Got those Thanksgiving blues? A sodden garden, overcast days and longer hours of darkness may lead to seasonal affective disorder. Can't get out of bed or off the couch? There are a few simple actions you can begin today to fight back and energize your life. They are totally free and can improve your relationship with the world and the people in your life.
Start a gratitude list. Everything seems to be going wrong -- can you think of one single thing to be grateful for, no matter how small? Shout it out to the world! A gratitude list is a powerful tool that can restart your life.
There are plenty of variations, but start with this one: Take a few minutes before bedtime to list at least three things you are grateful for. Begin it with "I am grateful for ..." Maybe you woke up in the morning after a good night's sleep; the day held the bluest sky, rolling clouds, a harvest moon; a hibernating ladybug; discovery of a great mystery writer with a long backlist; a daughter's laugh; a delicious dinner cooked by your husband; a purring cat. There are no rules -- be silly, be free. You think you are the glass half-empty; this is your time to be the glass half-full.
Do this every day for a while. Reread your lists if you feel down. Be patient: strange and almost magical things will start to happen. One day you thank someone you love for a thoughtful action; her face glows. One day you thank a co-worker for helping at your workplace; he pauses and smiles back.
Don't wait ... take a few minutes today -- smell autumn roses, ramble in the garden by yourself, take a walk with a friend you haven't seen for a while. Reach out and talk to a special someone you've lost touch with before he or she walks through the door of the next journey. We walk through a fall garden that lives in the eternal now that includes winter-blooming bulbs fed by summer sunlight whose roots draw nourishment from their leaves' decomposition.
And then there is the gratitude box. It's not a box you stand on but a box you can lean on to chase the blues away. Choose a small box and decorate the outside and inside -- or not. File gratitude lists or loving letters and cards from the people in your life inside your box for later reference. Give a homemade gratitude box to someone as a thank-you gift or to say I love you. Enclose a poem or keepsake, or include a list of "Reasons I'm grateful to you."
Keep a gratitude box as a family. Put little things inside that remind you of happy times. Write down favorite memories of shared moments, wishes and loving messages for one another.
A gratitude list is a celebration of the gifts already present in our lives that are often taken for granted or hidden. Like your garden -- once planted and established -- your gratitude gifts will grow.