This past week and as we head into the holiday season, it has been all about turkeys here in the US. I mean green bean casserole. It was all about the casserole. I mean giving thanks! It’s about being thankful!

Whenever I talk about burnout, you hear me talking about gratitude. Why is that? What’s the connection? Practicing gratitude regularly can help prevent burnout.

The holiday season can quickly and easily lead to Mommy Burnout for all of us. It’s just A. LOT. Inserting one tiny moment of thinking about, saying out loud, or writing down something you are grateful for each day can make a big difference in making this busy season more enjoyable and ward off that burnout.

text: don't just give more attention

Brene Brown shares her research on gratitude and joy. If you aren’t a Brene Brown fan, thanks for stopping by but you are welcome to go now. Anyway- she predicted that she would find that happier people are more grateful. It seems obvious- when things are going swimmingly you are happier therefore you have more reasons to be grateful.

But hold on…

The actual research showed the reverse. The people from over 11,000 pieces of data, who labeled themselves as joyful had something in common: regular gratitude practice.

Calling it a gratitude practice sounds like a big to-do. It just means you pause and think, say, or write something you are grateful for each day. If you like to journal, it could be a longer process for you. If you aren’t a big writer, it could be a 30 second thought for you.

One way I teach burnt out moms to practice gratitude is to habit stack. You’ve already got a ton of habits and routines in place. Why add one more? That creates more work. Instead stack a moment of gratitude on top of something you already do every day to make it easier.


To habit stack a gratitude practice, think or say one thing you are grateful for each day while you:

  • Brush your teeth
  • Wait for the coffee to brew
  • Sit on the toilet (yes I’m serious)
  • Drive to work, carpool line, the Starbucks drive thru, etc
  • Tuck your kids in to bed
  • A certain time on the clock like 12:34 or 1:11 or something easy to remember for you
  • Anything else that already happens everyday!

Want to take this gratitude habit stacking idea to the next level? Involve your whole family! Gasp! Whatever do I mean?  Just go around the dinner table and everyone say one thing they are thankful for that day. Big or small- doesn’t matter. It’ll change each day depending on that person’s mood. For younger kids or kids with less communication skills, give a choice. “What made you happy today? Playing toys or eating snack?” Once you start doing this, you’ll find your kids are the ones reminding you to say your happy thing or what you’re thankful for each day at dinner. Kids love routine and are excellent habit stackers!

So take your gratitude beyond this week. Habit stack a quick moment of gratitude into your daily routines. It’s shown to have real mental health benefits and only takes a minute. Why not try to do it more? Especially through the busy and sometimes chaotic holiday season.

I’ll leave you with this great quote by a Jesuit priest that says, “It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.”    (Brother David Steindl-Rast)

For more ideas on practicing gratitude and other positive parenting strategies, send me a message or book a free brainstorming session here https://www.parentingwithaba.org/coaching

I’m always happy to help!