Little ways to show how thankful you are today (and every day)

This week’s probably been pretty busy for most of us. Whether we’re stuck working Black Friday (or Thursday? Or isn’t it really just, like, every day of this week now?) or we just traveled home to eat mashed potatoes with our parents, it’s likely a little hectic right now. And when things get hectic, it’s easy to get caught up in the planning and organizing, and lose sight of the loving and thanking.

Earlier this week, my mind started bouncing around thinking of work deadlines, recipes for Thanksgiving and all the people I needed to call back to organize the big day with. As I calibrated my espresso machine, I stared blankly at the kitchen counter. My mind was buzzing so wildly with planning that I hardly noticed my partner fixing me scrambled eggs without even asking. He was just scrambling eggs for me, because he loves me. Because he wants me to eat breakfast. Because he’s thankful for me. And in that moment I was reminded of how thankful I am for so many little miracles in my life, like scrambled eggs and under eye concealer.

I know it’s a little bananas right now, but I’m going to try really hard to show gratitude to the people who make my life sweeter. And if you too are staring blankly as your mind freaks out about everything you need to get done before Thursday, step back, take a breath and show a little love to the people you call family.

Here’s a few little tips on saying thank you, I love you, thank you, I love you on Thanksgiving day:

Small baby animals forever! How often during the day do you think of someone you love, and then continue on with your day? Next time they enter your mind, take a few minutes to send them a sweet message of gratitude for who they are and include a picture of a small baby animal. Nothing says YOU’RE THE BEST like a small baby animal.

Help a sister out. Maybe your partner usually does the dishes after dinner, or maybe they have an errand they just haven’t had time to get done. Whatever it is, lighten their load a bit and offer to take care of it for them. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way, and helps them know you’re on their team.

Be a good listener. Life moves quickly. Jobs, school, meetings, kids and one million other things quickly fill up our days. By the time we are sitting next to our BFF or our partner, we’re pretty beat. Of course we ask people around us “how are you?” and while we are genuinely asking, we aren’t always present enough to really listen to their response. Be a good listener and really absorb what they’re telling you. Ask them questions about their lives, and take time to get to know them in the moment.

Handwritten notes. I love notes. My mom wrote me notes all growing up, and as I’ve grown older I write notes almost daily to the people in my life. They’re precious and sincere, and in a texting world and computer screen life, a handwritten note feels so warm and special. Recently my partner left town for an academic conference. The first night he was gone I went to crawl into bed, and on my pillow was a sweet and simple note telling me he loved me and would miss me. It was such a small thing, but it filled my heart up in just the right way. A note is like a way to love someone even if you’re not right there with them.

Think gratefully. Although I have a generally positive outlook on life, I find myself complaining a lot. They aren’t big gripes, just little Oh that’s so annoying or I’m so tired today! Sometimes things are annoying, and equally sometimes you’re really tired, but what would happen if you forbid yourself for a day from making complaints? In the absence of thoughtless complaining, you might give yourself a different outlook.

Be patient. Sometimes all someone needs is a little space and patience, and that’s not always easy to give to someone you love. I can sometimes be—well—smothering when I am worried about someone. But a wonderful way to show someone you are grateful for them, and care for them, is to be patient with their feelings and let them have their own space when they need it.

Simply say Thank You. It’s simple. It’s sweet. It’s so important. Thanking someone genuinely goes so far for the person you’re grateful for, and also makes little thankful footprints on your heart, too.

Let’s have a grateful day, week, month and end of the year. There’s so much to be thankful for!

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