Holiday Series: Finding a Way to Give Thanks when Things are Difficult
The Thanksgiving Holiday is a favorite for many as it is about gathering together and giving thanks for food and counting the blessings that we have. It a great time to take a moment to think about the things we are grateful for… but what if things are difficult and you are feeling those feelings above all?
The last couple of weeks has brought anxiety and emotional stress for many people on a personal and larger societal scale around the election results. If you have any stressors in your personal or professional lives to add to that, overwhelm can become an all too familiar feeling. A holiday event on top of these issues may be a welcome event for some, but it may be adding to feelings of overwhelm for others. All in all I think it comes at a good time to help us remember who and what we are grateful for.
Here are a few tips to help you if it is feeling like a complicated time of connecting with others and giving thanks.
1 - Find a way to connect
If you are celebrating the holiday with people who are likely to be feeling the same way you do, celebrate them and their companionship. Take a moment to hug that person or say how you feel about them being there with you. On the other hand, if you are celebrating with family or people who may not be feeling the way you do, try to find something in that person that you can connect with… maybe you are both parents or have a similar sense of humor. Try to set aside your feelings just for a few hours to connect with people who may not have the same views as you do. And finally, if you are alone this Thanksgiving, spend some time connecting with yourself, sending some self-love and compassion to yourself this holiday.
2 - Rest your mind
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling like there has been information overload these last couple of weeks. It seems everywhere I turn there is an article or media in my face feeding me information and opinions. Take this holiday to take a good solid break from it. Leave your phone turned off. If the TV is on, go to another room. If a family member starts talking about heavy topics, excuse yourself to the bathroom. If you find yourself thinking about the election and wondering peoples feelings, give yourself permission to put it on the shelf and come back to it later. Take a short break from the land of information overload.
3 - Nourish Yourself
Thanksgiving is about sharing a meal and nourishing our bodies with food that we give thanks for. If it has been a difficult time for you lately, remind yourself that you deserve to fill yourself up with love and nourishment. This can come in the food you eat but also in the thoughts you think and the love you allow in… both from others and yourself. Take this day to practice being good to yourself and to others. You deserve it.
4 - Give Thanks
Take a moment either before your day starts or when your day finishes to write down a list of things you are grateful for. Gratitude is one of the most helpful practices when we are experiencing emotional difficulty. If you want to say it out loud to others, great. If you’d rather keep it to yourself, that's perfectly fine. However you do it, just find some time to do it.
As always, if you are having a difficult time, don’t be afraid to ask for support. It can be very helpful to work through some of your thoughts and feelings with a good friend or therapist. If you find you are having a lot of worry or fear, working with a therapist may be a good option for you right now. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. If I can’t help you myself, I will find someone who can.
Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!