Gratitude is an important thing. It’s been shown to improve your mood, improve your relationships, and boost morale in the office. With Thanksgiving is right around the corner, now is a great time to start looking for things to be thankful for. With that in mind, here are 10 out-of-the-ordinary things that we can be thankful for this November.
1. Rainy Days
This comes easier for some than others. The prospect of being cooped up inside can drive some people crazy! But rainy days can have their upside, too. It’s an opportunity to stay in and tackle some of the reading, cleaning, or paperwork you’ve been meaning to get around to without feeling guilty that you’re not outside. And really – who doesn’t love the sound of rain on the roof?
2. Yard Work
Yard work seems to eat up whole weekends in the fall sometimes, but there’s a hidden benefit to it all. Tasks like trimming trees, raking leaves, and giving the yard a final mow are all ways to sneak in a bit of extra exercise without even trying!
It can be infuriating when you’re in the middle of a task and somebody comes in mid-thought and completely derails what you’re doing. More often than not, though, the person doing the interrupting is coming to you because they need something from you, whether it’s help on a project, an answer to a question, or even just to talk with someone for a minute so they don’t feel isolated. In this situation, they chose to come to YOU for that help. Looked at from this perspective, you can take the interruption as a glowing endorsement for you as someone who can be trusted to lend a hand (or an ear).
4. The Sniffles
Getting a cold stinks. We can all agree on that. When you start to get a few coughs or sniffles, though, you may find out who in your life are the ones who take notice and start to show up with care packages of tea and chicken soup. Of course you don’t want a full-fledged cold, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of who you have in your life to take care of you.
5. Challenging Coworkers
There’s always THAT ONE PERSON in the office, right? Stubborn, grouchy, annoying, or needy. It can be very difficult at times to see having that person around as a positive thing. Looked at from a different perspective, though, that person can become an opportunity to practice your relationship building skills. Just like everyone else, that person has hobbies, interests, and skills, and would probably love to share them. That person, due to his or abrasive personality, probably doesn’t have a lot of friends in the office and would appreciate a little more human interaction.
6. Holiday Travel
Travel during the holidays can be trying. Rushing people, crazy drivers, and impatience in all its forms – it can be rough. Holiday travel is only as maddening as you let it be, though. If you give yourself plenty of time, plan ahead, and choose your own speed as you go you can see it as an opportunity to spend time in close-quarters with loved ones, catch up on your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, and observe the change in scenery since the last time you passed by.
7. Neighborhood mischief
Sometimes the neighbor kids can cause a little trouble, whether it’s breaking something, painting something, or other general misdeeds. Though those infractions shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked, they do exist as teachable moments. They’re teachable for the kids to learn why what they did was wrong, but they’re also teachable for us. We can practice forgiveness, patience, and mindfulness, remembering that we also were once young and prone to poor choices (that may have seemed REALLY FUN at the time). The kids’ parents will probably also appreciate the grace of a forgiving neighbor.
8. Burnt food
It’s always a bummer when you’re cooking, get distracted, and by the time you get back to the stove there’s an unrecognizable smoldering chunk of coal where your beautiful dinner was supposed to be. Even this can be a cause for thanks. This burnt food can be a reminder to be focused and mindful of what we’re doing, and can serve also as a reminder that we’re fortunate to have food to burn. For most of us a burnt dinner might mean we have to try to salvage what we made and will eat something good and fresh tomorrow, which is more than a great many have to look forward to.
9. Cold Weather
At NWI HQ, as with many places across the country, the change in seasons means the beginning of a long, cold winter full of shoveling, dangerous driving, and bone-chilling outdoor exercise. These cold days can be great for get-togethers with friends who are stuck in the same boat. Since we’re all forced inside, there’s no reason we can’t be inside together having a good time!
There may not be a word as eye-glazingly jargon-esque as “networking.” The word invokes the tedium of corporate get-togethers where the conversations being held over mediocre cheese cubes distills down to “how can we use each other to our mutual benefit?” GROSS. Looked at in a different light, networking is really relationship building. By taking time to actually get to know a few new business connections on a level a little deeper than the surface, odds are that you’ll find some kindred spirits who feel strongly about the same kids of causes you do. One place to start might be in the NWI LinkedIn Group.
These ten things might not immediately rise to the top of your list when you think of what you’re grateful for, but they’re examples of opportunities for gratitude even in some atypical places. In this spirit, we thank you for supporting the National Wellness Institute, and hope you spend all of November finding the good sides of the situations you find yourself in.