By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
So many things are nudging me towards contemplating gratitude right now that I just felt pulled to put some of my thoughts together in a blog post. Hopefully it is interesting and helpful to some of you who read our blog!
Thanksgiving is a time that I usually try to focus on gratitude in general. This year, the timing is interesting for me as I have a 3 month old at home and just returned to work two weeks ago… But I’ll talk more about that later!
Thinking back on my year, I remember finding out I was pregnant a few weeks after Thanksgiving last year when I had already set in motion so many big, exciting, and pretty scary things professionally. A new office… Not just new, but also bigger! Expanding to a corporation and hiring more team members! Eek! I remember the overwhelm of just considering what this next year would be like balancing pregnancy, motherhood, and these new obligations. So much to adjust to and so much to feel overwhelmed by. In January, I always take time to consider a word to focus my energy towards in the coming year. It is a guidepost of sorts, something to try to create more of usually. I remember sorting through thoughts about the year and coming up with words like, overwhelm, stress, chaos, too much and intentionally choosing to focus on the abundance side of my feelings of overwhelm. So I found my word to be gratitude this year.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, this has been a tough word for me. Often I have found myself swept up in the to do lists and feelings of stress and exhaustion and needed to remind myself to focus on the gratitude I feel for so many wonderful things happening in my life.
Currently, people have asked how I am adjusting to motherhood and even more, working motherhood. And I answer honestly with, “I’m just running. All the time. Everywhere. There’s never enough time or enough of me to go around!” Or some variation of sleep deprived sentences that are communicating that (maybe, hopefully in some way that makes sense!). Today, as I work from home during naps and savor one of my last weekdays home with my little man… I have chosen to put the “running” feeling aside and just lean into my gratitude and savor, really just enjoy, the moments of snuggles, kisses, giggles, and of course cries, whines, and tears that are inevitable at 12 weeks apparently. The thought that keeps coming back to me is that everything is temporary. The lack of sleep – yup, it’s temporary. Hopefully some of the crying is temporary too. But the snuggles, baby smell, little hands and feet, and oh the sweet smiles and newness of it all. That’s temporary too… so through my sleep deprived and overwhelmed days… I am going to choose to enjoy this time and be grateful for all the things I am blessed to have.
Interestingly, this experience of gratitude applies not just to my family but also to having a whole different side of me that is fulfilled through my work and the fact that people come and share their deepest moments, feelings, fears, and pain with me. Because the truth is, I love what I do and I missed it. The baby snuggles have been amazing but I have acknowledged and accepted that I need both. Both the mother part of me that is still developing and the therapist part of me that I have nurtured for years. I need both and because of that, I most likely will never stop running. But at least for now, I am running gratefully. Most of the time ;)
So, as the holidays approach, I urge all of you to consider how can you focus on abundance and gratitude rather than the hustle and bustle, which is really just a nice phrase for stress.
Here are some tips I came up with:
I hope this helps some of you enjoy the season a bit more! Please let me know any thoughts you may want to share or things you may be grateful for in the comments. We would love to hear from you.
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"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."