I just love Thanksgiving. The coming together, the gratitude, the food, the tradition, the love. But even with all this goodness, holidays can be so hard. Nothing spoils a plump turkey like loneliness, overwhelm, or family sniping. Here’s a teensy little holiday survival guide to get you back on board the gravy train.
If you’re like me, your T-Day holiday isn’t panning out as planned. Our dinner isn’t happening now due to emergency doggy surgery. My sister’s mastiff is recovering well, but we don’t want to excite him. With my guy back east and remaining family convening in another state, that means I’ll probably spend the day alone.
Don’t worry, I’ll take extremely good care of myself. Here’s how.
Holiday Survival – Set an Intention.
Take a moment to drop your to do list, your luggage, your last-minute preparations. Just breathe.
What would you like to experience during the next several days? Imagine your best possible holiday, whatever that means to you. Perhaps it’s all about deep connection to your people. Maybe it’s noisy and playful, filled with sledding, board games, and laughter. Or you might be exhausted and be thankful for a few days to veg out. How do you feel as you imagine it? Really notice all of your senses as you envision this ideal holiday. Notice your body and how it feels.
Take a moment, right now while you’re basking in the feeling of your ideal holiday, to set an intention. How would you like to act, eat, treat others during your holiday? How would you like to feel or treat yourself? What would you like to notice?
It’s that simple. Choosing a clear intention will help make whatever transpires more survivable, maybe even more ideal.
Your mind might object.
It might helpfully list all the ways your holiday will be hard.
I know. Sometimes holidays are the pits. Family dynamics, expectations of perfection, memories of people who are no longer here. But I hope you’ll remember your vision and the way it feels right now as you imagine it.
Once you’ve set your intention, release it. Or, as one of my mentors says, “Set it and forget it.” There’s no need to be vigilant about your intention, although you might want to reconnect with it for a few minutes each day.
One Thanksgiving, I set an intention to take little 10 minute breaks to myself, each day. I’d been away from family too long and I wanted to squeeze every single drop of love out of each moment, but I also tended to overdo it. Every visit I seemed to end up overwhelmed, overly sensitive, or exhausted. Those little self-care breaks grounded me and helped me to be even more present to the connections around me. They’ve become part of my daily practice and helped me survive many a hard holiday.
If you need inspiration, here are a few other intentions I’ve set over the years:
- Notice the ways I am loved
- Honor my passed loved ones and notice all the ways they live on within and around me
- Eat mindfully
- Choose to see others’ and my own quirks with appreciation, even fondness
What intention do you choose this holiday?
If all else fails or you’re looking for some PG-13 distraction, here’s my
Favorite Thanksgiving Movie:
I love Home for the Holidays so much that over the years I purchased DVDs for myself, my parent’s house, and Grandma’s, so that we could watch it wherever we celebrated. Of course, that was before Amazon Prime.
It’s about one of those families that puts the holiday fun in dysfunctional. Hilarious, painful, loving. It’s so crazy that I was nervous the first time I played it for my family of origin, but it’s become a family tradition. Just a few minutes ago one of my sisters posted on Facebook that it’s not Thanksgiving without watching.
Lemme know if you love it, too?
I hope your day and your holiday are wonderful.
Today and every day, thank you.
Thank you for being part of this community.
Thank you for being you.