Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of gratitude, closeness with family, and lots of laughs. Often times it turns out to be filled with disappointment, loneliness, and sadness. Why? Because our culture—movies, TV, church, breed thick expectations around the holidays.
Here are tips on how to make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable:
Figure out what’s most important to you and focus on that. Is it having a meal with your family? Playing or watching football? Or surviving the day?
When I do this, I make sure I have control over the outcome as I pick what’s most important. I would not pick having all of my family for a Thanksgiving meal even though I’d love it if they were all there. This expectation would upset me when someone bails out. I can however decide to be loving and supportive to those who do show up and choose to make that most important.
Increase self-care. Why is it when we need self-care the most, we decrease self-care time instead of increase it? To increase self-care means increase your sleep, take your vitamins, exercise, meditate, take time to read your favorite book or just take time alone.
Visiting family is the best time to be at your best. If you have your needs met, you have a higher chance of avoiding family drama.
Let go of the need to be perfect. Loved ones will remember how you treated them and made them feel more than what you fed or bought them.
Remember there is no such thing as a perfect turkey, neighborhood, or tradition. Learning to accept things as ‘good enough’ is a much harder practice then it looks at first, but if you learn to accept ‘good enough’; years of life will be restored to you.
There are many other important tips to get you through Thanksgiving, but mostly remember it’s common to feel lonely even if surrounded by people. Others will always be disappointed and longing for something different. If you find yourself slipping into melancholy, the best way out of the funk is by being kind to yourself and lowering or letting go of expectations to enjoy “what is.”