Thanksgiving: A mixed bag of feels and experiences for a lot of people. If you’re going into a thanksgiving dinner and you’re coping with mental health difficulties, then this post is for you. Some tips that I think might be helpful for you include.
Much in the same way people who are making Thanksgiving dinner prepare for the cooking by providing themselves with enough time to set up everything for recipe making, you are going to do the same thing.
Your ingredients will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish tomorrow (i.e. survive the questions, fake it till you make it, not have a panic attack or crying spell, get through the dinner without collapsing into yourself, eating in front of people, and the list goes on).
Get yourself ready the day before or a few hours before by armoring yourself with some mantras, activities, distraction tools, and whatever else you’ll need for the big day.
SET AN INTENTION:
This one is very similar to preparation, but instead it’ll be a bit more internal. What is your intention tomorrow when it comes to the way you’ll treat yourself? For instance, my intention is to “treat every moment I have a difficult feeling or reaction with compassion”. Your intention can be whatever you want and something you can write down or just repeat in your mind a few times throughout the day.
If you have a person in your life, whether in your actual physical vicinity or someone you can reach out to via text, ask them if they would be willing to provide some type of support during the holiday. If they agree, come up with some specific boundaries or guidelines in how you’d like to have a supportive dialogue or what type of help you’re looking for.
I know in the past if I was struggling around the holidays, I’d talk to a trusted friend or partner beforehand and tell that person that I needed to at least be able to express my feelings via text, even if that person couldn’t text back right away. This gave me a sense of comfort and helped me feel supported just knowing that another person was available.
KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE:
Remember, this is just one day. You do not need to change anyone’s mind about their political beliefs, impress anyone, or participate in any conversation that you don’t want to be a part of. You especially don’t have to explain yourself, your feelings or mental health to anyone if you don’t want to. If you feel safe enough with the person you’re talking to, by all means, share away! But know that you have a right to your boundaries and can set them at will.
Self-care after an event like Thanksgiving is super important because it can help you relax, restore boundaries, and return you to equilibrium. I’m all about doing self-care rituals at the end of a long day; I think of them as a peace offering to my mind, body, and spirit. Come up with something you can do, even if it’s 10 minutes, at the end of the day if you can.