Life is busy—between work and everything that makes up our personal lives, we often neglect to take time to rest and reflect. As someone who is always on the go and/or faced with a long to-do list, I definitely struggle with this and I know I’m not alone. While “taking a break” is meant to be a time away from all of the noise and daily demands that drain our energy, it sometimes feels like another item on the list that is just clumped in with all of the other demands. It takes a bit of mental coaching to obtain a healthy outlook on slowing down enough to really rest—and with rest comes time to reflect.

While November and December are daunting months because of the holidays, there is an urge to reminisce that comes with the end of the year—the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. It’s obviously great to look/plan ahead and focus on future goals, however, it’s also important to look back and take account of what the past has taught you up until this point. What is something you have overcome in the past year? What have you accomplished this year? How have you grown? These are all great questions to ask yourself as you take time to reflect.

In addition, reflection goes hand-in-hand with gratitude. What have you been thankful for this year? With Veterans Day this month, I am especially thankful for the men and women who have served in the armed forces of this great country and dedicated their lives to protecting our freedoms. We take our freedom for granted every day because we don’t know what it’s like to not be free. Freedom is a beautiful thing, and we should never stop fighting for it—whether that is on a battle field or in a courtroom.

I’m also thankful for the people in my life, whether that be family and friends, the women in my Bible study group, the folks at my gym, or all of the amazing clients, readers, staff, and fellow business owners I’ve formed relationships with throughout the 30 years of running the magazine. Who are you thankful for in your life and, even more importantly, how do you show them you’re thankful for them? It’s easy to say out loud what and who we are thankful for, but real gratitude happens when it is put in action. As John F. Kennedy said:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

An honorable way to express gratitude for the blessings in our lives is to give back to those who do not have the same fortune. Omaha has so many amazing nonprofits that provide services and resources for people in need. From veterans to children, there are individuals in our community who need help and support.

Following Thanksgiving is #GivingTuesday, a global movement of generosity. I encourage you to give back on this day and be a part of inspiring hope in our community. In the same vein of supporting local nonprofits, I urge you to shop local as well—especially as you start to buy gifts for the holidays. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community. If we want to keep them here, we have to do business with them. Strictly Business features many of these wonderful local businesses month to month in the magazine. So flip through and take note of the names and faces you see.

I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving, and I hope each of you takes time to rest, reflect, and show gratitude before the end of the year.