Valentines day is an opportunity for all of us express gratitude for love in our lives in any of its various configurations - whether it be loving the world we live in, a partner, a parent, a best friend, a child or even just yourself, it is those little gestures on a day like Valentines that say…you remembered me, you still like me, or how about I like myself and deserve to make myself feel special.
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn't need to be reserved only for momentous occasions such as Valentines day: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as someone giving you a hand when you need it.
It is 2020 and it is a good moment to focus on the things at Homebody that we love and cherish and want to be grateful for in our lives - so what are those things and what can we do to show our gratitude?
First on our list is wellbeing and loving ourselves
Life for many of us is very fast paced as we try to juggle many balls in the air, but the truth is that without health, we will find it even harder to create balance in our lives. From my experience, the only way I can handle the balance of work and life is to have a little space for me. Everyone is different, for some it may be an interest that takes the mind off stressful thoughts - mine is gym and visiting art galleries, for others it may be a spin class or meeting friends for a coffee - as long as there is something that ticks your box and works for you, fantastic!
Wellbeing for me also means agility, a great diet, people in my life that make me happy, and my treat is meditation to calm the mind - it works a treat!
It is important to be grateful for those moments in the day saved just for you - they are precious.
Next is our love of a partner
Sharing a life together is not easy and if you are in for the longterm, frankly how do you keep that flame burning when you have seen all those unromantic shoddy bits of living life together -but appreciating each other in the ‘now' is so important, particularly when we realise just how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken away. A gesture of 'love' or even ‘like' can mean a lot, and it doesn’t have to cost money, most of the best gifts don’t!
Family is a blessing and not all of us have the traditional concept of a family i.e. two parents or siblings, but whatever we do have, to cherish those people who we share our lives with is so important as its incredibly easy to take people for granted. whether it be a brother, sister, uncle or godparent, it doesn’t matter- Valentines Day for us is about showing how much we care and value those around us who make our daily life meaningful and how grateful we are to have these people in our lives.
There is an old saying - you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family!
How true that is. Friendship, whether new kindred spirits that you have met recently or those who you grew up with, how lucky to have people in your camp that have your back and can share your good times as well as sadly your harder times. Being grateful for those in your life that actually listen when you speak and care is vital to maintaining the 'status quo' in your everyday life. Loneliness is as much a killer as any other life threatening illness. Family, is something that you don’t choose and you may not even like yours but friends can mean so much more and showing them how much you care is also a very valuable thank you this Valentines Day!
Our thanks have to also go to our planet
Often taken for granted, but we are so lucky to live in a time of peace when there are so many advances in technology and health, all around us our world are far easier to manage than ever before. Whether it be seeing your relative via FaceTime across the pond or getting a vaccine to prevent flu or eradicating cervical cancer altogether, these are exciting times.
However, we do have to look after this world and treat it as a precious object but just for a moment take time to step outside and smell the flowers of spring, and be grateful to live in this world and take as many steps as necessary to protect it. Small steps are also Ok and maybe taking a moment to promise to do one but more to protect what we have - if each of us take a few steps towards limiting our use of plastic and buying into fast fashion, we are trying!
Freshen Up Your Thanks
The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or "My sister invited me over for dinner so I didn't have to cook after a long day." And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.
Finally, our gratitude this Valentines Day is to know that Homebody is the answer to a great night’s sleep and it is sustainably made and loved by many! How great is that!!