Make Thanksgiving Uplifting for Your Family
Thanksgiving 2020 is around the corner. It is easy to feel COVID fatigued these days. This holiday is about giving thanks to the One who blesses me so immensely. This year is different. Very different. (not in thanking God) It has never been SO clear that THIS YEAR I am more blessed than ever. That is why I choose to focus my attention on what we have not on what we do not.
My family and I have our health! We live in a nation that, even with all our dysfunctionality (Like most of our families), we are truly blessed to have the freedom to vote for our leaders. I am blessed to have food to eat, a job(!), a roof over my head, family to love me, and, most importantly, my God to pray for comfort in a time such as this. That doesn't mean that while I am thankful, I am not also sad!
I have my husband and one of my sons at home (I don't know what I would have done without them!), but my oldest son will not be home. I miss him! Though I dare not complain. At least I have him, and he's healthy. We won't make our pilgrimage (no pun intended) to be with my family in Pittsburgh, nor celebrate with the in-laws that I love. I miss my parents. I miss my brother and his family, but I have all these people that I love still on this Earth while being sad. I am grateful!
Thanksgiving in Sadness
My heart breaks for all the people that grieve their loved ones this holiday. Many first responders can't be with their families because they are busy saving lives. Our friends and family who personally deal with racial injustice, not just the last few months, but always! Every small business owner or worker who has lost employment. The homeless and needy that don't have a roof over their heads, pandemic or not. All the families affected by natural disasters recently. It is sad. None of this should be ignored. To take for granted all the blessings we have would only add to the tragedy.
We CAN be grateful and sad at the same time. That is what is meant by bittersweet. This year it will just be the three of us. It's the first holiday ever without my older son, but being healthy is what matters most now. We are small in number, but we are with all of our loved ones in Spirit. This pandemic has altered all of our worlds in some form or another. I feel hopeful that even though there are tough days still ahead, there is a light finally at the end of the tunnel. Next year Lord willing, we will get vaccinated, and things will slowly go back to normal. We will make up for all the milestones missed and be together again. (Then we shall celebrate like it's 1999!) Just a little while longer.
Make Thanksgiving Uplifting for Your Family
So, THIS Thanksgiving, try to acknowledge the sadness. Look for even the littlest things to be grateful for. Thank God for them. The first step out of sadness is to help others. Let your loved ones know how much they mean to you! Joy is contagious. I want my family to feel uplifted this Thanksgiving and remind them that “This too will pass.” We will get through this. God will bring us through. Reach out to Him. Even if you never have, it’s been a while, or you are not as close as you used to be. You are not alone.
My Steelers are playing, I am happy about the prospect of pumpkin pie cozied up watching the game!
Daily Steps to Being Thankful (even if you don’t feel like it)
I am not sure why some of us are optimistic, and some of us are pessimists. Are we born this way, or is it our life circumstances? Probably a little of both. I do believe some people are Tigger’s, and others are Eeyore’s.
Tigger’s bounce through life, not focusing on the sad stuff. They are very busy accomplishing a million things with a half-full glass attitude. Eeyore’s are more cautious, move a little more slowly, trying to avoid the bad stuff as much as possible. I know that I am by nature and Eeyore. Striving to be a Tigger. (Many say an “Old Soul.” I'm ok with that.) I am married to a Tigger! He bounces all over enough for the both of us. I like a slow, steady pace. I like the plan and organization.
I started to notice that I don’t want to focus on the bad stuff a long time ago. Caution is a good thing. I don't, want to be pessimistic about everything. I want to encourage not discourage my loved ones and strangers alike. I know many of you are thinking, “It's hard to be positive in a world like this.” Here are a few ways that I have found to increase my joy even when my natural tendency is not to do so.
If you are craving a reboot in your life, start with daily thanksgiving! The following are easy ways to get started.
1.) Create a Gratitude Journal
Every day, write three new things you are grateful for.
2.) Focus on the POSITIVE.
Why? Gratitude changes our attitude. If we are filled with negativity, jealousy, and a bad mood, it will hold us back from reaching our goals. A bad attitude can lead to depression. When we are feeling bad, we are doubtful to be motivated to change anything in our lives. By asking ourselves every day, what we are grateful for, we can't help but be transformed in our minds and our hearts.
3.) Get A Happy Light!!
They are sunlight therapy lamps, but they can increase your happiness. Years ago, a doctor suggested this for me, especially in the fall and winter months. Because there is less sunshine, you may find you are a little more down this time of year. You probably have less energy. Many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Sitting by this lamp for about a 1/2 hour a day can make a huge difference in how you feel. I like to use mine while reading my Bible in the morning. It has made a big difference for me.
4.) Let the Sunshine in
Be sure to open all your blinds and curtains in the morning. By having natural light, it helps your natural melatonin. Your body begins to follow the natural flow of morning, noon, and evening. This all can lead to a better night's sleep. Shedding light on the darkness always is going to make us feel a little better about things. (Even the bad stuff)
5.) Give up the news!!!
So many people are paralyzed in fear because they get addicted to the news. I don't care which camp it is. What your political views are. The program will spend an hour scaring the heck out of you, and throwing a 30 sec feel useful in the end. We have quit seeing the good in others. A lot of it has to do with the negative images and stories that are repeated over and over again. It's just depressing. Give it up for a week, and I know you will feel more optimistic. You will begin to see that most people are decent human beings.
6.) Make a Happy Playlist!
Remember a time in your life when you always had some music playing? Play some music. Play it LOUD! Happy music. Not depressing music. Music makes us feel emotions. If you want to feel happier, consider making a playlist. Put every song on it that relates you to good memories. Let's FOCUS on the GOOD ones.