We can all agree that 2020 has been… weird, to say the least. We all experienced hard times at some point and at different levels. Now, with the holiday season approaching, we feel more hopeful and happy. It’s time to decorate our homes, eat good food, and be (virtually) with family and friends.
Did you know how Thanksgiving started and that it’s only celebrated in the US? Here is the brief history behind this tradition.
The First Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving that we know of was in 1621. The Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Native Americans shared a feast to celebrate the autumn harvest. It all started in 1620 when a ship from Plymouth left England. Their journey took a couple of months until they reached Cape Pod after a storm. From there, they crossed Massachusetts Bay and settled in a city known today as Plymouth. It was winter and they have no food, only about half of the passengers survived.
Native Americans felt bad for them, as they were sick and hungry, and taught them how to grow corn and fish. In November 1621, they were able to produce harvest from their hard work. To celebrate it the governor William Bradford gathered the people and shared with the Native Americans their first feast.
In 1789, George Washington revived this tradition after the end of the Independence War. The date was not defined until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln scheduled Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. It remained that way until Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday a week early as a strategy to increase retail sales during the Great Depression. Many people were not happy with it and in 1941 he signed a bill dictating that Thanksgiving will be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.
Gratitude list: what are you grateful for?
During Thanksgiving, we’ll see many people sharing what they’re grateful for. But being grateful doesn’t have to be exclusive to this holiday. A gratitude list is a list of things you’re grateful for. Many people have it as a daily ritual, like a dairy, to help them be positive, have better relationships, and even improve mental and physical health. This simple daily habit is scientifically proven to bring more joy and happiness into your life. It makes you be more appreciative and focus on the positives rather than the negative things that might be happening around you.
So.. how can you make this tradition into a daily ritual?
Invest in a journal. This is the very first step to make it a daily routine. Look for a notebook that you like, it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive but make it yours. Add notes, images, or any other elements that you feel a connection to. You’ll tend to invest more time in it if it visually appeals to you.
Set a goal. There are really no rules and everyone is different. Set a realistic goal and be honest to yourself with the things that you’re truly thankful for. A good goal to start with is listing at least 2 things you’re grateful for. If you’re feeling gloomy, you can start by being grateful for showing up to yourself and dedicating time to your journal.
Make it simple. Start with things like your home, good health, family, career… or maybe smaller things like the coffee you had that morning from your favorite coffee shop, the nice weather, or for your fitness class you were able to attend at your lunch break.
Keep it visible. Keep your journal somewhere where you’re present frequently so you won’t forget. Some suggestions are your nightstand, home desk, coffee table, etc.
Turn it into a routine. Set a time of your day to dedicate 5-10 minutes to it. Some people find it helpful to do it in the morning to set their mood and intentions for the day. Other people prefer it at night to release any stress and remind themselves of all the good things they experienced during the day.
Pair it with something that brings you joy. Use this time to dedicate it only to yourself and the things that make you feel good. Some suggestions are your favorite song, a scented candle, a cup of your favorite tea infused with CBD. CBD may help with anxiety and stress relief, which may help you clear your mind and focus on the positive side of things.