As I think about Thanksgiving this year I have a lot to be grateful for. Sometimes I forget how fortunate I am when I am working long hours, struggling to meet all the demands of my practice, running my home and taking care of myself. After all, self-care takes dedication, focus and commitment! Despite 2014 being a turbulent year filled with death, grief, family turmoil and health issues, I am so grateful for the knowledge and skills I have in turning challenging situations into learning opportunities and positive growth. Because of these skills, my life is easier and more joyous!
Being able to move through challenging times and process them effectively takes skills and practice. I’ve plenty of both! Each time I was faced with adversity in my life I would work to resolve it in the best way possible. Therapy, coaching, classes, and practice are what have gotten me to where I am today in my personal growth. If I hadn’t done my own work around the many things that had devastated me throughout the past years of my life, I definitely would have been a mess this year. This work has been arduous, painful, and not always pleasant. And to be completely honest it took sheer determination, courage, commitment and dedication to get through it.
Because of all the personal growth work I have done, this past year was different. I am grateful to have rolled with the challenges, faced my feelings, and worked through the ups and downs almost seamlessly. Choosing to go to Brazil for a healing journey was the best decision I could have made to focus on myself, release what needed to be shed, and reset my mindset and emotions. It isn’t often that we can have dedicated time to reconnect with ourselves and focus on what is truly important and it is essential.
As women, it is so easy to get caught up in taking care of everyone and everything else. For those of us in the helping professions this can be even more prominent in our lives. Yet, the challenge of balancing our lives requires us to be devoted to nurturing ourselves. And when we can do this we are stronger, healthier, happier, and life is so much easier. Our happiness with our own self flows through to the work we do with others. Being burned out serves no one; not ourselves or those around us and certainly not our health or well-being.
So as Thanksgiving is the holiday to give thanks, I invite you to focus on what is working in your life. Be grateful for all you have, all you do, and those you serve. Get clear about how you want to show up in life and see how you might already be doing the many things that will lead you to where you want to be. Be grateful for your beautiful body that carries you through life, for your mind that has the capacity and power to think in whatever way you choose, for your emotions that will let you know what is really going on for you, for your intellectual abilities that will allow you to create what you want in life, for the environment in which you thrive, for your financial savviness, for your family and friends who are there to love and support you, and lastly, for your spiritual connection to something that is greater than you – it will encourage and support you in times of need and celebration!
Tips for Appreciating your Life this Thanksgiving
1. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for and hang it up somewhere you will see it often.
2. Reach out to your friends and family and let them know the little ways in which you appreciate them.
3. Cherish your traditions this year. Take note of why you do them and why they’re so special.
4. No need to wait for the New Year to start making life changes where they need to happen. Start making small little changes to improve your self-care.
5. Even if the holidays are a challenging time for you, make plans to do some fun activities that will put a more positive spin on this time of year.
6. Use the word no. If there’s a party or activity that just doesn’t serve your personal growth, don’t be afraid to say no.
7. Use the word yes. Try new things this holiday season and seize opportunities when they come your way!
8. Move your body – any movement is better than none and will help you to feel better about yourself.
9. As always, breathe deeply. Focus completely on your breath. When you breathe in say, “I am calm and relaxed.” When you breathe out say, “I release all that no longer serves me.” Breathe in again, long and deep, “I let in love and light that fills my body, calming my mind.” Breathing out long and slow, “I am completely and totally at peace in my mind, body and spirit.” Repeat.
10. Give thanks that you have read these tips. At least one of them can be helpful in allowing you to appreciate yourself more and more each day. We truly forget how great we are individually and how powerful we can be collectively.