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Do you ever have one of those days when things just don’t feel right and you are just literally waiting for the next shoe to drop?  Maybe the cattle got out, you missed the train to the city, or you spilled your coffee all over the front seat of your vehicle?  I’ve been there, heck, we’ve all been there. BUT it’s not a place to stay.

A few days ago I had one of those days, as I sat and reflected on it I remembered something I had heard on a podcast (I feel awful, but I cannot for the life of me remember which one.)  The podcast talked about things you can do when everything is feeling awful and not okay.  The actual podcast talked about questions to ask yourself when everything is awful before you give up.  Now, when they talk about giving up I am not sure how literal they are meaning that, I was in no way thinking about giving up on life, but I am sure if someone were in that dark space that this list would help them, too.

I am going to share the list in full disclosure that I did NOT come up with those questions, but will add my thoughts (in italics) and share the ones that I think really hit home for me. This is the actual PDF with credits on the bottom of the page for where it came from on the web.

Everything is awful and I’m not okay: Questions to ask yourself before giving up:

1. Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water. Dehydration can mimic or increase feelings associated with anxiety and a well hydrated brain functions optimally. Avoid excess caffeine.  Did you know the latest research recommends half of your body weight in water?  I will admit this is the first thing I think of when I get a headache or am just feeling crappy.  Go guzzle a 16 oz. glass of water!!!

2.   Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy or time for a run or a trip to the gym, just walk around the block or building. Even minimal exercise preps the mind for learning so that you can focus better and recall things easier, plus it’s good to get a change of scenery. I have said this forever, just move!  It doesn’t matter if you don’t run, just move your body by going up and down some stairs or stand up and sit down 20 times.

3. Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine! I TRULY believe in this and I love to do it in writing!  How long has it been since you wrote someone a letter or card?

4. Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, jog for the length of a song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around your bedroom for the length of an upbeat song (singing along is a bonus) Hello, playlist that my children cannot be in the room when I have it going!  Whatever your jam is, blare it! Sometimes at work when I am writing a report I will put my ear buds in and rock anything from classic country to Lady Gaga.

5. Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an email, loading the dishwasher, or tidying up your room. Good job!

For real, when nothing feels right, choose something you know for 100% fact that you can be successful at and go for it.  You are going to think this is weird, but mine, folding a basket of towels.  Towels are easy, not a ton fit in a basket, and if I end up putting them way-BONUS!

So, there you have it, my Top 5 Tried and True Techniques for no longer feeling like everything is awful and that I am not okay.

Do you ever feel this way? What works for you?

From the gravel road-



It’s What Inspires You on this Ash Wednesday! There is no guest post tonight, you get to hear from me. 🙂  If you are interested in doing a guest post about what inspires you, don’t hesitate to email me at

At Christmas time this year a very dear friend of mine gave me a “Why” box.  At the time it was filled with candy, ummm… it is no longer filled with candy.  🙂 I took care of that during Christmas break. Now it is filled with notes. The purpose behind the why box is to keep little mementos that will help “document” your why and then you can look back through them when you really need a little kick in the “tail” to keep dreaming big and huge! 😉

I have been filling my “why” box with letters and notes that I am receiving from children and adults about Tawanda’s Tales: Best Friends Forever.  The words that I am receiving about the book are so inspiring to me.

I have also been reading the words that others are writing as reviews on Amazon.  They are great bucket fillers! I know there will be a time that a negative review will roll in, it is just part of the game, I feel that the “why” box will come in handy on that day.

Looking through these notes, letters and reviews inspires me to keep going with my writing. It is inspiring to hear kids ask me when the next book is coming and what Tawanda is going to do next! The other notes that I am receiving that are inspiring me are ones that say, “Jen, thank you so much for sharing your journey, because of you I am going to __________.” Fill in the blank!  I have received notes that talk about running a marathon, starting a business, and self publishing their own book. This inspires me!

My “why” box, the words Monsignor Brunkan spoke and my friend Beth Ann, have just cemented the idea that not only do our spoken words matter, but our written words matter just the same.

What Inspires You?  Are participating in anything like Beth Ann proposed for the lenten season?

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