To me, November has always marked a difficult moment in the seasons up here in New England. The cold of winter starts to really settle over us. It gets darker earlier – and many of us realize that we’re in our offices for much of the daylight hours. Getting outside now requires a jacket, and maybe heavy socks. And not to mention the holiday weight starts texting again!
For the past few years, I’ve chosen to make November a month to focus on being thankful, because, duh, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
Below I share a few things that help me truly recognize all I have to be thankful for.
This process might involve a gratitude journal for you. Each night, or morning, you can take a few minutes and write down what you’re grateful for in that moment. At the end of the month, or in low moments, read over your notes. You’ll see just how much you move by each day without recognizing how much these people or activities mean to you.
Here are 10 ways you can show those you love just how thankful you are for them:
- Thank you notes – these are always a favorite of mine. Sending handwritten cards to loved ones and detailing how much you care for them is an amazing opportunity to extend your gratitude. Thank them for all they do to support you and for everything they add to your life. One year I wrote my significant other a note every day until Thanksgiving with a reason why I was grateful for him. Aggressive, but appreciated. Another approach is literally drawing an old school hand turkey, and listing out a piece of gratitude on each feather.
- Be kind to a stranger – by smiling as you walk past (not in a creepy way!), holding the door, or by paying for the coffee for the customer behind you in the drive-through. Spreading unexpected kindness creates a ripple effect that we all really need.
- Thank you sign – if you have a chalkboard or dry erase board in your house, you can feature what you’re thankful for there each day. As you update it each morning, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on what you wrote the day before as well.
- Shift your office energy – no one loves their office every day, but you can always make the best of it. Send your work wife or work hubs a thank you note for listening to you, or share an email with a funny meme that captures the essence of your relationship (keep work appropriate here people!). You might arrange for a communal opportunity to express gratitude by hanging a poster board for people to add what they’re thankful for or even starting your next team meeting by sharing.
- Bake for your neighbors and friends – or buy cookies if this isn’t your area of expertise. Extending something sweet with well wishes will remind people that you do appreciate them and see how they’ve contributed to your community and life.
- Host a Friendsgiving – this one can be a big undertaking, so think it over first. We go to a few of these each year and love them so much. This is an opportunity to gather friends and share a meal. Be sure to make everyone share something they’re grateful for when you go around the table!
- Volunteer – if you have ongoing relationships with organizations that need volunteers, this is a great time to sign up for a shift. It’s also a perfect time to volunteer at a soup kitchen or pitch in for a winter coat drive.
- Give on Giving Tuesday – instead of dropping your whole pay check on Black Friday deals (which we all love to do), try saving some and making a donation to a nonprofit organization with a mission close to your heart on Giving Tuesday. As a friendly reminder, this fundraising effort is built on the idea of a lot of people giving what they can, so don’t forget to spread the word!
- Look for the little things – the kind gestures, the supportive words, the person who picks up the random can on the side walk and puts it into the recycling bin. Thank these people. Literally stop and thank them.
- Thank yourself – for everything you do each day to make your life what it is, and for moving it towards your goals. Thank your body for exercising. Thank your mind for reading. Thank your hands for preparing each meal. Thank yourself for being you.