There are always times in our lives when it is harder than usual to stay happy and content. We experience loss, we get stressed out, and life just throws us a curveball. When you find yourself facing these challenges, it’s important to take the time to find little ways to increase happiness. It will give you the energy and will to persevere until things get better – and they always do.

With that in mind, I would like to share 5 simple ways to increase contentment with you. Try them now, get in the habit of doing them, and they will serve you well during the tough times. At the very least, I hope you remember this article and come back to it when you need these simple tips the most.

Lean On Your Support Network

When life gets hard, we often feel alone. It doesn’t seem possible that anyone else is facing what we’re facing. While this may be true when you focus on every little detail, it isn’t true when it comes to the big picture. We all face challenges, and we all go through periods in our lives that are hard. You are not alone in this.

To stop feeling like you have to carry all this weight and do it all on your own, lean on your support network. Call a friend just to talk about what’s going on. Ask someone close to you to watch the kids for an hour or take one little chore off your plate to give yourself some breathing space. Find a support group locally or online to exchange ideas and “war stories”. Find and build your support network and then don’t be afraid to lean on them. It will make all the difference.

Practice Self-Care

It’s easy to push too hard when we feel backed into a corner or trying to get through a rough time. Often the first thing we stop is self-care. We don’t think we can afford the time, energy, or money to rest, relax, and do something nice for ourselves. What we forget is that these simple little things are what gives us the drive to keep going. They rejuvenate us and put us into a better frame of mind.

Make yourself stop and do something every single day to take care of yourself. Think of it as required maintenance to keep you from breaking down further on. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to cost a lot (or any money). Go take a warm bath, or sit quietly for half an hour enjoying a cup of tea while thumbing through a magazine or reading a few pages of a trashy novel. Find what makes you feel better and put it on the calendar regularly.

Do Something To Destress

Self-care helps us de-stress and that’s important. The hard times in life are also the most stressful ones. One of the big problems with stress (aside from causing all sorts of health issues) is that it tends to blow things out of proportion. Each problem and obstacle seems bigger when we’re stressed out. Think of some simple things you can do to de-stress. Go for a walk, have a good cry, take a hot shower, do some yoga…. Do something to help you reduce the stress you’re feeling. You’ll come back more relaxed and with a clearer head, much better equipped to deal with your problems.

Take A Nap

Not getting enough sleep is another issue many of us face during the hard times. Our minds keep going, making it harder and harder to fall and stay asleep. Yet getting adequate rest is crucial to keep up our focus and energy to keep going.

It may seem counterintuitive, but when you’re working as hard as you can to dig yourself out of a hole, often the best, and most productive thing you can do is take a nap. You’ll come back refreshed and able to work harder and more effectively.

Go Outside & Exercise

Last but not least, make yourself get out and exercise. This could be as simple as going out for a twenty-minute walk on your lunch break, or doing some yoga or stretches in the backyard while the kids play. The fresh air, sunshine, and moving around will help you de-stress and relax. It will also make you sleep better. Try it and see if you don’t start to feel better immediately.