By: Joy Bergman

You have a mop in one hand, and you’re grabbing the gravy off the stove with the other. “No!” You growl as you frantically glance up at the clock. “This may be a holiday, but I’m so frustrated!” Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, that we miss the whole point of what we’re celebrating. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s important to remember why we celebrate. After all, this is the time that we get to spend with our loved ones. This is the time where we gather around the table and say grace. And most importantly, this is the time where we put aside all the everyday hassles, turn off the electronics, and be grateful for who we are and what we have. So I encourage you to put that mop down for a second, and practice thankfulness. After all, as famous author, Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Not to mention, being thankful is good for your health, according to PositivePsychology.com. So, without further ado, let’s examine some ways we can practice thankfulness in our everyday lives!

THANKFULNESS EXERCISES:

1). Write down everything/everyone that you’re grateful for. “This time of year – as cliché as it sounds, I’m a little extra thankful for family and friends that God has placed around me.” – Aliesa B. What are you thankful for?! Maybe it’s someone/something that makes you smile, like a good friend, an old photograph, or just a nice steaming cup of hot cocoa. Consider all the people who have helped you in the past, whether it was a friend who gave you advice or a coworker who believed in you. Positive Psychology suggests listing what you’re thankful for from a specific time frame, such as this past week, etc. Get more inspiration from https://positivepsychology.com/gratitude-exercises/.

2). Go outside. “I am also thankful for the beauty of nature.” – Mary-Beth L.  Take a walk or a bike ride and appreciate the little things around you. Watch the autumn leaves play gracefully on the ground and feel the peaceful breeze. There are many local parks to visit, either with a pet, a friend or family member or on your own. You can always write down or draw what you saw on your adventure afterward.

3). Read it and Smile. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts… and be ye thankful.” – Colossians 3:15. While reading is not everyone’s strong suit, ancient historical texts offer advice on the importance of having a grateful heart. Try reading something everyday that makes you thankful, whether it’s a quote from the internet or a handmade card. If it helps, write down some gratefulness quotes and place them around the house.

4). Create a Family activity. “How often do families get together? [Thanksgiving’s] the biggest family gathering of the year…” – Alexandra A. With Thanksgiving around the corner, get the group to say what they’re thankful for around the table. After the big meal, consider having a family game night or doing a craft. Being surrounded by loved ones and having fun is another reminder of how blessed we are. 

5). Cook together. “[I’m thankful for] good food,” – Gail B. Cooking is fun, but it’s best not to do it all by yourself. Instead, spend a little time with loved ones searching for a recipe that everyone would enjoy. You can even create your own family recipe by having everyone name an ingredient that they would like to include. This is a fun way to indulge in the little moments. Work together and enjoy your time together – even if it’s a mess!

6). Pay it Forward. “I think some people don’t count their blessings and realize that if you have love, you’re richer than most kings of old.” –  Tony B.  While we are very blessed to have the things we have, some people, even in our own backyards, are not as fortunate. So if you would like to bless someone else this year, consider donating to groups like Metropolitan Ministries. The caring organization needs your help to feed over 33,000 families this Thanksgiving in Tampa Bay. Find out how to help at the following link: https://www.metromin.org/thanksgiving2021/. The Volunteer Way are looking for volunteers as well: http://thevolunteerway.org/. Leading up to Thanksgiving, pick up a $10  “Grab and Give Bag,” at your local Sprouts store, which will be donated to Feeding Tampa Bay. Keep your eye out for other local outreaches!

7). Show loved ones you care. “Think less about ourselves and more about the ones we love,” – Anthony B. While you can always call or text someone to show them how much they mean to you, some people like Sandra L. CaringBridge.org suggest writing a hand-written letter. It’s unique and will show the person that you took the time to appreciate him or her. Other ideas include making a craft, baking a treat, or even just inviting someone out for a walk or some cider. With the current teacher shortage, teacher Jewel D. suggests giving your teachers “a big thank you.” Get more ideas at: https://www.caringbridge.org/resources/how-to-show-someone-you-love-them/ 

We at Tampa Bay News & Lifestyles are very thankful for all of those who support us and contribute to this article. As our very own general manager, Jim O’Reilly, says, [“I’m grateful for] all of the wonderful people I get to meet and talk to in this awesome profession that I’ve been blessed to work in for 18 years.” And finally, I’m thankful for you – our readers! May you be filled with love, peace, and thankfulness, this holiday season and beyond!

Upcoming Events (in order):

2021 Shopapalooza Festival

November 27th and 28th

10 A.M.-5 P.M.

Vinoy Park- 701 Bayshore Drive Northeast, Saint Petersburg, 33701 *Support small businesses

The Greatest Showman: Christmas Remix

Thursday, December 9th – Saturday, December 11th

Crossover Church – 1235 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, 33612

Meer Av

ELFers Merry Marketplace (Vendors Needed)

Saturday, December 11th – 9 A.M. – 4 P.M.

4136 Barker Drive, New Port Richey, 34652

*Vendor proceeds benefits CARES local senior programs 

Tampa, FL 

Symphony in Lights: Tree Lighting Celebration

Starts November 13th 5 P.M. Runs thru December 31st

6-9 P.M. hourly shows

The Shops at Wiregrass

28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100 Wesley Chapel, 33543