Oh, Thanksgiving Day with it’s hours of food prep for minutes of consumption. It’s ambition for perfect memories mixed with the reality of family. It’s lofty goals of enjoying a day off work mixed with the labor of cleaning a house and setting a table. Thanksgiving can truly be a sneaky let-down if you are not careful and don’t have a plan. Lucky for you, at this 11th hour, I have just the plan that will not just get you through the holiday, but may actually leave you feeling happy, satisfied, and relaxed.
- Eat a Healthy Breakfast – So many people think they are saving calories by skipping breakfast so they can scarf down as much stuffing as they can come 4pm. Don’t do it. Not only will you be cranky the whole morning – snapping at your family, cursing your oven, etc, etc – you also SLOW your metabolism down. Eat breakfast, regulate your blood sugar, keep your metabolism ramped up, and keep your stress level down.
- Take Time for Yourself Before You Spend Time with Others – Spend a few moments in the morning working out, journaling, or meditating before you jump into the craziness of the day. Run in a Turkey Trot or find a yoga class. There are so many options the morning of Thanksgiving to get moving and clear your mind.
- Prepare Early- Before the family comes over, get your day laid out. Write a timeline of what needs to happen when. It will be easier for you to accept (and direct) help if you have it all written out.
- Be Present – When your guests start arriving, walk away from your preparations, even for just a minute, to really be present and greet them. Look them in the eye, welcome them to your home, really take in their presence before you rush off to baste the turkey.
- Include Others/Ask for Help – People like to be part of things, let them. Ask them to help lay out the table or start washing the dishes. You can also designate someone to ask everyone what they are grateful for or lead an activity with the kids.
- Create Space for Conversation – As you sit down for dinner, take the time to set the intention. Invite others to state what they are grateful for, share a memory or story, or remember a loved one who has passed.
- Taste Your Food – Do not shovel. Do not inhale. Instead, taste the food. Compliment the preparer. Breathe and eat consciously. Enjoy the flavors, the aromas, and the company.
- Take a Break – If you have been doing the heavy lifting all day, let someone else clear the table or get dessert. Keep the kids busy by having them plate the dessert and serve the adults.
- Get Outside – If the weather is nice, try to get everyone out for some fresh air or a walk. If it is not nice, think about playing a game. Move just a little after your meal to help the food digest and keep people from snoozing.