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How to Thrive on Thanksgiving (Not Just Survive)

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I really think you’re going to appreciate this month’s blog post. Just in time for the start of the holiday season, we’re talking about how to best manage all that sneaky (and sometimes…not-so-sneaky) holiday stress that gets stirred up this time of year.

You know–the kind of stress that gets triggered by food, family, money, expectations, and generally just being pulled in 17 different directions for the next 45 days.

We’ll do another installment of this conversation next month, but this month will be all about how to manage your Thanksgiving stress.  Because the more we know HOW to manage that predictable Thanksgiving stress, the more we can really tune into what this day is all about – gratitude, human connection, and really living in the moment.

To start, how do you want to FEEL on/around Thanksgiving? The answer to this question should drive everything else you think and do this month.

What happens is we let other people’s expectations or the traditional holiday expectations or even the expectations we place on ourselves distract us from our own needs and feelings surrounding Thanksgiving.

And then we wonder why we always feel anxious / overwhelmed / melancholy / exhausted on a day that’s roots tie back to connection and gratitude.

I’m not saying you should feel connected and grateful on Thanksgiving (because that would just be another expectation, right?). What I’m saying here is – get clear on exactly how you want to feel this year on Thanksgiving FIRST – before you do/commit to anything else.  

After you get clear on how you want to feel this month, I want you to make a list of all the expectations that hinder that feeling.

Then I want you to consider ditching some or all of those expectations, or setting boundaries so other people’s expectations don’t become your expectations.

Finally, I want you to identify the things that are non-negotiable for you to feel the way you want to feel this week. And then prioritize those (even if it means disappointing someone else).  

For example – do you need more sleep this week, do you need help cleaning your house before company arrives, do you need to skip making that pie from scratch so you can watch the parade Thursday morning? Moral of the story – make your needs and feelings a priority this week too.

Because here’s the truth, your job is to OWN your holiday experience, and this includes owning how happy you feel (or don’t feel).

What I notice happens during the holiday season (to even my most confident and empowered clients) is that we turn our power over to other things/people.  We allow other things/people to dictate how happy we’re “allowed” to feel.  We allow other things/people to trigger us and ruin the day.

It’s time to stop giving other things/people power over how we experience this month.

I know this feels easier said than done, but that’s also part of the problem – we make it harder than it actually IS to stop this cycle.

All we really need to break this cycle is to get clear on how we want to feel this month and then practice protecting that feeling.

For example, if your goal is to feel more peaceful this month – then it’s YOUR job to figure out how to work less, disengage from negative relatives, and say no to 7 of the 8 things pulling you in different directions. 

Nothing and no one else can make you feel a certain way unless you allow it. So get crystal clear with yourself on what you’re allowing and NOT allowing this month, and get ready to enjoy your holiday season!

If you’d like extra support in learning how to manage the upcoming holidays with more enjoyment and less stress, contact Lisa Eaton Therapy to get started today.