I don’t know about you, but the fall season so far has been a rough one.
Between having a busy schedule, not a ton of down time and a few illnesses and injuries mixed in, it has been a bit of a whirlwind.
This weekend, I made myself get up extra early so I could have some down time before the rest of my house woke up — and I sat on my favorite couch to do some meaningful reflection.
I reflected on how much I loved the quiet of the house — and how much I loved the three souls still upstairs sleeping their Sunday morning away.
I found time to be thankful — and found the time spent to be a wonderfully refreshing exercise in mindful thankfulness.
In case you are feeling a little overwhelmed or struggling to catch your breath during the busy seasons of your life, here are a few hacks to help you get back on course!
Donate Your Time: November is such a busy time — filled with holiday preparations, family obligations — so busy that it often goes by so quickly.
This November, be sure to schedule some time to give back to your community.
Visit a local shelter, soup kitchen or school — lots of these community organizations have volunteer coordinators who would love a few hours of your time.
Take your spouse, children, friends and family members with you.
The entire experience will not only give you a sense of happiness that such an act can provide but will also help remind you of the many blessings that you have.
The time spent with loved ones giving back to others is sure to be some of the best time ever spent.
Thankfulness Pumpkin: Every year on Thanksgiving, I hand out slips of paper to every guest at dinner.
I ask them to write down something that they are thankful for — and they then get to read that as part of the blessing.
What if you did this every night before you go to sleep?
You can write them on a slip of paper, on a pumpkin or gourd — or even put it on a white board on your refrigerator.
It is simple — just one thing each day.
By the end of this month, when you are cursing the Christmas lights that won’t light or stressing about the unexpected bill that just took a chunk out of your Santa budget — you will be able to better focus on what is important.
Keep it Simple: This is my mantra for most things when I get overwhelmed.
As you look on the holiday season that is coming and begin to inevitably feel your heart race as your calendar fills up, repeat this mantra to yourself.
Feeling overscheduled with events? Cut back on a few — particularly those that cost money or do not require your attendance for their success.
Does your holiday gift list exceed your holiday gift budget?
Consider scaling back, asking family and friends to consider a gathering instead of gift exchange or find creative ways to give of your time and talents instead of your bank account.
If making turkey-themed cupcakes for the next holiday gathering is going to mean you do not get to sleep this week, call a local grocery store to order some of their brown-frosted cupcakes and be alright with it being checked off your list.
No one will care that they are not actual turkeys and will be thankful that you brought a high sugar treat at all!
Keep. It. Simple.
Self Care is the Best Care: This fall and holiday season, I want you to add one person to your gift giving list: You.
I don’t care if you gift yourself a manicure, a massage or a bottle of your favorite Merlot that you never splurge on.
Self care is the only way to really truly be able to enjoy the season of thankfulness and truly get to a place of simply living.
It doesn’t even have to cost a thing — you can gift yourself with a night off from cooking (your family will survive on cereal or PopTarts for one night, I promise!).
Whatever you need to do to give yourself a much needed recharge might just be the best gift you receive this season!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)