How I found gratitude this season

cheering woman open arms at sunrise seasideI’ve been known to be a bit of a grinch around the holidays. I’m just not into the commercialism, expectations, pressures, the drinking, partying and overindulging. I don’t have kids so the childlike excitement and wonder isn’t a big part of my life.

When the carols kick in, the red and green decor explodes and the retail marketing picks up, I basically withdraw and tune out.

And then there usually comes a turning point around December 19th when I say, “okay it’s happening whether I like it or not” and so I dig deep and don some merriment and cheer.

This year I found myself feeling a little different early on in December. I was slightly surprised, confused and perplexed as to why my grinch-like demeanour wasn’t sneering as loud as usual.

I didn’t mind the Christmas carols as much. In fact, I was searching out holiday Songza playlists. I didn’t turn the channel when Christmas ads came on the radio. I was entertaining the idea of entertaining some friends over the break. We bought a little Norfolk pine tree. I even felt the urge to attend a festive concert or play of some sort!

I paused. I questioned. What was different this year? What had shifted? What was the impetus for this new found joy and lightheartedness.

After some reflection and contemplation I came up with the following five reasons for my gratefulness this season:

1.    My work is meaningful – I worked with a business coach this year and took my health coaching practice to a new level. I’ve been able to combine my life experience and skills with a passion for health and wellness to serve people with health challenges. And through my programs and services I’m able to support them to achieve significant improvements. This is incredibly rewarding and brings a deep sense of purpose.

2.    I’m minimizing stress – Taking my business to a new level brought excitement, opportunity, increased revenue and stability. It also brought some additional stress. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect, to meet tight deadlines, to over deliver. This fall I ended up overwhelmed and stressed. I made some changes and implemented some strategies to deal with the stress including breathing exercises, meditation, restorative yoga and sleep. I’m thankful to have reduced the sense of urgency and restored some inner calm.

3.    I got out of my exercise rut – An earlier post details how this happened and what I did. I’m moving six days-a-week and noticing so many benefits. More energy, feeling stronger, less aches and stiffness, and good sleep. Having daily movement and feeling the positive effects, both physically and mentally, are definitely positive changes I’m extremely grateful for.

4.    I’m getting closer to the best food plan for me – As I say to all my clients, there is no one perfect diet for everyone. We need to be constantly experimenting and trying new things to find out what approach to food works best for each of us. After cutting out refined sugars earlier this year, I am now tweaking my ancestral approach to be less protein heavy, more alkaline, and I’m even adding back in some beans and tofu. I feel blessed to be living this journey of health and wellness.

5.    New friendships are developing – An intention I had set earlier on in the year was to cultivate some new friendships with like-minded individuals. And while I didn’t develop an action plan to do this, as it turns out, I connected with a couple special women and I’m very appreciative of their friendship.

When I look at this list, I see shifts happening in many areas that are so important to my overall well-being – areas that align with my values and goals. In coaching we call it the Circle of Life.

The Circle, or Wheel, of Life contains all the different areas of your life including career, finances, spirituality, relationships, creativity, health and others. If some areas are not as fulfilling, you’ll feel off or out of balance. If you’re feeling satisfied in many of the areas you’ll be feeling more peaceful and harmonious.

I share these reflections, not to boast about my accomplishments, but to inspire you to look at the areas of your life that might not be as satisfying as they could be, and to find gratitude for the areas you are fulfilled in.

As the year comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the last 12 months and set some intentions for the new chapter ahead.

What are the good things that happened to you this year? What are you grateful for? Respond in the comments below – I look forward to reading them.

* This post was originally published in the Herald Community on December 22, 2014


  1. Teri Hall on December 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Michelle: I see so many aspects of myself in all that you wrote. I look forward to working with you in the New Year on the sugar detox. My body is sending me messages that this is the course I need! Sat Nam

    • Michelle on January 11, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      HI Teri. I’m so excited we’re going to get to work together! 2015 is going to be a great year!

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