Why, it’s the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year!
Not quite in that space?
If obligatory feasting (that requires a whole lotta cookin’!), the onset of a month of hustle and bustle and incessant family in company doesn’t sound absolutely lovely, you’re not alone.
Here’s a quick guide to not only get you through it, but perhaps, even enjoy the long weekend regardless of delayed flights, snide remarks, burnt casseroles or any other stressors along the way.
Thanksgiving Super Stress Out #1:
“Friends are God’s way of apologizing for your family.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer
The impending doom of family time is commonly dreaded among many of my clients this time of year. It makes sense…Nothing can get you going like a couple of blood relatives who have been hanging around only for your entire life with a seemingly selective memory only of your mistakes.
The good news is, friends can be an excellent buffer when it comes to any family gathering. This is why I highly recommend that you include friends in the festivities any way that you can.
Why? Families tend to let sleeping dogs lie when friends are around. Opinions are colored a little more lovingly and voices raised among friends is just taboo enough to keep the peace. If you have a particularly difficult family member that you know will be in attendance, inviting a few friends over can keep the annoyances to a minimum.
With our buds as buffers, and with the good cheer of friends present, a family member is less likely to act like a nut or even bring up a sore subject.
Thanksgiving Super Stress Out #2:
“Here I am at 5 o’clock in the morning stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt.” -Roseanne Barr
As if three daily meals and incessant snack requests aren’t enough…now, we have to make an enormous meal for almost everyone we know and love. Sheesh.
I was at my friend Diane’s house for a pretty large dinner party. I went into the kitchen to see if she needed any help. When I asked how it was going, she reported that she wasn’t sure; confiding in me that this was the first time she had attempted this particular recipe. Surprised, I asked, “What if it doesn’t turn out?” She looked at me blankly, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Then, I guess we’ll order a pizza.”
I wanted to jump up and down clapping, whistling and shouting, “Bravo! Bravo!” This is why Diane is one of my very favorite people. She nailed it.
It’s ALL in the way you think about it.
Thanksgiving Super Stress Out #3:
“As a man thinketh, so in his heart is he.” ~ James Allen
The truth is, you HAVE a CHOICE about how you are going to think about something. It doesn’t seem like it because we’re typically all wrapped up in being right or getting other people to agree that we “have a right” to be upset. But, seriously?
Who wants the rights to “be upset”???
Not me. Not anyone, really.
Yes, Drunk Uncle may have said something inappropriate, and mentioning to him that you think it so and asking to remember that there are kids around may be a successful endeavor, but you will not likely change his behavior (and certainly not his personality!) by ruminating, complaining or hanging on to the event for dear life.
I mean, really? Whose day are you ruining???
What are you hanging on to? If you can’t let go forever right now, can you at least decide to just let go for Thanksgiving?
You can. It just takes a little practice. A little acceptance if you will…
I ripped the following concepts out of Tolle’s life changing book, A New Earth.
Let me break these down for you Stress Therapy Style…
Most crankiness comes from refusing to accept the situation that you’re in and can’t change. Everybody knows someone who’s philosophy is, “if things don’t go my way, I’m going to be crabby.” Further, no one really wants to hang out with that guy, so don’t be that guy!
Someone’s flight may be delayed and coming in right when you were planning on serving. But is it possible to just accept this or must we complain and carry on about how unfair and inconvenient it is?
What serves you best? Take some words of advice from the coveted and worshipped (at least at our house anyway) Queen Elsa and
“Let it go.”
Disappointment on the whole is a waste of time. It’s a bold statement, I know, but once you roll with it, I know you will wholeheartedly agree.
You may also consider this: Sidestepping disappointment may actually allow the powers that be to create what you did want. Not buying it? Fine. I can dig it. If you can’t find how possibly this could detour could actually end up serving you, at least move on to acceptance.
If you’re open and accepting, you may stumble upon the biggest stress busters out there…enjoyment and enthusiasm.
Maybe you weren’t planning for the polar vortex, but you can borrow grandma’s goofy parka and go sledding…you could enjoy it. Don’t resist it. Often, we feel like we must be good at something to do it with or around others. Be the novice your kids are experts at being. Don’t just watch them go for it and try everything with zero inhibitions (or experience!), join in the fun!
Enthusiasm literally it means “the God (entheo) inside (iasm)”. The etymology of the word thus points at its divine origin. What I call, your “Little Perfect Part.”
Find something that gets you going, a light with delight. Ice box pie. Jenga?? Make it a tradition so you always look forward to something that is really yours. I mean, we’re killing it every year at Wishbone Olympics…
What is your tradition going to be?
I’ll be in touch to help you through the duration of the holiday season. All leading up to the finale of the “New Year” and all of the delusions that come along with it.
You know what I mean, right?
Ok, here it is: I hate to be the one to break it to you, but since I’m also the one who can help you, I must tell you: Nothing magical happens on January 1st.
More bad news: If you’re big on the master procrastination scam of putting off everything until “after the holidays,” it’s important that you also are aware that no magical time slot opens up after January 1st either.
But there is a bright side! ME! If you’re open to change, and I so hope you are, I can help you ditch New Year’s Resolutions for good and actually change and become who you truly desire to be…just hang with me.
Much Love and Light to You,
CHERI AUGUSTINE FLAKE, LCSW
The Stress Therapist
Author of From Honey Do to Honey DONE!