5 Tips To Staying Sane and Dare I Say It, Serene, During This Holiday

By Lily Leiber, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT

How often have I heard in one form or another, “My parents just push my buttons!” And invariably in one form or another, my reply is always the same: well of course they do, they inserted those buttons!

For the lucky few (The Brady Bunch?), Thanksgiving is a walk in the park on a sunny day, but for many of us, Thanksgiving can, err, be unpredictable — some moments may be like a balmy walk in the park while others are more like a
walk…up hill…in a hurricane blizzard. Below are 5 tips to help you relish in the sun, and pack accordingly for the proverbial rain so that whatever the weather, you can feel serene this holiday season.

1) Set an intention. Intentions are powerful. Every morning, before you get out of bed over the vacation, set an intention for the day. “Today, I will be flexible” or “Today I will be helpful”, or “Today I won’t take anything personally, even if it has my name on it.” Book-ending your day with a trusted friend can help. You can tell your friend your intention before and check in after the festivities are over to see if you were able to keep it.

2) Plan an escape route if you need some time sans en famille. Now if every year you’ve dreaded Thanksgiving with the family (which has felt like going uphill in the blizzard on a unicycle) then perhaps it’s time to set some healthy boundaries and enjoy a Friends Thanksgiving instead. However, if you’re choosing to celebrate with family, then a shorter escape might just do the trick. Maybe this means you make an excuse to get out of Dodge by going to the grocery store or gas station. Maybe this means when Uncle Ben is asking about when you’re going to meet a nice man for the umpteenth time, or Auntie Pam begins a political debate that makes you want to incarnate Popeye’s punch, excuse yourself to “go to the bathroom”, to “check on something”, to whatever gets you some time alone. Even a five-minute break can do wonders for cooling off and reclaiming your zen.

3) Don’t sweat the small stuff. In a day, a week, a month, are you going to be piping, steaming mad that your brother, who had one drink too many while setting the table, dropped the casserole you labored over? Or that sweet Auntie Pam has abhorrent political views? Much of the time, the answer is no.

4) Speed-dial a friend. Sometimes alone time is not enough. You need a fresh perspective. Someone who gets it, can spot the crazy making from a mile away, and cheer you on throughout your journey through the holidays.

5) Last but not least, breathe SLOWLY and remember that this too shall pass. The good, the bad, the ugly. Take care of yourself and take some time to relish in gratitude on this special day for the small stuff: your 8 month old niece smiling wide as her pink ribbon wobbles on her tiny head, laughing with your sister about the time she thought it was a good idea to give you a Madonna haircut, and of course, digging in to that amaaaazing home-made pumpkin pie.