blog » November 12, 2018 by Renee Herren

Encouraging Mindfulness & Gratitude on Thanksgiving & Every Day With Stephanie Hernandez by Renee Herren

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4 months ago
Encouraging Mindfulness & Gratitude on Thanksgiving & Every Day With Stephanie Hernandez

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on what we are thankful for. Do you need ideas on how to show gratitude? Want ideas on how to help your family live more mindful? Are you looking for new ways to self-reflect?

We were excited to welcome 30Seconds contributor Stephanie Hernandez as our #30Seconds Twitter chat! Stephanie, founder of The Tiny Herbivore, is a blogger, Zumba instructor and coffee connoisseur. Stephanie shared tips on how to practice self-care, be more mindful and show gratitude even with all of the hustle and bustle we encounter each day.

Q: I noticed you post a lot about self-reflection on your social media. What does gratitude mean to you?

Obviously there’s things we’re grateful for that are a given: food, shelter, health. We’re all grateful for this. Gratitude for me means so much more than that, but also so much smaller. It’s about the little things that we overlook. It is about being present.

Gratitude is about the things we don’t think about enough of: the early morning sun shining through your bedroom, the warm socks your grandmother got you or your hot morning coffee on a winter day. The fact that we exist, and are able to experience all of these amazing things in life, little or small, is what I think we should be grateful for. Life is so fragile, and every moment should be cherished.

Being grateful for a warm home is great but that’s so general. Be grateful for the old fridge in your kitchen keeping your delicious food ready. Or your sometimes leaky shower for a hot shower. Breaking it down can bring you more happiness and bliss.

Q: What is mindfulness and why is mindfulness important?

Mindfulness is the state of being aware of your present moment while accepting your feelings and thoughts. I truly believe mindfulness has a direct effect on your ability to be grateful. We can all SAY we’re grateful for things, but do we really feel it?

Like I mentioned earlier, gratitude is about being present and aware. When we’re mindful, we can observe our thoughts and feelings when we’re thinking of something we believe we should be grateful for, like that hot cup of coffee.

Saying, “I’m grateful for food because some people don’t have it” can be too general – almost detached. Growing up, we were taught to be grateful for those general ideas, but I personally never gave it much thought until I started to them into smaller thoughts.

Saying to myself, “I love being able to hit the snooze button and stay in the warm covers for nine more minutes” makes me feel more grateful for this moment than if I said, “I’m grateful for a warm bed.” Make your gratitude more personal.

Q: How do you stay grateful and show your gratitude?

I know it may seem silly for some people to feel grateful for something as simple as, “My scarf this morning my best friend knitted for me,” but I promise you if you spent more time choosing more specific things, you’d feel happier more often. This is what I do.

I show my gratitude to others in the same way I stay grateful: the simple things. It can be buying lunch for a friend who helped me with a photo shoot, or buying an item from a friend’s handmade shop. In some situations, actions speak louder than words.

I feel like we live in a world where we’re so caught up in our own lives, we forget to acknowledge those around us, like the mailman who treads in the snow to deliver your amazon package. Leave him a little card that says, “Hey, I’m aware you exist and you rock!”

It’s not always about buying things for people. Some people just need to hear that you appreciate them. Tell someone how much you admire their hard work and how it inspires you. A simple gesture can really resonate with someone who’s secretly struggling.

Q: Do you have any ideas on activities I could do with my children to help them have a grateful heart?

  • A fun activity my parents did when we were younger was making chocolates. We’d pour the chocolate into molds, put the candies in jars and give them out to people we don’t appreciate enough. The mailman, our dentist or the local librarian.
  • Giving out candies or cookies to people we didn’t think about on a day to day would remind us that these people do a lot for us. Like the weekly garbageman, your local fire station or the daycare teacher!
  • One of my favorite things growing up was my mother would fill a huge plate up with Thanksgiving food, go next door and give it to our lonely next door neighbor. He’d decline coming over, but she never failed to bring up a big plate. It was so heartwarming.
  • DIY gifts are a great way for children to get learn about gratitude and appreciation. They’ll get really excited about gifting it to people! It makes them happy seeing their appreciation for the hard work your kids did!

Q: What are some ways I can give back to my community, family and even friends?

  • A great way to support your community is to shop small. This year, try and buy all of your holiday gifts at a local shop. Get lunch at the new deli that opened. Tip an extra dollar to your barista. YOU keep your town moving! Show them you care!
  • Along with your community, you may even have a friend or family who started their own shop, is a struggling singer, or a photographer. Support them buy coming to their shows, visit their shop, or promote their business on social media.
  • Maybe you have a family member who needs help with something around their home, like painting. Offer your help!
  • Even if they decline, the fact that you made the effort to offer your time to help them with something without expecting anything is amazing.
  • Have a local animal shelter? Buy a bunch of pet food, blankets and beds! Donate these items to them and I promise you, they will appreciate it so much. The volunteers work so hard to give these pets a good life and love any help! Great for kids to do this, too!

Q: Let’s talk self-care. Why is it important and what are some easy tips on how to take care of myself?

One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to acknowledge yourself. We’re always so busy thinking of the next task we need to do, we ignore our needs. Take a moment to just appreciate you are here in this moment.

Simple things you can do for yourself for your mental and physical health can be going for a walk around the block, baking yourself a treat or treating yourself to some new shoes. It’s like our way of showing ourselves appreciation.

Think of something you like to do, but don’t have the time for. This could be reading, painting, knitting, writing, etc. Now take the time to do it. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Give yourself a moment to be selfish.

I am a strong believer that you need to take care of yourself before you can be the best version of yourself to others. How can I be a good partner if I don’t take the time to take care of my own needs? It’s OK to be selfish for a second.

I see my best friend work so hard to be a super mom. She works all day, is a taxi for her family's busy schedule, and the list goes on and on. I remind her that if she doesn’t do self-care, she’ll wear herself out and cause unnecessary stress. TREAT YOURSELF!

Q: How can people learn more about you?

You can follow me here on Twitter at  @letinyherbivore and, of course, you can follow me at 30Seconds.com! You can also follow me on Instagram at @thetinyherbivore! Check out my website TheTinyHerbivore.com and my Facebook page

Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Can't believe Thanksgiving is already upon us! So excited to chat with you tonight and get in the right mindset for this holiday, Stephanie Hernandez ! :-)
Renee Herren
It’s slmost here! This chat is going to be a great one!

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