With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s a great time to pause beforehand and think about what the day really symbolizes for us. After all of the relatives have left and the last load of dishes has finally been put away, how will we be left feeling? What will all of the hugging, eating, laughing, and giving thanks have added up to, for us to carry with us everyday? What will be the leftovers of our leftovers, so to speak?
For me, giving thanks is at times something I need to make a conscious effort to do. Sometimes it’s easier said than done–especially in moments when I’m feeling overwhelmed by life. And ironically, the holiday season (i.e., the very time of year that’s supposed to make us so happy and grateful, and generous) is also often one of the most overwhelming times for many of us.
Ideally, we would all be genuinely thankful every day for many, many things. I want to feel thankful for the people that make up my life, for the experiences that I’ve had, for all the wonderful people who are and have been by my side on my journey, for my family, for my friends, for the ability to heal others, and of course, for the opportunity to contribute in some small way.
But sometimes when we’re running around taking care of everyone else, trying to meeting our deadlines, getting flu shots, paying our bills, and juggling holiday gift lists and travel, it’s nearly impossible to see the big picture that illustrates how rich our lives are. Sometimes it feels more like obligations than blessings. It’s only by taking a step back, taking a deep breathe, and looking around at everything I have that I can shift my thinking and find true gratitude even in the most challenging moments.
So as we ease from Thanksgiving and take the next step deep into the holiday season, try to take a step back and recognize the abundance of blessings in your life and, above all, keep give thanks even after Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror.
Instead of focusing on the stress of things you need to do, think of things you get to do, because you have so many people who need and care about you. Breathe in gratitude and enjoy the beautiful moments this time of the year brings to us. And above all, do whatever you have to do to find time to take care and nurture yourself with exercise like yoga that helps to alleviate stress and provide the balance that is necessary to allow for joy!
Meanwhile, shift your thinking about the meals of the season, too. Be conscious of the food you’re eating. Allow yourself the many indulgences of the season, but also be mindful of what you’re putting in your body. When you see the food in front of you, see it for what it is: a celebration of blessings. Take smaller portions, chew slower, taste more, and enjoy the company of those around you. Let the food choices you make center you, move your body in a way that releases stress, energizes, and inspires you, and allows you to and appreciate the many blessings and love that surrounds you.
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