This Christmas, I am grateful for . . . – #BLOGMAS Day 22

It’s all too easy to be swept up in the commercialism of the Christmas and New Year season, to want to buy more and have more to make Christmas extra special. Too easy for me to focus on employment uncertainty in the new year instead of opportunities experienced during the current one. Too easy to view social media posts by family and friends holidaying in dream locations and feel a little twinge of jealousy. Too easy to lose track of just how blessed and how privileged I am.

Christmas is a difficult time for many: those who have lost loved ones or are unable to spend time with them, those who really struggle to put food on the table and can’t afford gifts for their children, those who are lonely, unhappy or unwell. This time of year has the potential to magnify problems and bring much pain and heartache. Even spending time with family has the potential to bring with it many stresses and issues.

I am grateful for so much in my life and instead of harbouring a scarcity mindset, choose to focus on the plenty I have and experience daily in all areas of my life. This Christmas, I choose to be grateful for finishing this year in a much better place than the last. I choose to be grateful for all the usual things: family, health, work, a home, everything I need and so much more. I choose to be grateful for the ability to help others and 2018 has provided more opportunities for this than usual. I choose to be grateful for the ability to help our children in a way no-one was able to help us, enabling them to live away from home whilst focusing on their studies. I choose to be grateful for plans finally falling into place and long-held dreams coming true, as my husband and I spent time in Europe earlier this year. These are the big things, but there are so many little things I choose to be grateful for every day, too many to list here.

It comes as no surprise that the theme for today in both December challenges I’m participating in is Gratitude. Diary of a Twenty Something blog’s #BLOGMAS is a daily blog-writing challenge and Local Milk blog’s #12daysofslowliving is a challenge designed to reduce stress and encourage self-care in this busy Christmas season. Gratitude is such an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

Gratitude is a choice, a state of mind, a mindset which, like most things, needs to be cultivated daily in order to grow. Earlier this year, I spent considerable time thinking about, researching and practising gratitude in a conscious, mindful way. It certainly helped me appreciate what I had and others who joined me in the April 18 Gratitude Challenge commented it really lifted their mood and changed the way they viewed their world.

Below are the links to this year’s gratitude related posts. They may be helpful if this is something you’d like to focus on as you step forward into a brand new year.

Gratitude Part 1: a little attitude with the potential to change the world

Gratitude Part 2: expressing gratitude

Gratitude Part 3: April 18 Gratitude Challenge

What are you grateful for this Christmas?

Anna xo

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