Everyone can use a little encouragement now and then. Sadly, both inner struggles and external setbacks are an unavoidable part of being human. The good news is we don’t have to leave someone we care about to muddle through alone. We can be the ones to write the words or send the laugh in an encouragement card that helps someone through a rough day—or a whole tough season of life.
If the difficulty of someone’s situation has you feeling stumped about what to say, keep reading. In the rest of this article, you’ll find ideas for adding your own personal message to an encouragement card. We’ve organized these ideas by situation or need, and included writing tips and examples throughout. We hope these help you deliver a little light and support when they’re needed most.
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Find out the simple formula for crafting your own encouragement message and get some real life examples from Hallmark Senior Writer Cat Hollyer.
Scary test, big presentation, upcoming chemo treatment…sometimes your recipient just needs a little enthusiastic cheering on.
- “You got this.”
- “Good luck today! I know you’ll do great.”
- “Sending major good vibes your way.”
- “I know this won’t be easy, but I also know you’ve got what it takes to get through it.”
- “Hope you’re doing awesome!”
- “Time to go kick cancer’s ass!”
- “Keep on keeping on!”
- “Sending you good thoughts—and hoping you believe in yourself just as much as I believe in you.”
Pro tip: For more upbeat ideas, check out this article on writing good luck messages.
Maybe the card itself has already said a lot. Or you don’t want to go on too long and risk writing the wrong thing. Whatever the case, it’s both appropriate and supportive to simply let your recipient know they’re in your thoughts.
- “You’re never far from my thoughts.”
- “Know how often I think of you? Always.”
- “You’re on my mind and in my heart.”
- “Keeping you close in my thoughts.”
- “Lifting you up in prayer and hoping you have a better day today.”
- “I can’t wait to catch up with you soon.”
- “Just wanted you to know you’re on my mind and in my prayers.”
- “I’m thinking of you. And I’m just a text or phone call away.”
- “I hope you don’t feel alone as you go through this time. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you all the way.”
Pro tip: Short thinking-of-you messages are also great for follow-up encouragement, after you’ve already sent one or more cards to your recipient.
Recovery following an injury, surgery, or illness can be slow, painful, and frustrating. Your recipient might feel like life is moving on without them. They may need reminding that you haven’t forgotten them…and that it’s okay to let other things go and focus on getting well.
- “Be good to yourself. And let others be good to you, too.”
- “This is what you’re going through, not who you are.”
- “I hope you are surrounded by people who are good for your spirit.”
- “You are amazing for facing this with so much courage and hope.”
- “The most important thing right now is to focus on getting better… everything else can wait.”
- “Wishing you healing around the next corner.”
- “You’re doing exactly what you should be doing. Hang in there.”
- “You’re being so strong—and patient. Keep the faith. Things are going to start looking up soon.”
- “I know you’re body has definitely felt better, but how are your spirits holding up? I’ll be in touch to see if you want to talk, vent, rant, whatever.”
Pro tip: Needing to encourage someone who is not going to recover? This Get Well article offers caring message ideas for someone with a chronic or terminal illness.
When someone you care about is struggling with addiction, it can be tempting to give advice. But unless you’ve been there yourself, resist the urge. Instead, keep your written messages focused on caring, support, and belief.
- “I hope you feel your inner strength building day by day.”
- “This is tough, but you’re tougher.”
- “I’m proud of you for walking this road, for doing what’s right for you.”
- “You’re making a big change, and that’s a really big deal.”
- “I know what you’re going through is hard, but I’m rooting for you every minute of every day.”
- “Even when you might not feel it, you’ve got the strength to get through.”
- “I can’t imagine how you feel. But I can listen when you need to talk.”
- “Take everything one day at a time. And on the harder days, give me a call.”
- “I love you no matter what.”
- “You’re being incredibly brave. I’m proud of you.”
- “It takes serious courage to get on this path and stay on it. Good on you.”
- “Stay strong and remember how many people care about you. (I’m one of them!)”
Pro tip: Like many other encouragement situations, addiction recovery is a journey. It takes time, and often, setbacks and renewed attempts. So consider sending multiple cards over time—both out of the blue, and for sobriety milestones or other important dates.
Losing a job, or struggling to find one, can be a major blow to a person’s finances, relationships, and sense of self-worth. It’s definitely a time when encouragement is needed.
- “It just doesn’t seem fair that someone as dedicated and hardworking as you should be laid off. But I’m trusting those same qualities to help you bounce back when you’re ready.”
- “I don’t know all you’re feeling as you end this chapter of your career. But I want you to know I’m here for you—to talk, or to help in any way I can.”
- “I was so sorry to hear about your job. You’ll be on my mind as you readjust and figure out next steps…and I know you will.”
- “Thinking of you—and trusting that this is just a stepping stone along the path to something better.”
- “There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll succeed in whatever path you choose next.”
- “Hang in there. I know the right position is out there waiting for you.”
- “With your brains and talent, I just know you’ll make a positive contribution wherever you go.”
Pro tip: Optimism is a key theme in encouraging someone between jobs. After acknowledging the loss or difficulty, pivot your message toward hope for their future.
The end of a relationship can bring relief, but also a huge life adjustment, and often, a significant dip in happiness for a long time to come. Encourage early and often.
- “I’m so sorry you have to experience the pain of divorce, but happy you’re doing what’s right for you.”
