Before you know it Thanksgiving will be upon us. In less than a week we will sit down once again with our families (biological and/or chosen) and gorge upon a feast until we need to unbutton our jeans and snooze on the couch.
Thanksgiving officially launches what people refer to as “The Holiday Season” which means it is the beginning of what is often the most stressful time of the year.
I’m here to tell you – it doesn’t have to be that way!
Consider these top tips and you can enjoy your meal without all the stress and heartburn.
Keep It in Perspective
It’s just a meal. It is a chance to be with people you care about. It is not a contest nor is it a measure of your personal worth. Lives do not hang in the balance. So, take the pressure off of yourself! If you’re hosting the meal, nothing has to be perfect. No one really cares and if someone is that filled with criticism, it is their issue, not yours; chances are nothing you do could please them anyway.
Start now. Don’t wait until the last minute when everyone with a pulse is roaming the grocery stores like predators on a hunt. If you can buy ahead of time – do it. Even better is to buy local and from the little guy. Then you not only know where your food is coming from but you support local farmers as well. Give yourself permission to ask for help where you need it whether it is assistance cleaning or having guests bring a dish to share.
Mind Your Budget
While Thanksgiving is not nearly as bad as Christmas when it comes to breaking the budget, it is still important to be mindful of your money. Now is not the time for the finest wine known to man (unless you have a family of oenophiles) and you most definitely don’t need a 30lb. turkey to feed a half dozen people. Take it from someone who once made 10lb of potatoes for 6 guests — people can only eat and drink so much in one day.
Focus on What Matters
The whole point behind gathering at Thanksgiving is just that — to give thanks. Keep an attitude of gratitude and reflection in the forefront of all you do. If you can do that, you will effortlessly flow as little petty things crop up. If I can survive a call to Roto-Rooter (backed up sewer) the first time we ever hosted our families for Thanksgiving, you too can cruise through the bumps in the road.
Experience People as They Are
You’re not going to change anyone. It’s a fact. The same quirks and pitfalls you’ve experienced from the same people year after year are not going to suddenly vanish. If you love them, enjoy them for who they are and don’t let them push your buttons. If you feel your angst rising, pretend that you are watching the day unfold as if it were a movie on a screen. It’ll allow you to be an observer and be present to the day without all the drama.
You don’t need to eat like you’ve never seen food before. There will be leftovers and you shall be fed. While I’m not suggesting you deny yourself or follow the strictest of diets on this day, overeating is a sure fire way to feeling lousy physically and emotionally. Enjoy the food, the drink, and the goodies but do so consciously knowing you get to choose how you feel.
Savor the Moment
Tomorrow is promised to no one. Celebrate who you are and those around you on this day because you never know if you’ll have the opportunity to gather together next time around. This tip isn’t meant to depress you or make you anxious about the future – just the opposite. If we are fully present in the moment and share how we really feel with those we care about we get to live a life free of regrets no matter what tomorrow brings.
If you follow these tips you can almost feel the stress melting off of you and making room for you to enjoy the juiciness of this winter holiday.
Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, works with women who feel angry & frustrated with having to compromise who they are in order to get what they want. She coaches them to learn how to be comfortable in their own skin anytime, anywhere so they can live life by their own design and remain true to their personal integrity. To learn more visit her website at www.thepaulagcompany.com