We may wish for the Norman Rockwell version of Thanksgiving, family smiling and laughing joyfully as they surround a table with a big ol’ turkey.
But let’s be real.
Someone will say something provocative. And then someone replies in anger. Old slights resurface. New ones leave a fresh cut.
Tensions run high when people who normally don’t spend a lot of time together come together for an extended stretch. And it can be a long visit.
But do you want to rewrite your stories? Do you want to change the usual response? It starts with focusing on ourselves.
Focusing on Surviving and Thriving through the Holidays
Here are 4 steps to making the most of the next 48+ hours:
- Focus on your breathing. When you find your thoughts racing, stop yourself. Breathe in slowly, for three counts. Breathe out even more slowly, for six counts. Repeat a few times.
- Choose some breath prayers and mantras to help guide your thoughts. A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat, to help you keep a particular focus: I only speak love. I am blessed beyond measure. I am joyful even under stress. These can seem awkward if you’ve not done them before, but keep with it. You’ll be amazed at how it changes your focus. A breath prayer is a way to pray without ceasing in times of stress: Be with me, Lord. Keep me strong. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight.
- Take part in a simple pleasure that you enjoy. The more demands on you the next few days, the more important it is to practice self-care. Do something that brings you joy. Is it rising early and having a cup of coffee on the porch before the rest of the crowd gets up? Is it taking a walk, either alone or with someone you would like to spend some extra time with? Or can you curl up with a good book for a few minutes? Especially if you’re working hard to do for everyone else, do for yourself too. You’ll bring more joy to those tasks if you cultivate your own spirit and happiness. So be a good steward of you.
- Pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking. It’s easy to embrace the “Yay, it’s Stretchy Pants Week!” excitement. But too much sugar, too much caffeine and too much alcohol will leave you run down and depleted. So make conscious choices, starting with drinking plenty of water (64 ounces or more). Start your day with a healthy breakfast. And at your big meal, take an extra spoonful of fresh veggies and only half of the mashed potatoes that you really want. Make choices that don’t completely derail you. For some, one slice of pie is the start of the end. So know your limits. Don’t beat yourself up if you stretch them just a tad. And simply get back on track with the next meal.
So this long weekend, or really any time, we cannot control how other people act, nor what they say. We only can control how we respond to those things. And how we respond depends on how we care for ourselves.
What are your tips?
So how will you care for yourself this weekend? What ideas and plans do you have that might be helpful for others to hear? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Welcome! I’m Amy Hoogervorst, an integrative health coach, offering grace and space for a healthier you. Thanks for reading. If you’d like to receive my periodic updates and blog posts directly in your inbox, please subscribe! Know a friend who would like this? Please share.