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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things
    Photo credit: wgbhmorningstories (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    November 24, Thanksgiving.

    Today in the US it’s a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

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    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

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    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

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    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

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    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on January 25, 2021

    What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

    What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

    It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way.

    If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new.

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    What should I do today? No ideas?

    Everything listed here is something you can easily do no matter where you live, and even on a tight budget! Try out one of these 30 new things today, you’ll be happy you did.

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    Try Out These 30 New Things To Do Today

    1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.
    2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Italian or Portuguese?
    3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk or Blues?
    4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
    5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
    6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean?
    7. Visit your local library and borrow some books for the weekend.
    8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
    9. Visit a local museum or art gallery and view their latest exhibition.
    10. Learn a new skill–what about sewing, gardening or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
    11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.
    12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
    13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
    14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
    15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala or Sweden?
    16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
    17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
    18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
    19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
    20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
    21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one.
    22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
    23. Attend a play at your local theater. Support your local theater and have a fun night out at the same time.
    24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
    25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!)
    26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
    27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have!
    28. Invite some friends over for a BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food.
    29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, tennis or swimming.
    30. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. You’ll have a great time, and save some cash and the environment all at the same time!

    Now that you’ve read my list of 30 new things to try today, my question for you is, “what new things will you try today?”

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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