In the hubbub of the holidays – which starts all too early, ahem, turkeys in August (we’re looking at you, WalMart) – it’s good to take a breather once in a while. We’re in a rushed society and our heads are spinning. Imagine if we could just pause time and clear our heads? Yes, the kids need to finish their Christmas lists, the turkey needs to thaw, and the spare room needs to be cleaned out. But no one will mind if you (maybe secretly) take a moment of calm to clear your head.
Thanksgiving is about being grateful. For some, this is hard. If the holidays trigger an event or a loved one is missed, being grateful can be difficult. Not everyone is in a happy home filled with loving and supportive family members. Not everyone has a table full of turkey and all the fixings. Some don’t even have a table.
Let’s start by being grateful for what we do have. Let’s be grateful for our life. It’s ours and it’s open to possibilities. We’re in charge of our actions. We get to choose – life is a choice – what we want to reach for, who we want to associate with, and what we want to accomplish. What’s one tangible way your life could get better right now? Speaking with a loved one? Venting to a stranger? Eating the last cookie? Working out your frustration at the gym? Think, and name it, right now.
Your ability to answer that may be something to be grateful for as many struggle to figure out what they want. If you can name it, what holds you back? Is there another way? Walk yourself around these questions and find a path. There is always a way past your obstacles and the answers are inside of you. You are more resourceful than you know. That’s another thing to be grateful for.
Do you have an advocate, a friend in whom to confide, a counselor or a coach? If you do, be grateful! If not, reach out! (And if you need to, you can reach out to us at FRC!) Having a confidant is important in this life. We all need to decompress, unload, and bounce ideas off someone.
Another way to destress is to simply not let life’s challenges get the better of you. Easier said than done, especially this time of year. Mindfulness can help. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (mindful.org)
Get yourself somewhere quiet and alone. Need to lock the bathroom door – the kids are safe, right? – go for it! Do what you need to do at a time that’s right for you (and those in your care.) Whether you’re sitting calmly on the floor, laying on the bed, or biting into a York Peppermint Patty, be present in that exact moment. Breathe. Be calm and feel your breath. Be in that moment for a little while.
Now, let all the garbage of your day, your week, fine – your life, wash away. It’s just you here, just this space. Use noise-canceling headphones if needed. Just find a way. You can talk yourself through your troubles to get the thoughts out, or you can pile them up on an imaginary table and sweep them away with your arm. The table is empty now. The troubles and stress are gone. It’s just you, just here, just this moment. Breathe.
Sorry, but reality has to come back eventually. When you really do this exercise, it’s more gradual. For now, the kids are screaming, you’re dinner just beeped, and someone’s calling your phone. Sigh, yup. Life.
It’s okay, meditation and mindfulness are there when you need them. Just take a breath and dive back into the crazy. Think about why it’s crazy. Is it a good crazy? Are you grateful for your kids? Are you grateful you have food to cook? Maybe you can be grateful someone cares enough to call.
Your perspective is a choice and that’s the reality of it. Where you are now doesn’t need to be where you stay, unless you want it that way. The reality is that you’re in charge of you and you’re important. You. Are. Important. Seriously, you matter. That’s something to be grateful for.
Let’s be grateful for all we have, our power to choose how to live, and the ability to learn what’s best. Let’s be mindful of our state and when we need to take a break. And let’s have that pumpkin pie before the cousins eat it all.
Happy Thanksgiving from FRC!