean humor!

    One last thing. Physical touch and the words “I love you” every day has helped me. Just hugging my husband or holding hands with my 7 year old child, and watch TV together, and saying “I love you” in quiet moments has helped a ton.

    I have not been affected so much by heartache or surgery so much as others around me have, so I am praying for them.

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