While the holidays can be a joyful and blessed time, they also can be especially challenging when you’re struggling with emotional eating triggers, finances, strained family relationships, and the stress of this lingering pandemic. Perhaps you feel a disconnect with this push to feel grateful if you’re feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or scared.
If so, that’s okay. Don’t deny your feelings. Acknowledge all of them. But know when to let it go so they don’t spiral out of control. Because it’s so important to remember that even with all the triggers and extra stress of the holiday season, there are so many blessings in each of our lives. And it is a beautiful and rewarding practice to take time to be thankful for these, big and small.
While you’re acknowledging all the gifts in your life, I want to encourage you to recognize the most important blessing of all:
You are a precious, beautiful person. You bring to this world special gifts and talents that no one else has. The world needs you and your gifts. The world needs your light.
You may tend to forget how special you are and how important it is to tend to your own needs, especially now with the extra demands of the holidays. Sometimes it’s easy for all of us to neglect ourselves while we make time for everyone and everything else.
There is nothing better than writing about gratitude when your glass seems half-empty or you’re sure you’re the only one struggling to maintain your holiday cheer. Gratitude gives your body a break from the stress response. The feeling you get from being grateful is not only good for your soul, it’s good for your body and helps calm emotional eating triggers.
Here are a few ideas for expressing your gratitude about the precious and beautiful person that you are. Spend a few minutes this week writing in your journal on the four areas below. Sip a cup of soothing tea. Light a candle. Take a deep breath. Relax…
1. Gratitude for your body.
Just think about the miracle of breathing. Of your heart beating. How your organs work so well together. Your body is an amazing and loving partner on your journey through life, giving you signals and signs about what it—and you—need. Think about how good your body feels after you give it movement and how happy it is when you give it enough sleep, a soothing bath, nourishing food.
Close your eyes. Go within and ask your body, “What do you need from me today so you will feel loved and well cared for?” Listen. Write down what you hear and make a point to give back to your body and honor what it needs from you today.
Then, take a moment and reflect on what you are most grateful for about your body. Write it down. Say, “Thank you.”
2. Gratitude for choosing to care for your body and soul.
Because you’re reading this, I know you understand that learning to love your body and choosing to create a healthier lifestyle is also caring for your soul. Appreciate that you are doing the best you can, that you keep going even when you feel discouraged, that you are learning to be gentle and forgiving with yourself.
What practices have you adopted to care for your body and soul that you now honor faithfully? Do you give yourself time to do things you love? To create space for self-reflection? To take walks? To eat nutritious foods? Maybe this year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, you had a taste of what it means to love yourself and listen to the guidance of your soul.
Whatever steps you took and shifts you made, write them down, as they are definitely something to feel proud of and grateful for.
3. Gratitude for the extra weight you carry.
Yes, I know… this may sound unusual, but you cannot release something that you hate. The energy of hate actually keeps you attached to your weight. Look at the extra weight you carry that you would like to release and let it go with love.
Your weight is actually one of your most important teachers. What does it want to help you with? Maybe carrying this weight began because it was the only way you knew how to protect yourself from the world when you were younger. But trust that you don’t need to be protected that way anymore. Maybe it is helping you learn to love yourself no matter what and to be more compassionate with yourself. Your extra weight is what led you to pay attention to what matters most—to lovingly care for yourself and your body—and for that you can be very grateful.
Turn your attention to to the extra weight that you carry. Close your eyes. Breathe. Then, say to it, “Thank you for helping me love myself more and to trust that I am safe. I love you.” Write these words down as well.
4. Gratitude for your Higher Power.
Think (or write) about the guidance and support you receive from your Higher Power, or the God of your understanding. Reflect on the times you’ve experienced the love of the Divine when you’ve lost your way. When you’ve been transported from feeling like you’re wandering alone in the dark to walking confidently in the light. When you’ve heard the whispers of Divine encouragement guiding you. For knowing that your prayers and your cries for help are always received. Offer thanks right now for the love and guidance of the Divine that is with you—and within you—always.
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday season. Thank you for allowing me into your life and to accompany you on this journey. I am so grateful for you.
What do you appreciate about the beautiful person that you are?