Self-evaluation as the stepping stone to showing gratitude
Oftentimes, life gets to be a little busy for us and we find ourselves coasting and not really taking the chance to step back, take a breath and appreciate what is right in front of us. I know that this year, I was definitely guilty of that. However, after actually sitting down and doing a self-evaluation with myself, I realized that this year, I was truly blessed in ways that I never even knew.
To start, I am thankful for my family and friends. They have always been in my corner, supported me and have never changed their feelings toward me. This year showed me how much I appreciate them. Since I moved away from school and do not see my friends as much as I would like, our friendships with each other has never changed.
Even though we might go days or weeks without talking with one another, every time we do come together, it is almost like nothing has changed. We practically pick up where we left off and those types of friendships are ones that I truly cherish because life is changing, and I am not as accessible as I used to be, but I love and appreciate how much my family and friends understand that. With FaceTime, social media, text messaging and occasional visits, keeping in touch with my friends has never been so easy. Literally, they are just a phone call away and I am so thankful for that.
I am also thankful for being able to work with such kind, and understanding individuals. To tell the truth, these past few months have been extremely stressful and I felt like I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I was working a full time job, two internships and balancing school on top of that and it felt like I barely had time to breathe. My diet was absolutely terrible, I wasn’t getting any type of quality sleep, and I was extremely moody. Although the money was good, my health took a toll and I had to step back and realize what was most important.
Finally, I made the choice to speak with management at my job and ask them to cut my hours. Thankfully, they completely understood where I was coming from and I did not feel chastised at all. When I cut my hours, it felt like I could finally breathe. My diet improved, I was getting way more sleep. making time for breakfast to get me through the day, and my mood improved greatly. Although things are not perfect, they are definitely better than before.
I feel like one of the greatest ways to practice gratitude is to simply take a step back and simply evaluate your life and the things that have helped you whether it is friends, family, work, etc. When I do that, I try my hardest to show people how much I love and appreciate them whether it is meeting up for a cup of coffee, taking them out to dinner, or simply telling them that I love them. I never want people in my life to feel that they are unappreciated and even though I may go through my own personal bouts of stress and darkness, I want everyone who has been a major influence in my life to know that I cherish them, and I am extremely thankful to have them in my life. I am also thankful to be in a much more positive space than I was a few months ago, so that I do not push the people who love me away, but rather show them how much I do appreciate them since I am in a better mental space.
I think that this year was a big learning experience because I have learned to be thankful for my peace of mind. This year showed me the detriments that could happen to me mentally if I do not take care of myself the way that I should. But having loving people in my corner, who care about me and are supportive of me, makes prioritizing my mental health a tad bit easier.
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About the Author
Kendra Martin is currently a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville studying mass communications with a minor in applied communications. She is excited to be apart of the Dressember family, learn from everyone involved and to help end the fight against human trafficking. She loves listening to music, writing in her journal, reading multiple books at a time, sunflowers, corny puns and sleeping in.