I glanced at my calendar the other day and it hit me that the holiday season is upon us! My to-do list is getting longer and my calendar is filling up with appointments, commitments and celebrations. In fact, my tween and teen seem to have busier schedules than I do! I started to feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of it all because, for as much as “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”, it can also be very demanding, hectic and stressful. That last word includes something we are all trying to do without – “stress”! Over the past three years, after the holiday season, I have fallen ill with a bad cold, flu and bronchitis. I am determined not to do this again! I am committed to stepping into this next year, decade and season revitalized and refreshed! In order to do so, I am going to commit to doing a few things during this season of gratitude and celebration and I invite you along to do the same.
Find Your Quiet Space
Every morning, I try to start the day in my favorite quiet space in the house. I go there before the house has fully awakened and spend a little time with God, read, maybe have a cup of tea and think about my intentions for the day. Sometimes I escape to this same space when I need a moment to catch my breath, get out of my feelings or simply re-center myself to push through the rest of the day. The space is peaceful, quiet and really helps me to shift my energy to a positive place.
According to Psych Central, there are seven reasons why everyone can benefit from quiet time:
- To rest and renew
- To discover what’s important
- To make order out of chaos
- Grace and spiritual renewal
- Reinforce your sense of space in the universe
- Reduce stress
- Helps healing
Do you have a quiet space? Sometimes it might end up being your car, a closet or the bathroom but find a space that will lend to bringing you calm amid what sometimes may feel like a storm.
I hate to admit it but for as much as I tell my children to stay off their devices, I am just as much connected to mine. Self reflectively, it is sometimes the last thing I look at before I go to sleep and the first thing that I reach for when I awaken. The news, social media, emails, notifications, messages, etc. can be so very overwhelming and often, negatively influential. In all honesty, I find that sometimes because of my line of work, the phone even comes with me to the dinner table. Or, even when we go out to eat as a family, we all have some sort of device…each of us doing our own thing! According to Broadband Search, in 2019, the average person spends an average of 153 minutes on social media alone. This is not including texting or TV time or otherwise.
As a new practice, I am going to set some boundaries for myself when it comes to those outside influences. There will be a “time out” time after which there will be no more social media, etc. During mealtime, at our home or otherwise, we will keep one another company and have stimulating conversation….like we used to do back in the day! Instead of passing the time by scrolling through Instagram, I am going to pick up one of the many really good books I have stacked up on my nightstand. Or maybe, dial a number to chat with a friend instead of sending a text! I know, rocket science, right?!? I understand that our smartphones have made it more convenient for us to keep in touch, but I am not totally convinced that it makes relationships any better. A change is coming…
Count Your Blessings!
I remember singing a song when I was growing up called “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman Jr. For those of you who know this one, sing it with me…
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”
Although every day is a day for which we should be grateful, in this season of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to intentionally take a moment to jot down all the things for which you are grateful. No matter how seemingly small, every reason is a good reason to give thanks. For our family, I have grabbed a mason jar and some sticky notes, and we are going to each contribute to our Gratitude Jar. At the end of the year, we are going to sit down together and read off all of the many things for which we are grateful. This will have many benefits to first remind us of how very blessed we are, but also, when concentrating on your blessings, there is less time to worry about what we may not have or simply may want. Won’t you join us?
It is my hope that by the end of the year, I will be refreshed, focused on the present and those around me and full of gratitude for all the blessings that I have been bestowed. Let’s all pause, if but for a few extra moments, to appreciate all the goodness that surrounds us!