Thanksgiving is upon us and while we often embrace the
opportunity to unapologetically overindulge on turkey, potatoes, pumpkin pie
and the rest, we also struggle with perhaps the most challenging aspect to the
beginning of this holiday season…coping with the stress of spending time with
Many of us feel it.
That realization that all the baggage of your childhood is about to show
up at your front door, roam around your house for hours and potentially use the
opportunity to critique every choice you’ve ever made. Or what about the in-laws? You know those people who we are
indefinitely linked to by “law” and who judge us for not having kids or living
too far away or just generally corrupting their “perfect child”.
So how do we do it?
How do we get through this time without finishing off a bottle of vodka?
A good way to start is by trying not to beat yourself
up. Your thoughts and frustrations
are completely valid. You
are not a bad person for finding these circumstances difficult and if you start
berating yourself for your feelings you are doing the same thing to yourself
you fear your family will do to you.
This can be a tough time even for people who love (and get along with)
every member of their immediate and extended families. If there is the slightest crack in your
family armor the intensity of the holidays will magnify it. So give yourself a break.
Next, focus on caring for yourself. Eat the foods that keep
you energized and well nourished remembering that overeating (or drinking) will
only prove to feed your irritation and block your ability to deal with the
stress. It’s terribly difficult to
think clearly when your body has to work overtime to digest an excess of green
Try not to give up on your exercise routine. Even if you only go for a short walk
every other day, it keeps your blood flowing and the oxygen moving to your
brain. That’s very important when
you are working to keep things in perspective. As a side note slipping out the back door for a quick walk
around the block or a breath of fresh air is always helpful when the family
Don’t forget to spend quality time on your talents. Do
things that make you uniquely you. Carve out (no pun intended) time to be alone
to do the things that remind you of what an amazing, intelligent, creative
person you are. And don’t
apologize for wanting private time.
Everyone needs those precious moments to clear his or her head. If you
spend good quality time with yourself it will be easier to remember what a
great person you are when your dad is telling you the turkey is dry.
Most importantly remember that these insane people sitting
beside you at your holiday table have helped to make you stronger than you’ll
ever know and that’s worth being thankful for.