The holiday season is filled with joyful activities – baking cookies, watching movies with a cup of hot chocolate in hand, spending time with friends and family, and more. While receiving gifts at the end of December is exciting, it’s important to not forget to practice gratitude with ourselves and what we already have. 2020 has been an undeniably difficult year with the pandemic, which makes practicing gratitude even more important. Because of the hardships brought on this year, developing a pessimistic mindset seems almost inevitable for some people. This makes it especially important to have a mindful lifestyle. We can bring peace of mind upon ourselves by focusing on what we’re thankful for, what we have, and the value that these things or people bring into our lives. Below are some easy ways to practice gratitude, which are especially important in the midst of the holiday season during a pandemic.
1. Community service
Volunteering for your community is a great way to feel gratuitous of what you already have in life – and not to mention the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes along with service work! Volunteering is known to boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, as well. Plus, you can usually find volunteering opportunities correlating to what you’re passionate about, whether that be animal shelters, children, the environment, and more. Next time you feel like you need a mental boost and have a free day, deciding to volunteer might be just what you needed to feel that extra gratitude for what you have – especially during the holiday season.
2. Go on mindfulness breaks
Maybe you’ve had a busy, stressful day, or are putting in a few more hours at work to have extra cash for Christmas gifts. Either way, going on mindfulness breaks can be extremely helpful when you need to remember some things to be grateful for. What is a “mindfulness break” exactly? It can mean something different to everyone – whether that be going outside for a run or walk, creating art, doing yoga, or simply just closing your eyes and practicing deep breathing. Whatever it may be, doing something that brings you joy and relaxes you is a good way to practice gratitude for the littler things in life.
3. Keep a journal
Journaling is an effective way of keeping a positive headspace and starting or ending off your day on the right foot. Keeping a gratitude journal is simple and easy – just write three or more things you’re grateful of each day. We often overlook what we already have and only focus on what we want – and keeping a journal provides a reference point to look back and reflect on what we have and the people we love.
Meditation is a powerful tool to bring awareness to yourself and focus on the present. Meditation also has several health benefits including but not limited to reducing stress, promoting positive emotional health, enhancing self awareness, and more. Meditation can be an extremely effective tool to train your brain to recognize your gratuity towards others more often – which is especially important if you’re opening gifts on the 25th.
5. Express your appreciation
Although it may seem a given, expressing your appreciation for others is crucial. It’s easy to forget to show your appreciation when trying to work and/or finish up finals for the semester. This might mean something different to everyone whether it be giving gifts, making something for someone, offering to help with a project, and more. The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, so next time you’re with someone you love, don’t be afraid to tell them you appreciate them.