One way to positively influence our mental and even physical health is to feel and regularly express gratitude – for the big blessings and the countless tiny ones that often go unnoticed as we live our busy lives. This has been a practice of mine over the last several years – especially since starting my business. That’s why I try to find the good and reflect on it whenever possible, especially when I’m going through a particularly challenging time or feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

So, naturally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. An entire day devoted to gratitude – I can’t imagine anything better!

This year, I’m feeling more grateful than ever, because my newly empty nest is about to be full again. And that’s just the beginning of it. When I dig deep, I find there are truly so many things to be thankful for as I reflect on this year’s highs, lows and everything in between. Here’s my annual gratitude list:

  • I’m grateful for my work family, i.e. the talented, hardworking, fun Mekky Media staff members who impress me with their commitment to our clients, our company and each other every day. We held our annual “Mekkygiving” potluck last week, and it brought me such joy to see these awesome humans gathered around the table. How on earth did I manage to build such a wonderful community of people and bring them together? I am in awe of the last six years. We’ve recently hired some new PR superstars. I’m proud they chose Mekky, and thankful for the ability to continue to grow my company and add new talent.
  • I’m grateful for our long and growing list of clients, the trust they place in us and the many ways we’ve been able to help them grow and succeed this year. Of course, we’re always honored to continue to work with our long standing partners. It’s an added blessing that we’ve welcomed so many new clients in recent months and have even ventured into new industries. It is always such a privilege and reward to do the work we love and make an impact in the many businesses we serve.
  • I’m grateful for an especially adventurous year full of travel and new experiences. It is tough for me to stay calm in a crazy jam-packed life but travel allows my mind and spirit to soar. At the top of the list is my once-in-a-lifetime, 10-day journey through Greece. I was also able to explore Cartagena, Colombia, for the International PR Network’s annual conference, along with many new PR friends from across the globe. The ties I built there will be forever. And Sam and I had fun traveling to watch our kids play their sports, while connecting with other college parents who have become close friends. Of course, this is all made possible by having the ability to work from anywhere AND a stellar team that I can always count on and trust whether I’m in the office or not. My next adventure is an epic family trip over the holidays which has been over 20 years in the making. More to come on that!
  • I’m grateful for my renewed focus on my mental and physical health this year. In the early years of my career and starting my company, I was never able to take time for myself, and my physical and mental health suffered. You would think waking up after surgery to learn I had cancer would have snapped me into changing my lifestyle but it did not immediately do that. But this year, I’ve made it more of a priority to set aside real time to destress. For me, this can mean morning meditation, walks with my buddy Champ, dinners and lots of laughing with a few close friends (whom I’m also so very thankful for), traveling and, of course, taking quiet moments to reflect on my life with gratitude. I am grateful for health coaches and trainers like Christian Koshaba of Three60fit and Jen Soos of Divided Labs who continue to support and inspire me. And Terry Opalek, my intuitive coach who has taught me how to tap into my intuition to live the life I dream of. These last few months have been especially busy as we work hard to close out the year strong, but I am more aware now of what I need to be the best leader I can be by taking care of myself first. It has been a journey of massive self-discovery.
  • And I can’t leave out my rock – my husband Sam. We’ve enjoyed lots of quality time together the past few months, and it has been really nice. For my friends who are dreading their kids leaving home, my advice is to give it a chance – you might discover some unexpected joys. BUT, having said that, I am endlessly grateful for and proud of my two kids. I can’t wait to see their faces and have them and their friends coming and going through our front door again. I’m also grateful for my wonderful mom, who is my biggest supporter and the life of the party wherever she goes. I’ve been lucky to have so many fun adventures with her this year, and I look forward to lots more.

I encourage you to make your own gratitude list this Thanksgiving, if you haven’t already done so. Write it out and refer to it often, especially as the holidays get busy and stressful over the coming weeks. And if you’re going through a tough time, as so many are, don’t stress too much about your list. Even something like “a hot cup of coffee,” “a beautiful sunrise” or “a favorite song on the radio” are worthy of gratitude, and singling these things out might give you a little peace and comfort when you need it most.

Thank you, friends, colleagues and supporters, for reading my blogs and social media and for sharing your own comments and journeys along the way. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and grateful Thanksgiving!