- “I know this wasn’t an easy decision to make for your family. Just want you to know I support you.”
- “I loved you and Sara as a couple, and I want you to know I’ll continue to love each of you as friends.”
- “Sometimes it takes a tough ending to make a bright new beginning. Wishing you all the strength you need right now.”
- “Can we finally say you deserve so much better? (You TOTALLY do.)”
- “The next chapter of your life is gonna be so amazing.”
- “I’m so sorry you’re going through this.”
- “Hearts take time to heal. Be gentle with yourself.”
- “This totally sucks, but you totally don’t suck.”
- “You are completely and unconditionally loved.”
Pro tip: To paraphrase Shakespeare, “To trash the ex, or not to? That is the question.” We suggest not. It’s safer and more encouraging to keep your message positive and focused on your recipient. If you refer to the ex at all, keep it indirect: e.g., “You’re better off” instead of “He’s a garbage person.”
Because mental health challenges aren’t always visible to the casual observer, it can be supportive to simply affirm that those struggles are real and that you care.
- “It’s okay not to be okay.”
- “Your pain is valid. I’m here if you need someone to listen.”
- “No wise words or advice here. Just me. Thinking of you. Hoping for you. Wishing you better days ahead.”
- “I don’t know what depression feels like, and wish with all my heart that you didn’t have to know, either.”
- “I’m so sorry you’re experiencing a setback. I don’t know what to say, except that care about you, and I’m here for you.”
- “We’ve got friends for our happiest days and saddest moments. I hope you know I’m your friend now just as much as ever.”
- “If you ever need to talk, or just cry, I’m your gal.”
- “I’m not sure what’s most helpful right now, but I figure a card with a cute kitten on it couldn’t hurt, right? ☺ Thinking of you…”
- “Just wanted to say we miss you at work. Looking forward to a time when you’re feeling much better.”
Pro tip: A note or card is an unobtrusive way to show support even when your recipient isn’t up for visitors. So, when in doubt, grab your pen and reach out. Don’t let the stigma surrounding mental illness silence you.
Just because someone’s challenges are serious doesn’t mean your words always have to be. Sometimes sharing a laugh or smile is the best encouragement.
- “Just wanted to send you a smile today.”
- “I’m here. And I have wine.”
- “If this didn’t make you smile, let me know, and I will send you my senior yearbook picture instead.”
- “You and bacon are in my thoughts a lot these days. Hey, it’s not all about you, you know.”
- “You can get through this. Take it from me. I’m very wise and stuff.”
- “At a time like this, don’t even bother with a dish. Just grab a spoon and start shoveling ice cream straight from the carton.”
- “Sorry things are crappy. If you need somebody to binge-watch a whole season of something with you, I’m there.”
- “This, too, shall pass. And hopefully not like a kidney stone.”
- “I believe in you! And unicorns. But mostly you!”
Pro tip: Do you know your recipient well enough to be fairly sure of what they will find cute or funny? If in doubt, then stick to more serious and heartfelt messages
For someone who’s struggling, it’s usually best when we can anticipate their needs with specific offers to visit, bring meals, do housework, etc. But more general offers are also supportive, as long as we’re prepared to follow through if asked.
- “All this can be a lot to take on. I’m here to help, if you need it.”
- “What’s especially challenging right now? We’d like to find a way to help with that.”
- “I’m never more than a text or call away. Don’t hesitate to reach out. (I plan to check in on you, too.)”
- “I can deliver a mean takeout. Just name the day.”
- “If you need somebody to run errands, do house chores, cook, whatever, I’m a somebody.”
- “If you want company, I’m there.”
- “Don’t worry about getting Brendan to and from school and practices. Emily and I have it covered for as long as you need.”
- “I’ll plan to leave Tuesday night meals in the cooler by your front door by 5:00. If you feel up for a visitor, just text me ahead of time.”
- “I’m here for you no matter what—to talk, to run errands, to clean up, whatever is helpful.”
- “I’m sorry things are so hard right now. I’d like to take care of the yard for you until they get a little easier.”
Pro tip: Sometimes the best way to help and encourage is to share whatever it is you do well, whether that’s listening, cooking, scheduling, driving, or choosing the perfect funny movie to watch.
When kids face challenges or setbacks, they need plenty of love and affirmation from the important adults in their lives to help them through.
- “I know school is really tough right now, but I’m proud of the way you’re hanging in there. Keep it up!”
- “You may have lost the game, but you never gave up. That makes you a winner in my book.”
- “I’m so sorry you were left out of the big party. That would hurt my feelings, too. It probably doesn’t help a lot right now, but I think you’re kind, smart, funny, and wonderful—and I know you’re going to find true friends who see all that, too.”
- “What you’re going through stinks. I’ll be holding my nose along with you until things get better. (And they will!)”
- “Mom and I believe in you! (Fluffy hasn’t said, but we’re pretty sure she does too.)”
- “Just want to remind you that we love you and we’re proud of you no matter what.”
- “It’s okay to feel hurt, angry, scared, or however you’re feeling. It might seem impossible, but you won’t always feel the way you feel right now. And for now, I want to do whatever I can to help.”
Pro tip: Try to really put yourself in the child’s shoes as you write. This will help you to recognize how big the challenge feels to them, and to encourage them in the most helpful way.