Practicing gratitude, or reflecting on all that we are thankful for, is a popular Thanksgiving tradition. When we think about all the people, things, and experiences we appreciate, however, we often forget to include ourselves and our accomplishments. Self-gratitude can contribute to our health and wellbeing–– and the Thanksgiving holiday is a great opportunity to incorporate this practice into our lives. As you enjoy the holiday break, consider nurturing a sense of gratitude for yourself, including all that you accomplish every day in your work with young children.
Power of Practicing Gratitude
Taking time to practice gratitude can help us to develop a mindful awareness of all the positive things in our lives and to appreciate each moment. An article from Harvard Health Publishing explains, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Being Grateful for Yourself
With all of the wonderful ways that being grateful for things outside of ourselves can benefit our lives…think about the good it could do if we turned that gratitude towards ourselves!
The practice of self-gratitude helps us build self-esteem by directing our attention to everything we like about ourselves, rather than what we dislike. Focusing on our accomplishments encourages us to move forward, set goals, and avoid feelings of overwhelm or burnout. Even thanking ourselves for the little things we do throughout the day can give us a helpful boost of energy.
While practicing self-appreciation can feel uncomfortable, or even indulgent, it is important to remember that everyone deserves praise. Your work with young children is an especially important accomplishment that positively impacts the lives of children and families in your community every day!
Self-Gratitude Practices for the Thanksgiving Break
As you enjoy some extra time to yourself over the Thanksgiving Break, you might enjoy trying out some of the following ways to incorporate self-gratitude into your daily routine:
Try affirmations. Affirmations are positive words of support and appreciation that you can practice anytime. They are simple, uplifting phrases that you say, either in your head or out-loud, to give yourself a positive boost whenever you need it. Here are a few affirmations for self-gratitude that you might enjoy:
I’m grateful that my work has a positive impact on other people’s lives and in my community.
I appreciate that my work connects me to many different people.
I am grateful that I’m able to make a difference.
I am grateful for the little things in my life that spark joy.
Practice tiny habits. Throughout the day, try to find simple moments to practice self-gratitude. For example, when you are brushing your teeth or washing your hands, make a deal with yourself that you won’t end the task until you think of something that you like about yourself or something you’ve recently accomplished that you’re proud of.
Accept compliments. Over the next few days, notice how you react when someone gives you a compliment or expresses appreciation for something you’ve done. Practice responding to the compliment with a simple “thank you,” and notice how you feel in response to their positive words of thanks and recognition.
If you’re looking for more self-care resources, you might enjoy these G2K articles from the archives: