I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and were able to spend meaningful time with people you love. I also hope you can take that feeling of thankfulness with you as you move headlong into the frenzy of the holiday season. Here are some ideas on how to build on the peacefulness and simplicity that Thanksgiving represents – how to slow down and live deliberately. My wish for you is that you can rejoice in the gifts you have and make the most of each day.
Make time for people. Recognize the power you have to affect the mood of the people who cross your path, and subsequently, the people who cross the path of each of those people. For example, while it may be tempting to roll your eyes and tap your foot impatiently as the person in front of you in the checkout line chats and laughs with the cashier, consider following their example to make time for people you might typically marginalize. A smile and kind word can go a long way to not only improve their day, but to make you feel good as well.
Notice nature. Many of us rush through our day hurrying here and there without even noticing our surroundings. Rather than pounding your steering wheel in frustration when traffic is crawling, use the slowdown as an opportunity to connect with nature: notice whatever trees, birds, or other plants or animals are nearby; enjoy the sunshine, moonlight, clouds or breeze that accompany you. Studies have shown there’s a positive relationship between exposure to nature and mental health, so take advantage of chances to experience it.
Make time for what you value. Rather than bouncing from task to task, be deliberate about how you spend your time so it aligns with what’s important to you. If you value time with family, find a way to spend more time each day with them. If you value a hobby or activity, figure out how you can clear some time to devote to it. Maybe you can delegate some tasks (e.g., cleaning house, doing yard work) that don’t feed your soul and that take away time from what you enjoy. Maybe you can find more efficient ways to do less-fulfilling tasks so you have more time for what you love.
Give the gift of yourself. Share your time, talent and/or treasure with a cause you believe in. Whether you directly provide the services of the organization whose mission you support, serve that organization in a supporting role, or support that organization financially, assisting others can help take your focus off your own worries and allow you to reflect on the blessings in your life.
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,