4 Simple Steps to Enjoy Thanksgiving

The Holiday season is upon us!

The turkey has been bought, the decorations are out, and the eggnog is flowing! Everyone is excited to be with their family and start creating new holiday memories! Okay, well, maybe not everyone is looking forward to this time of year…

Are you one of those people dreading the family get-togethers?

There are many reasons you might be feeling this way. Maybe you have just gone through a divorce, there might be some tension between you and your family, you might not even be allowed to see your family to create those memories. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one. Whatever the reason, if you just aren’t feeling very thankful this year I want you to know that you aren’t alone!

Very often we are expected to be a part of the holidays with our families and feel all the joy and thankfulness we are inundated with. We might even feel some shame and guilt about not wanting to participate in the gatherings if we aren’t feeling the “Holiday spirit”. So, rather than skipping the Thanksgiving dinner all together to avoid those awkward situations, we go anyway and end up feeling uncomfortable and that we need to “survive” the evening.

I want you to THRIVE during Thanksgiving this year! I know you can do more than just survive! Here are a few tips to help you enjoy Thanksgiving a little more and help reduce your discomfort.

4 Tips to Help You Enjoy Thanksgiving With Your Family

1) Boundaries.

Establishing and maintaining your boundaries is the most important tip to help you through thanksgiving dinner this year. It’s also one of the most important tips for life in general! If you are going through a break up, not able to see or bring your family to dinner, or if you’re grieving for any reason, you’ll want to maintain healthy boundaries. If you don’t want to talk about it, then don’t. Find a healthy and effective way to communicate your boundaries.

An example might sound like; “Aunt Mary, I understand you’re curious about my relationship and how I’m doing. Right now I’m not really sure how I’m doing, and I’d rather not talk about it tonight. Lets just be with family and enjoy the evening”. Notice how I don’t avoid her or give in. I am able to knowledge Aunt Mary and her curiosity, but I don’t allow the conversation to go any further leaving me feeling upset and uncomfortable. When we set healthy and consistent boundaries we find peace and contentment.

2) Plan Ahead.

Don’t get caught flat footed! If you know you are going to a family gathering where people may ask you some questions that you don’t want to talk about, come up with a plan on how you will address this. Planning ahead about what to say and how to handle potentially uncomfortable situations can help reduce your anxiety. With anxiety under control, you can begin to enjoy your time at the family gathering!

3) Be open to new experiences.

It’s important to remember that this year may not be like last year, and that’s okay. Different doesn’t mean bad, it’s just different. When we start to compare today’s experiences to past experiences, we bring the past into the present. This attempt to relive the past prevents us from enjoying the people, conversations and interactions that are in front of us today. If we can be open to new experiences we can start to find true peace and contentment.

4) Keep it positive.

During your next Thanksgiving party, and you begin to notice yourself becoming anxious, angry or sad, remember the thought-feeling-behavior connection. What we think we feel, how we feel is how we will behave. If we think positive, we feel positive, and our behaviors will reflect positivity. Being mindful of our thoughts is the first step toward mastering emotional regulation. With our emotions under control, we have deeper conversations, more meaningful relationships, and more satisfying experiences. Keep those positive thoughts flowing!