3 Things NOT to Do on Thanksgiving (And 3 Things You Should Do)

While the idea behind Thanksgiving is celebration, gratitude and love, sometimes the thought can create a pinch in our neck.

Here are a few ideas to help you cope with stress, enjoy the day, and embrace the beauty of the holiday.

1. DO ask for help!

So often we are afraid to ask for help. We view it as a sign of weakness instead of seeing it as a sign of strength.

Asking for help is accepting that we are here for each other, and allowing ourselves to reap the benefits! It's a sign of trust, strength and acceptance. If you are hosting the holiday, ask each of the guests to bring a dish, or let them know that you are happy to cook, but would appreciate help cleaning up. Just knowing you will have help will alleviate some stress, and allow you to enjoy what the holiday is all about.

2. DO recognize what you're grateful for!

This holiday is about gratitude, and we certainly all got a forced dose of that recently! Whether or not you were directly affected by Tropical Storm Sandy, you no doubt felt empathy for those involved.

Taking the time to write down what you recognize as a blessing in your life is a bonus in two ways: (1) when we recognize that our happiness is already here, we are rewarded with a feeling of calm, satisfaction, and trust. (2) When you focus on your blessings, you get more of them.

What we think about we bring about, and I know I appreciate any blessing that comes my way!

3. DO trust that everything is as it should be...

It’s so easy to allow one crinkle in our plan to ruin our day. The holiday is meant to be a celebration. So remember that if something goes awry, it is OK. There is always a blessing in every situation. Find the silver lining. If a guest cancels at the last minute, don’t let it ruin your holiday.

You make better pumpkin pie anyway :) If your turkey doesn’t turn out as you intended, the sides will be divine, and no-one will leave hungry. If you are not near family or friends, use the day as one of reflection, and be grateful for your time to yourself.

You may discover how wonderful your alone time really is. Everyday is filled with surprises, so if you happen to get one on the holiday, take a deep breath, trust that everything is as it should be, and count your blessings.

1. DON’T be a martyr. 

Doing it all yourself may seem to be a hero-like quality, but the truth is you may be setting yourself up for disappointment and resentment. Being too independent at the holidays can lead to a lot of stress, and not much reward.

2. DON’T focus on who or what is missing. 

If usually Aunt Sally comes to Thanksgiving, but this year she decided to go to cousin Joe’s, that’s OK. So often we spend the holiday complaining about who couldn’t make it, or what we should have cooked, that we miss the boat on who is in our company, and how delish the dinner is, and how grateful we are to have it!

3. DON’T be afraid to say no. 

So often we tip toe around our feelings because we don’t want to disappoint someone, or we think it will please another. Don’t be afraid to be authentic and honest about your feelings. Being authentic is actually the most loving way to engage with others, as when we are dishonest about how we really feel, it always comes back to bite us in the butt!

It’s OK to say no to an invitation if it is not convenient for you to house-hop, or if you have alternate plans. Be honest with yourself about how much company you can handle for dinner, and who’s company you feel comfortable in on a holiday.

If it does’t feel right, it isn’t right, so don’t try to push a square peg into a round hole!

Overall, enjoy the day, take it easy, breath deeply and reward yourself for your efforts. Remember, we can’t give away what we don’t have. So be kind to yourself, and your kindness will spread to others. Be loving to yourself and your love will spread to others. Be grateful for your circumstances and respect yourself and you will in turn respect and be grateful for others. Many blessings!

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