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10 things to do when your life is Falling Over Sideways

Ever felt like everything in life that could go wrong, did go wrong? You’re not the only one, girl. In fact, Claire from Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick knows all too well that life is no breeze. When she enters eighth grade, she thinks it’s finally her chance to get things right. But what should be Claire's best year yet comes to a standstill when her dad suddenly falls ill. Then, among other sour school sitches, she gets stuck in a beginner dance class while the rest of her friends move up to an advanced level (and who wants to plié without a pal?!). 

All around, her life is pretty ugh...and she's left sad, stuck and struggling to move on—feelings that we've all experienced. The good thing is that there are innumerable opportunities in life to start anew. The next time it feels like everything’s going wrong for you, like Claire, use a few of these tips to steady yourself and move forward with your head held high...

1. Take five for gratitude
When Claire only focused on the negative things happening around her, it made her feel so much worse than she needed to. It's easy to let the darkness overshadow the light, but it's important to notice all of the positive things that are happening in your life. A grateful heart is a happy heart—and there's nothing too small to be grateful for. Spend five minutes of your day writing down what you're grateful for, or make a mental list while you wait for the bus. You might be surprised by how much better you feel after. 

2. Write it out
Writing is seriously therapeutic. It allows you to organize your thoughts and feelings all in one place, making it easy to reflect on anything and everything. The great thing about journaling is that it's completely yours. You can write whatever your heart desires and you never have to share it. Do yourself a favor and buy a notebook—a super cute one, of course, so that when you see it chilling on your bedside table you'll *want* to write in it. Then, go to town. Jot down your gratitude list, draw pictures or write poems, start in the back and work your way toward the front—it's up to you. The point is: This doesn’t have to be your typical “Dear Diary” entry—it can be whatever you want. 

3. Feng shui it 
Ditch the old and welcome in the new by rearranging or redecorating your room. Ask your mom or dad for help in getting this done. Repaint the walls a calming color, buy a fluffy, new rug or just spend some time cleaning it up. This might seem frivolous with whatever larger issues you have going on in your life, but having a happy, clean space around you will make your mind happier and cleaner too. So throw on some of your favorite jams and dance your way through the dust bunnies.  

4. Treat yo'self 
Don’t be afraid to treat yourself during a time of sadness and frustration. It can be easy to forget that your well-being matters and life can become a blur of nothingness (just like it did for Matthew, Claire's brother). So whether it’s pampering yourself with a face mask or cozying up with a good book, do something that makes you happy.

5. Try something new 
If you haven’t noticed by now, change is kind of a theme when it comes to spicing up your life. The easiest way to change is to simply try something completely new. Sign up for a community yoga class, join a book club or volunteer at a soup kitchen. No matter what, get out there and give yourself a whole new purpose with this new activity. You never know—you could end up with a brand new passion. 

6. Fun up your life
Keeping yourself busy is another great way to stay calm when everything’s going wrong. You can banish any bad-day blues by making plans with your friends and fam far in advance so that you have something to look forward to. Put together a family picnic or arrange an extravagant squad movie night in your basement (with candy and popcorn, obvs) and just have fun.

7. Talk to someone 
You might, like Claire, feel that it's easier to bottle up your feelings and not let anyone know what’s really going on with you. But when no one knows just how much you're struggling, you'll end up feeling even worse. Whether it's your mom, your guidance counselor, your friend or a teacher, don’t be afraid to show others your soul—just make sure it is someone you trust and someone who gives good advice. 

8. Find the funny 
Bad things happen; it’s a part of life. But every day can feel grueling if you don’t find the funny—and, trust, there is humor to be found in every situation. Sometimes you will really have to dig for it, but that's part of the experience. Start small by finding just one thing that’s funny in your day and work up to as many as you can. The more you can laugh at yourself and your shortcomings, the better you will become at handling them. And we all know it never hurts to LOL a little more.

9. Focus on fam
Your family are your biggest cheerleaders. They always have your back and even though they make mistakes, so do you, so it’s important to forgive them. If you, like Claire, butt heads with your family, challenge yourself to put your differences aside and spend some time with the people who love you most. You can trust them with your deepest fears but you can also count on them for a good time when you need it. Overall, don’t rule them out next time you’re looking for someone to hang with. 

10. Keep going 
No matter what you have going on, it can be difficult to adjust to what life throws at you. But no matter what, don't let a hard-knock defeat you. Do what you have to to defy the odds, even if it takes tears and time. You’ll thank yourself later.

Falling Over Sideways is now available from Scholastic at bookstores everywhere! Before you buy, get a first look at the book with this amazing excerpt right HERE.

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by Sarah Fritz | 9/27/2016
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