5 ways to keep your peace, and be extra grateful this Thanksgiving.
The holidays are upon us and it’s seriously my favorite time of year! I was telling my mom just today why I love Thanksgiving so much. Matt and I are busy all the time, and with the end of the school semester right around the corner, we are spending a lot of extra time studying and trying to balance our family too! We are in serious need of some quality time to just be present and appreciate one another, the people in our lives, and the experiences we’ve had this year. Thanksgiving gives us permission to stop. For me, that is one of the greatest things about it!
As an adult, I have learned by experience how overwhelming the holidays can be. With the things I have done wrong, I learned what to do right! I pulled some of these tips from my mental health toolbox and some are new that I am choosing to try out for the first time this year.
Be around those who bring you joy
Choosing who you want to be with for Thanksgiving is probably one of the most important decisions you will make to protect your peace. You, nor your children are going to be excited about thanksgiving at granny’s with Pessimistic Patty, Boastful Barbara or Overbearing Oscar.
What I am about to say may come off harsh, but I’m just going to say it because it’s important. Just because someone is family, doesn’t mean you need to give up your peace to keep the peace. Choose to be around people who bring out the best in you, make you laugh until your stomach hurts, reminisce on memories, encourage you through whatever stage of life you are in, and maybe even cry a little!
One thing that fills my soul and makes me feel warm and fuzzy is being around people who you can be authentic with. I have been to dinners where old relatives or acquaintances are asking what I have been up to all these years, and a lot of times have I felt like I needed to fluff my life up and make it seem like I was doing more “successful” things with my life than I actually was. Now that I am more content with who I am and my journey, I don’t care what my life “seems” like to an outsider. I know now, I am exactly where I need to be and I am proud of who I am. The people who I choose to spend Thanksgiving with this year know the real me, enjoy being around me, and love unconditionally.
Plan ahead to avoid overspending
If you are someone who loves hosting thanksgiving dinner but doesn’t know where to stop spending because you get so excited, this one is for you! Every year, I always make a list of our thanksgiving meal ingredients and do my best guess at the cost. I will usually give myself $15-$20 wiggle room. Last year to stay on budget, I ordered my groceries online and picked them up at Walmart.
Not only did this keep me on budget, but it was also a great way to check off my list to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything and it saved me a trip to the store! I’m that person in the store that will see holiday treat ideas while shopping and I feel so impulsive to buy all the things, so planning ahead really saves me a few decisions of regret!
Journal about the things you are thankful for
I am a big fan of journaling (this blog is my version)! It can be therapeutic and healthy just to get all your thoughts and ideas out on paper. If you haven’t journaled in a while, the week of Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give it a go! Starting the Sunday before, write one thing you are thankful for each day and why. Reflecting on all the positive experiences, people and things you have going on in your life can bring a greater sense of appreciation for all you have been blessed with and it gives you a moment of peace before the big day really begins.
Divide and conquer
If you are anything like me, you are one to take charge and do all the planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning on your own. Although this is an admirable trait, it’s a recipe for major anxiety! One thing I’ve learned since becoming a new mama is to ask for help more often. One of the hardest things I have had to do is give up control of how I do things and let someone help out and do it their way. I think what bugs me most is when I ask Matt for help and he will do certain tasks way differently than I would and it can take longer for him to accomplish just one thing which drives me nuts.
I have gotten better at letting go and have him do his thing because, at the end of the day, we get the same result. Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it be your spouse, kids or even your guests. Let your kids cook and clean up their rooms. Let your guests bring a dish, drinks or plasticware to save yourself from doing the dishes! I am sure they would much rather have you ask for help than watch you running around anxiety-ridden during the dinner party.
Do something kind for someone else
One of the greatest things we can do as a society is to serve others. It is so beneficial for everyone involved and during the holiday season, it gives the older and younger generations hope for the future. I’m not going to say how to serve but I would challenge you in doing something kind for someone you wouldn’t normally go out of the way for. This way, you are impacting someone genuinely in need and the meaning is much greater than if you did something kind for a child or spouse which is probably more common.
A few gestures you could do to serve others are taking the trash to the curb for your neighbor, watching a friends kid(s) so they can go holiday shopping, bring a hot coffee/cocoa to the mailman, volunteer to hand out blankets to the homeless, going to work in a soup kitchen, or buying someone else’s groceries while at the grocery store.
Serving others gives us a greater appreciation for our blessings and can help you self reflect on the things you spend your time or money on that could make a bigger impact in someone else’s life.
I hope these tips have given you some new ideas to practice during your thanksgiving week so you can protect your peace and be immersed in this joyful time!
Lots of love,