The holiday season is a very exciting and much anticipated time. We often look forward to the friendly and caring company we will be surrounded by, as well as the intriguing gifts and tasty food. As a college student, I often get caught up in looking forward to getting back to my favorite restaurants and receiving certain items that I have been hoping for as gifts. As exciting as the holiday season is, it is important to take a step back and enjoy our company rather than our "things," and show those around us how grateful we are. Here are a few ways to practice gratitude this holiday season. 

1. Exercise

grass, exercise, Friends, squats, two girls, workout, outside, outdoors, working out
Julia Gilman

Those of us who are healthy and have the ability to be active are incredibly lucky. Take the time to remember this by taking part in activities that better your overall health and state of mind this holiday season. Get active with the people you appreciate in your life: go on a walk with a family member, run a 5k with a friend. 

2. Meditation & Yoga

yoga pose, girl, stretch, Yoga, namaste, Blue
Julia Gilman

Yoga classes are the best of both worlds: not only does one get a great workout, but the meditation incorporated within the practice is great for our mental health and overall state of mind. I always leave feeling significantly happier, as well as more mindful, aware and thankful. Yoga and meditation teach us to let go of the little things that do not really matter, and focus on all of the incredible and important aspects of our lives, which is a helpful reminder during the holiday time. 

3. Make a Sweet Treat for Someone 

chocolate, blueberry, cookie
Spoon Csu

A large portion of the thrill surrounding the holiday season is obviously all of the incredible food. Take advantage of all of the seasonal recipes and make something new with a loved one, or surprise a friend with your holiday creation! There are so many tasty holiday dessert recipes on Spoon, you're bound to find the perfect one.

4. Volunteer

Angelica Pan

Many of us are very fortunate in terms of our access to food. The holiday season is all about giving, so a great way to fully embrace giving back this holiday season is by volunteering. Whether this means volunteering to collect and package canned goods, or donating a few clothing items, philanthropy within the community is beneficial for everyone, and often leaves us with the feeling of immense amounts of gratitude.

5. Send a Spontaneous Message to a Friend 

smile, Friends, Laugh, Ocean, Summer, outdoors, Sun
Julia Gilman

Luckily, most of the holiday season is spent away from school and instead, at home with family and friends. However, this means we are often distant from the close friendships we have developed at college. Sending a spontaneous loving message to a friend you cannot be with during the month away is an admirable way to show gratitude. 

Incorporating some of the suggestions above into our daily lives can help create a healthy and thankful mindset that will drive happiness and a sense of appreciation. As we get caught up in all of the exciting aspects of the festivities, seek to generate acknowledgement and appreciation this holiday season.