Autumn Reflections + Giving Thanks
It's really hard to fathom that we are now in November, and there's a mere 2 months left of 2016. The leaves are falling, storefronts are all on the Thanksgiving and Christmas trains already, and everyone is left wondering where the time has gone so quickly yet again.
On the personal front, I'm feeling a bit melancholy these days. While it's easy to just say I'm feeling blue and call it a day, I'm working on digging a little deeper into those feelings, to better understand why I'm truly feeling this way. Which is why I've been ruminating and reflecting, trying to step back to see the bigger picture. It's been awhile since I've done a personal update, and so I wanted to share some of my autumn reflections and intentions with you guys incase any of you might be feeling similarly.
Tomorrow, it will be 3 months since the loss of my father. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that he has been gone for a quarter of the year already and missed this autumn. My family has been going through its fair share of struggle and strife recently, as many families do after the death of a parent. I will still have spontaneous moments of overwhelming sadness and ugly tears when I think about him and how much I miss hearing his voice, or being able to just call him to say hello.
I have been wrestling with my autoimmune issues and energy levels, feeling like an uphill climb lately that doesn't seem to relent, no matter how many adjustments I've made to my diet. This makes attending to everything else a whole lot harder when all I can think about sometimes is how nice it would be to lie down on the hardwood floor to close my eyes. This makes my workouts difficult to get through and to recover from, and that in turn only makes things with my thyroid and weight worse. It's a vicious cycle.
My sister is halfway through her pregnancy. One of my best friends just got engaged. The state of the world and experiencing the rise of tensions everyday is exhausting. I've been in a long-distance relationship for 8 months now, and all of you out there who have ever done it, it is extremely difficult and emotional. The health and fitness industry, along with its overlap with the social media and blogging industry, seems to get stranger and harder to understand with its constant rewarding of flash over substance. Being a freelancer and owner of your own business certainly comes with a different kind of financial stress.
I'm going to be honest. It's been a lot this year.
The good, the bad, it's all been very high peaks and some very low lows. This kind of dramatic up and down makes a person exhausted. I'm struggling lately with juggling everything, and I have a lot of unanswered questions about my future.
It's funny because while a lot of stuff has been happening, the more I focus on introspection, the steadier I feel in the storm. When I rely on external circumstances to make myself happy, I find that I become victim to uncontrollable factors like other peoples behaviors, outcomes of unpredictable situations, success, and more. When I focus inwards, I strengthen and open my mind to become more flexible with the inevitable failures and variables of life.
I've been keeping a written journal where I write a short entry every night right before I go to sleep, and I highly recommend this practice. It's not a magical cure for hurt or sad feelings, as we are all meant to feel these things for a reason, but it certainly helps unload a bit of the overwhelm and helps me to get to know myself better.
Each of my journal entries focuses on four sections:
Physical check-in, Emotional check-in, Intentions, and Gratitude.
I find that this format is so helpful in its specificity, brevity, and as a mirror of daily reflection.
How do I feel today emotionally? How is my body feeling? What are my intentions for tomorrow and the week ahead? What am I grateful for?
The part I really have been finding most helpful is the gratitude section. No matter how little or how big, I always have quite a few things to be grateful for each day. I literally count my blessings every night before I go to sleep, because no matter how melancholy or overwhelming life is that day, I still have much to be grateful for.
Thanksgiving is coming up. While all the bloggers and stores seem to focus so much on the food and festivities (which are obviously so fun and awesome), I love this holiday as a reminder to give thanks.
So in this month of November, I want to invite you all to join me on giving thanks every day.
No matter how seemingly insignificant or general it is, just give a little thanks. Here are some of mine I've jotted in my journal lately:
For best friends who will go out of their way to be there for me, no matter how far away they live
For my ankle feeling better so I can lightly jog again before it gets too cold out
For how much I've been able to make travel happen this year
For my not killing my two plants I've had now for a record of 2.5 months! (Black thumb here, for real)
For the most thoughtful birthday gift from my boyfriend that I've ever gotten
For my sister having a healthy pregnancy so far
For that free coffee the barista gave me because he saw how frazzled I was
For the kind Uber driver who found my travel phone charger
For my Mom, for how she raised me and the battles she overcame to do such a great job on mothering her kids
For my clients for showing up and putting in the work, making me proud
For adorable puppies in the world, because they are so loving to all