This year I had the most wonderful opportunity to experience Thanksgiving with some beautiful friends. Whilst Thanksgiving is not necessarily an Australian tradition, I just loved the opportunity to sit with beautiful friends and reflect on what we were grateful for this year. My friend who hosted also prepared handouts (yes she is a teacher!) and everyone including the kids had to write all the things they were grateful for. After a beautiful roast turkey lunch we each read aloud our lists. It was so inspiring, especially listening to what the kids (as young as my 3 year old daughter) had to say. It got me thinking not just about what I am grateful for but also about how important it is to show our children that Christmas is not all about presents and wanting and consumerism. Since having my own children I have really worked hard at Christmas to focus on giving, helping others, getting together and spending time with loved ones and really appreciating the small things in life.
Instead of an advent calendar with sugar and chocolate my kids have a gratitude advent calendar where they have to do good deeds, help others, clean up their neighbourhood, make cards and presents for their loved ones, reflect and show gratitude. We make yummy healthy treats to share once these activities are done each day.
2019 was a very tumultuous year for our family with a move interstate, multiple hospital visits for Nick, our beloved dog dying and other family tragedies. We were tired coming into 2020 then enter…COVID-19. Whist there has been severe impacts on many people and businesses and so many unknowns, there too have been many great things come from it. Particularly for our family, the blessing of hanging out together all day everyday (albeit there were moments that it may not have felt like a blessing !!)
I feel, as I look back on 2020, that Covid-19 has made me appreciate of the simplest of things in life so much more. Things that many of us take for granted. Things like being able to cross the border and see my family, to work without restrictions, go to a class and immerse myself in the wonderful energy, to catch up with my friends and to sit in a coffee shop. Right down to the small things like hugging loved ones and being able to talk to them in person rather than on FaceTime or Zoom.
I love people and being able to connect with them (ideally in person!) That’s why I haven’t used Facebook or social media socially for nearly 2 years now as relationships are so much more meaningful in real life. With the social restrictions of COVID-19 (and to be honest the affect on us here on the Sunny coast has been minimal compared to many places in Australia and the world), I am just so grateful to be able to work with my beautiful clients again and spend time with my cherished family and friends. Have you taken time to think or write about the gifts and blessings that have come from COVID-19 for you? Give it a try! You might surprise yourself when you start.
So while Thanksgiving is not so much an Australian tradition, Christmas is. So really take time this Christmas to connect with loved ones, share kind and caring words (not just gifts), enjoy the small things (like the delicious Christmas treats and listening to children laughing), and take time to reflect on the year that is about to end. By looking for the positives, it can make those hard times seem a little more distant and help you step into 2021 with a fresh positive mindset.
From my family to yours and from your Health Space family I wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy, healthy 2021.
Dr. Kate Wood