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How I Try to Stay Grateful (Even When Things Kind of Suck) 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Simmons chapter.

Me and my dog last year on Thanksgiving, trying to stay grateful even in 20 degree weather. 

Thanksgiving. For some, the best day of the year. For others, a nightmare. For many of us in college, Thanksgiving falls in a difficult time of year, where the semester is starting to wrap up and we feel overwhelmed with assignments, projects, papers, and studying. Maybe for others they’re starting to really feel the winter setting in, having a negative impact on their mental health. No matter what the circumstances are, the holidays can pose challenges, and Thanksgiving isn’t always easy, especially when, like me, you’ve had a tough year. The holiday’s complicated (and violently colonialist) history aside, we may not be having the time of our lives when we gather around the dinner table. Here are some things I’m thinking about this year, to help me stay grateful even when things kind of suck: 

  1. Looking for the small victories. On a day where everything seems to be going wrong, I make a conscious effort to sit down and think about things that went right, or worked out in my favor. Maybe it’s something simple, like the dining hall serving dumplings for dinner. But it’s still something that felt like it went my way.

  2. Finding joy in every day. Sometimes, no matter how hard I look, I can’t find it. These are the days where I have to make it for myself. Some small things that bring me joy are buying a new shampoo, watching the episodes of my favorite web series, and FaceTiming friends from home to catch up (they probably want to catch up with you, too). 

  3. Journaling about things I’m looking forward to. Countdown apps help me with this, too. Actual quote from my journal: “eight things I’m looking forward to. Not bad for a depressed gal like me.” They can be big things, like concerts, but they can be little things, too, like going to get pho with a friend on Wednesday night. I’m all for looking to the future when the present isn’t feeling great.

  4. Allowing myself to feel the things that I’m feeling. Knowing that it’s okay to finish a day a few hours early and giving myself time to just breathe and exist helps me move past bad days and have better days in the future. It’s okay to be tired. Rest.

At their core, most of these practices come down to appreciating the small things. Thinking about the small things I’m grateful for really helps me realize that even though things may suck right now, and that school is hard, there is so much going for me. I get so busy and wrapped up in the day to day that I forget to make time for reflection. This Thanksgiving, I’m hoping to open myself up to more reflection, and more joy. 

Lilli Thorne

Simmons '20

Lilli is a history and political science student in the Simmons University class of 2020. When she's not working on her research, she loves to relax with a good book or podcast, scroll on Pinterest, and catch up on the newest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Julia Hansen is a senior at Simmons studying PR/Marketing Communications and English with minors in cinema, media arts, and graphic design. When not writing for Her Campus, she can be found reading every book she can find, retweeting photos of dogs and binge-watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Find her on IG @juliarosehansen