I am taking a little departure from Disney and Family Travel tips to talk about something that has become incredibly important to me. I suffer from anxiety and have been seeing a therapist for about five years now, but it wasn’t until I started working with a business coach last year that I started to prioritize mental health. I realized that I had done more personal development in three months with my coach than in three years with my therapist. I then started my search for a mental health professional who was going to push me to do more than just talk about my week. I had reached out to someone I thought would be a good fit in January but unfortunately she didn’t have any openings at the time. Queue global pandemic, tele-health and an opening in her calendar. Let me just say this could not have come at a better time – the business I had worked so hard to get ready to launch just six months before, was just starting to see momentum and then it came crashing to a screeching halt when the world closed down. I completely credit the power of gratitude for getting me through what could have been an extremely dark time in my life, with positivity, optimism and grace.
I don’t want to say I was ungrateful before the pandemic. I had an extremely privileged childhood and got to travel the world from a young age which helped me learn amazing traits that lead to my success throughout my life. There are so many benefits of traveling from a young age and the traits you can develop as a child which is why I wrote a separate blog post about it, you can find here. When it was time for me to continue my education I was able to get a full-tuition academic scholarship for my college. After which I had an extremely successful career in sales operations and events, but I found myself always ready for the next big thing, the next accomplishment, the next step. The pandemic and the gratitude work I have been doing has allowed me to slow down and truly recognize all of the things I am grateful for in my life. It has granted me more time to spend with my daughter while she is still a toddler and learning about the world around her. I am now able to be present in what I am doing. Sometimes that is enjoying my giggly, snuggly little girl. Sometimes that is writing a blog post or creating marketing funnels. I have learned that there is no such thing as a perfect work life balance. Sometimes I spend more time launching a digital product, sometimes I take a day off to snuggle on the couch and watch Moana with my princess obsessed girl (like mother like daughter).
So, how was I able to achieve this?
First I make time for myself. I try to wake up in the morning about an hour before Annabelle – of course I have a toddler so sometimes I am awake all night and need the extra sleep. It is almost impossible to get her stick to the schedule so I may miss a few things here and there but I have become ok with that. On the ideal morning I get up and start my day with about 20 minutes of yoga, a 10 minute meditation (I love and would definitely recommend the Mindful in Minutes podcast) and I write three things in my gratitude journal. If I don’t have time for all that no matter what, I write those three things and it sets the tone for a positive day.
Even with this, I still have bad days here and there.
But instead of burrowing into my bed and avoiding all communication with my family and friends, I allow myself to grief about a trip I was supposed to be on that day or the rescheduling of another plan I had made before this craziness started and I move on. On those days sometimes what is in my journal is simply the air that I breathe, for the heart beating blood in my chest, for my survival.
Speaking of rescheduling trips, if you are disappointed about missing your trip this year and want to make the next time you get to vacation extra special, check out my blog post on 7 Ways to Re-Do Your Missed Trip Even Bigger in 2021.
The Wanderlust Worker said it much better than I ever could:
“Gratitude can change your life because it makes you appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t have. Gratitude can change your life because it is the single most powerful source of inspiration that any person can tap into if they simply just stop and pay attention to the simplistic beauty and miracle of life.”
Gratitude Shifts Your Focus
Life is all about focus. Whatever we focus on, we move towards. When we live in a state of lack and negativity, we see more of that. When we focus on the positives we tend to see more of the positives. I know this sounded ridiculous to me when I first started too, but after months of practice I finally believe it, and that is what gratitude is, it is a practice. It might take a while and persistence to start to feel a difference but once you experience that shift you will never go back to your old ways.
Gratitude Makes You Happier
Ok… so I am still working on this one, but before my gratitude practice I thought I had to achieve a certain goal, a certain income level, a certain lifestyle, to be happy. I thought those achievements would make me feel a certain level of accomplishment and happiness, after I completed the goal but in all actuality it would never feel as good after I did. If you are constantly working towards the next best thing and can not appreciate what you have accomplished you will end up in an endless cycle and never be fulfilled. I definitely have been much happier when I focus on what I have rather than what I want. And when I have moments of grief, fear, anxiety or anger I am able to accept those feelings, hold them for the moment and then let them go so much faster.
Gratitude Reduces Fear
Fear is what occurs when we’re left to dwell on topics that we feel are out of our control. And believe me I can dwell with the best of them. I was always worried about the worst possible outcome, of being a failure, of not being good enough. With gratitude I am forced to focus on the now. I am definitely a little nervous about what the state of my business will be if this pandemic lasts much longer, I am a little nervous about paying my bills but when I focus on the the little wins like adding 20 people to my email list this week, or the fact that I was able to move some things around to pay for my CRM for one more month – it becomes very difficult to dwell on what worst case scenario may happen.
Gratitude Helps You Reach Your Goals
This may seem like a contradiction, when you are grateful for what you have don’t you stop going after what you want? Not at all!! Being appreciative of what you’ve accomplished helps give you the strength to push forward and continue to accomplish more. If you’re working on a long term goal like losing a significant amount of weight, getting out of debt, or finally starting a business, it can feel like FOREVER before you start to see progress. It is easy to get dejected and give up. When you practice gratitude and celebrate the little wins along the way (you can bet I am celebrating with a glass of wine when I finally finish writing this blog post) you are reaching that big bad goal before you know it.
I hope my story inspires you to add a little gratitude to your day. Remember it is a practice and change will not happen overnight. But if you do something as simple as writing down three things you are grateful for in the morning (or before bed, or at 2:00pm in the afternoon whatever works best for you) and stick with it, you will enjoy all of these benefits too.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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