As we enter into the holiday season, it’s important to keep certain ideals at the forefront of our minds. It’s easy to feel bogged down, stressed out, or exhausted from all of the planning and interactions you may be having. Whether you find yourself feeling emotionally strained or physically exhausted during this time of year, gratitude can play an important role in helping you feel at peace. Gratitude can help you increase your hopefulness in both yourself and others. I want to share with you some practical ways to practice gratitude in your daily life during the holiday season.

Practice One: Practice self care.

Learn how to practice gratitude for yourself through self care. This could mean making the time for therapy sessions on a regular basis. Maybe for you, self care is getting your nails done and having dinner with your best friend. For some, you might find all you need is a good book and a good cup of tea. No matter what way you practice self care this holiday season, stay in tune with your mind. Give yourself gratitude for all you do on a day-to-day basis.

Practice Two: Do an act of kindness for another.

One way to feel grateful for what we have is to spread kindness to others. An act of kindness is done without expectation of acknowledgement or reward. Maybe you find yourself in the drive thru and can pay for the person behind you. You might have the opportunity to bake cookies for a neighbor. Whatever the act of kindness you choose, remember the “why” behind the action. Take in the good feelings that it brings and recognize all that you have in your life that allows you to spread kindness to others.

Practice Three: Look back at your year.

At the end of the year, it’s a great time to look back and reflect. Give yourself gratitude for getting through whatever challenges you faced and whatever triumphs you had. A good way to process is by talking things out with a trusted friend, a family member, or a therapist. Allow yourself to feel gratitude about all you have learned through your challenges and success this year.

Practice Four: Get moving.

Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel better emotionally. Getting moving allows your body to feel better physically, too. Take a walk and feel the brisk air against your skin. Attend a yoga class and allow your body to flex and move. Practice gratitude for all that your body is able to do, and all that it does to support you.

I hope you allow gratitude to make its way into your life this holiday season. May your holidays be filled with hope, love, and connection.