Quick Tips for a Grateful Thanksgiving

Days like today bring out my reflective side and I find my thoughts drift over the last year and the uncertainty that has threatened the normalcy of our days. And yes, I am referring to the coronavirus, closures, lockdowns, restrictions, guidelines that we have all faced as we’ve wrestled with the fear of our loved ones getting sick.

Enter Thanksgiving — a season of family, of celebration, of opening our doors to friends and family, college kids returning home from school, laughter and warmth. This year though is different — it feels different. This year many of us are filled with fear and uncertainty. We have heavy decisions to make — to have our families join together and risk someone we love getting sick or not have the family together. A decision that doesn’t feel very Thanksgiving at all.

There is no one single “right” answer, for each of us will have a perspective and a thought process that makes our decision our right choice. And regardless of what that decision is, the season has a weight to it that doesn’t normally show itself. But there are steps we can take to re-claim this holiday and they are as simple as counting to five.

1) Share in the gifts you have: the most powerful way to tap into your good feelings is to reach out to someone who is alone: Buy goodies for a lonely neighbors with a note wishing them a sweet day; rake an aging neighbor’s lawn; have your children do crafts and leave them on the doors of people you know are alone right now.

2) Connection: Pick up the phone and call someone you have known for ages and love deeply. Hear their voice, recall fond memories and celebrate 15-minutes to share in their day.

3) Slow it all down: Take 5-minutes today for yourself and reflect. Smile as you think of your blessings — even if that smile feels fake. Practice mindful meditation or deep breathing exercises — even for a few minutes. This stopping and allowing yourself to just Be will reduce stress and restore a sense of calm and abundance.

4) Re-discover your enjoyment: Never make time to do the simple things that you’d love to do? Well, now is the best time to try. Take that walk or mid-afternoon nap, soak your feet, take that bubble bath… it doesn’t matter what it is. Taking that time for you will replenish your soul and allow you to give more freely to those in your world.

5) Pen and Paper: When stress levels are high, it’s difficult to calm down and see the blessings that are (often) right in front of us but putting pen to paper helps. Write down all the things you are grateful for, that bring you happiness — large and small. This practice is one that will immediately begin creating positive results. Be open to feeling the stress wash away from your shoulders and your breathe go deep. Bye bye stress…. hello happiness.

There’s no question that these days are stressful but think of life as an opportunity for each of us to begin exploring and practicing the tools that we need to restore balance and keep moving forward. Besides, Christmas is right around the corner. 😊

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Sheila Weir

Sheila is a certified professional coach and owner of The Elephant Motif.