It is finally November! A new month, a new beginning and most importantly, a sign that the year 2020 is finally coming to an end! (Let us ALL collectively rejoice!)
Besides being such a crucial month this year because of the Presidential election, November is viewed as a month where we all reassess our priorities. This month is intended for us to focus on giving thanks for the things and loved ones that we are blessed to have. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving here is a list of 10 ways that you can practice gratitude this holiday season and in life in general. Because if 2020 has taught us nothing else, it has definitely taught us not to take our lives for granted.
1. Keep A Gratitude Journal
I’m sure that you have heard time and time again of the benefits of writing down the things that you are grateful for but it really is a great mood booster! Regardless of the day you had, ending your day with noting the good in it is a wonderful way to refocus on the positives in life. I recommend noting the small things in each day that you would usually take for granted such as laughing with a friend or coworker or the barista making your coffee just right! There are always joys in each day, even little ones.
2. Plan Out Quality Time With Loved Ones
There is nothing I love more than spending time with my loved ones. They are most likely the people that know you best and can bring out the best in you. There is something about being surrounded by people that genuinely care about you that makes you so grateful for your life and the people in it. Although Covid has changed how we get to interact with our loved ones, we can still find safe ways to spend quality time with them. Whether you plan a small gathering for an in person game night or schedule a happy hour on Zoom, get in touch with the ones you love.
3. Call The Important People In Your Life and Tell Them That You Love Them
This one really hits home for me because it is something that so often gets overlooked in our busy lives but it is so important! As someone who has lost many important people in my life, there is nothing I wouldn’t give to be able to speak to them just one more time. Just to hear their voice or laugh and to especially hear “I love you.” This is a feeling that unfortunately many of us have or will encounter in our lifetime, so make sure you don’t take speaking to those you love for granted. Call your parents, grandparents, cousins, anyone you hold near and dear and enjoy every moment.
4. Take Time To Appreciate Nature
I absolutely love nature walks! They are my ideal activity when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Nature is absolutely beautiful and it is so humbling to know that the same God that made the natural beauty that you are in awe of , also made you! Being in nature allows you to unplug from the things that stress you in life, such as your phone and take in a much simpler sense of self.
5. Watch Videos That Remind You Of The Good In The World
I can not be alone in watching those videos on Facebook that make you cry your eyes out. You know the ones where families are reunited with their loved one who is in the military or the ones where a sweet baby gets to hear her mommy’s voice for the first time after getting hearing aides. I am reduced to a puddle of tears every time but seeing the pure joy of others really makes you feel good about life and puts you in the best mood.
6. Volunteer Or Donate To Organizations That Help Others
Giving of your resources and/or time to help others is so rewarding! That warm fuzzy feeling you get from doing good by others is unmatched. It is so important for us to give back to those less fortunate especially when we are blessed to be able to do so because it helps us to truly see how fortunate we are. Find local organizations that help give back to a cause that you are passionate about and get involved. And if there aren’t any organizations near you that you feel a desire to work with might I suggest making care packages and giving them to the homeless in your community. This is something that is always needed, especially packages with feminine hygiene products for homeless women.
7. Say Kind Things To Others
Doesn’t it just brighten your day when you get a compliment? Like especially when another pretty girl tells you that you look pretty or that your outfit is nice. How about when your manager says you’re doing a great job? Or when your baby tells you that you’re “the bestest mommy ever.” There is so much power in our words. We can build someone up or break someone down with just a few words, so why not use this power for good? Thank your local essential workers for their help. Compliment people. Spread joy! You could change the whole direction of their day.
8. Avoid Gossiping And Speaking Negatively About Others
Girl, I will be the first to admit that I fall victim to this. I’m not proud of it but speaking honestly, I gossip all the time. Social media gives us so much access to glimpses into other people’s lives that it’s easy to form and share our own opinions about them. Putting people down or judging them even when they aren’t there to hear us still speaks to our character. And it is even worse to purposely spread lies about someone. Let’s take a step back and realize that we all have our own shortcomings and that no one is in a position to put themselves above someone else.
9. Live Mindfully: Take Time To Enjoy Life In The Moment
How often do you find that your mind is drifting to focus on things from the past or your ambitions for the future? I know that I completely fall into this category. I am a constant planner. I am always trying to plan for the future or how I’ll execute my next move. It gets to be exhausting and takes away from enjoying my life in the moment. Over this year, especially during lockdown, I realized how detrimental this could be. Instead of constantly planning for the next best thing I took times to enjoy what I had in the moment. The home and family that I had prayed for, the accomplishments I had made, all the good currently in my life. We can lose sight of the good right in front of us when we are always dwelling on the past or trying to plan for the future.
10. Share The Benefits Of Gratitude With Those Around You
Once you see how practicing gratitude has positively affected your life, share he benefits of gratitude practices with others. Spread the love and help others to see the joys in the little things in life. Helping people to insert at least a little more joy in their life is so rewarding and can push them to share that joy too.
As we close this year out let’s reflect on the joys we’ve encountered, no matter how small. Let’s lean into our loved ones and give thanks for all of the beautiful time we’ve spent together, no matter how different this year. And although this year has been devastating in so many ways let us all take note of the beauty that life still has to offer and spread joy to those around us ❤️