By this time of year it is unavoidable. Whether or not you celebrate, Christmas music can be found in your company elevator, the gas station or your corner Whole Foods. Strings of lights make appearances outside of homes. Snowflakes and ornaments bejewel city streets. And commercials encouraging you to awaken before dawn’s early light to get this year’s biggest deal EVER.
The holidays have officially arrived.
And along with the holidays, the stress of buying, eating, celebrating, dressing up, traveling, visiting and being constantly merry permeate your daily existence. Even if you are not prepared or even paying attention.
Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems the older I get, the more commercial and forced this “spirit” and “joy” becomes. Whatever happened to the sheer simplicity of baking cookies or lounging by the fire? I can’t seem to go anywhere or pick up a simple magazine or even listen to Internet radio without being bombarded with the message to buy, buy, buy.
So, this year, I decided here at AnaOno Intimates we would take a different approach. Instead of providing you with a list of gifts for girlfriends and family, we want to take a page from Cancer’s little handbook. Simply being grateful.
Gratitude is a word we've heard a lot, but may not fully understand. Oprah’s waxed on about journaling to find it. There are dozens of apps we can download to help find and cultivate it. But, in its most basic form, gratitude is the appreciation for what we have, not what we desire or think we need.
Unfortunately, that appreciation is easier said than done, particularly this time of year when we’re tempted by delectable presents that may sparkle or shine or just make us feel good. (How many of you have done that “gift for myself” purchase when holiday shopping for others? Yes, I am guilty of it, too). Abashedly, those gorgeous boots may become a “need” (it is winter, after all), even when we have five pairs stashed in the back of a closet somewhere.
This may seem a little counter-intuitive coming from a retail company. Of course, we’d love for you to add our bras and goodies to your list, but we would be completely amiss in our mission statement, if we didn't take some time out to be thankful for what we do have in our lives. It may be another year of health. It may be our closest circle of friends. It may even be our job.
There are a number of habits you can adopt that will build your gratitude, and in turn, leave you happier, calmer and better equipped to deal with stress and adversity. It can even improve your health and sleep patterns.
In this spirit, we’ll be bringing you from now until the 24th, 12 Days of Gratitude. Simple things you can do for yourself and others to cultivate joy and peace during the holidays, and hopefully carry into the new year and beyond. You can find our little daily missives on Twitter and Facebook, and we encourage you to participate by either sharing with others or commenting with what you may be doing to invite gratitude into your lives.
Day 1: One of the best things you can do to strengthen your own gratitude is to become involved and give back. This goes beyond simple charitable donations. Find a cause you may be passionate about, or simply assist those far less fortunate than you. Giving your time and talent not only helps others, but also fosters a sense of community and awareness. It is also incredibly fulfilling and helps put our own lives in perspective.
Additionally, volunteering can lead to tremendous friendships and personal growth. Some of the best friends I've met have come from various breast cancer charity events I have participated in, volunteered for and planned on my own. But it really does go beyond socializing and raising money.
Anytime I have given my time to helping others, I've always walked a way with a greater sense of self and the world around me. It brings perspective to my own life and makes me much more aware of what is really important like my health, my husband, my family and even the simple things I take for granted like a roof over my head or food on my plate.
So, to kick off our 12 Days, I inspirit you to take time out to give back. Even an hour a week can make a difference. You'll find yourself smiling more and wanting to volunteer more often. And it will bolster your own gratitude in immeasurable ways.
Special thanks and love to Jill Brzezinski-Conley of Jill's Wish
Join us on this journey for the next 12 days and follow us to share updates. We look forward to sharing this time with you and wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays.
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