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How to Feel Thankful When Life Feels Awful

Ah, Thanksgiving. A blessed holiday full of the 3 most important F’s: family, friends, and food. This time of year usually gets everyone feeling thankful and excited for the upcoming festivities. Although, there are some who just don’t feel moved to be in a very thankful spirit. Those affected by the stresses of life and mental health get in the way and cause us to lose track of the positive in life. Here’s how I combat that.

If you’re in college, you probably know what stressor I’m about to talk about… finals. If you’re anything like me, a busy schedule full of classes, clubs, and work are already overwhelming, but when you add finals week into the mix it gets even crazier. The holiday season brings so much joy, but the impending finals and end of semester projects feel like one giant dark cloud ruining holiday festivities. Don’t stress! I know that’s easier said than done, but just take it one day at a time! Schedule your study time wisely so you can have time to enjoy the holidays while being well prepared for the finals waiting for you when you get back from break.

While college or work is the main stressor for most, mental health issues can be the main source causing strife during an otherwise joyful time. Those with anxiety, depression, or other related illnesses suffer internally. The holiday season is no exception to these struggles. I know firsthand that my mental health has taken a toll on me lately. College, work, clubs, and finals mixed with my daily struggles with anxiety have turned me into a big ball of stress. If you are going through this same struggle, just breathe, find some time to yourself to relax and unwind and confide in someone you trust about your struggles. You can’t go through life alone and you certainly shouldn’t go through this struggle alone either. Talk about what’s going on with a friend, family member, or professional to find help during this tough time of the semester.

Above all, focus on the positive! This goes for everyone – try to think about everything in a positive way. Waiting in a long line while Black Friday shopping? Instead of complaining, be thankful that you have the money and the opportunity to be shopping! Stressed about finals? Take this opportunity to be thankful that you have the opportunity to further your education! Feeling overwhelmed at work? Take a moment to be grateful that you have your job, as many others aren’t as fortunate enough to be employed.

This holiday season, focus on being thankful for the little things. And while you’re at it, recognize how proud you are of yourself for getting to the point that you’re at in life. A lot of experiences and hard work have gotten you to where you are now – be thankful and proud of every little moment!

Mary Grigsby

South Carolina '21

Hello! My name is Mary and I'm a senior at the University of South Carolina, majoring in Mass Communications and minoring in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. In my free time, you can find me binging Friends, walking my rescued pitbull mix, Stella, or volunteering at local animal shelters. I've been in Her Campus since my freshman year and now I'm so proud to be UofSC's HC President and one of our CC's!
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