Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It’s an opportunity to come together with our loved ones and family to give thanks for the year. It can also be an overwhelming time for many – cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, parties, being social. And let’s not forget: All. The. Food.
We can easily lose track of what the holiday is about and the next thing we know, it’s passed us by. This Thanksgiving, I put together some quick tips to help us all experience more thankfulness, ease and happiness.
Mindfulness around Thanksgiving can be such a beautiful experience. There are some really simple things we can practice that will cause shifts in how we show up to the holiday. When you prepare the food, do it with love. When you eat, be mindful of the experience you’re having by enjoying the taste, smell and how it fills you. Honor the togetherness of your family and loved ones, no matter what differences may exist. You are connected to it all. Take notice. Being mindful of everything that is happening around you, tuning into even the sounds, will create a unique experience for you.
The best gift we can GIVE to anyone, anytime is our presence. This goes beyond Thanksgiving, but what a beautiful place to practice the art of being present at our family gatherings. Maybe this means you leave your phone in the car or power it down. Perhaps you take a break from social media. This could mean not getting involved in all the hype around Black Friday because more “stuff” or making this more important than quality time can take you out of the present moment. Or maybe it’s just listening intently in your conversations with the intention of being fully there, instead of responding or being preoccupied or distracted in your thoughts. Be all there. Be all in.
I’ll be running in a 5k tomorrow morning for a local charity called St. Matthew’s House, which helps those in need, who are homeless or in recovery from addictions. It feels good to do something kind for a cause and to give our time to helping people. Try to do a few nice things for others that you might not normally think to do. This could be serving at a charity. It could just be helping cook, cutting up someone’s food, opening the door for people, feeding someone, donating, or going out of your way to make sure someone else feels special today, including family members you may not normally be so nice to. :) Kindness goes a long way and it always comes back to you. Be kind. A little kinder than necessary.
This goes without saying on THANKSgiving, but I think so many of us forget this practice in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Say a prayer, write it down, tell someone – however you need to do it, be sure to express how grateful you are for the things and people in your life. When you put your gratitude out into the universe, it knows what to give you more of. Taking time to recognize your blessings and see how many things you have to be happy about will lead to more of those same things making their way to you. Be grateful for what you have and you will become a magnet for more.
Don’t obsess over food.
All. The. Food. It’s easy to get anxious when this time of year comes around. We break our diets. We are surrounded by food. We tend to eat more than normal and this can be really hard for some that are hard core dieters or might even have unhealthy relationships with food. The best advice is to allow yourself some grace this week. You have within you the ability to always get back on track. You can let yourself off the hook a little without obsessing about not sticking to your meal plans or counting calories. Being mindful and graceful about your food will help you make some peace with your plate. So, have the gravy. Have the stuffing. Have the piece of pie. One cheat meal never hurt anyone. Cut yourself some slack this week.
Savor the moment.
It’s so important not to rush. When we rush we miss so much of the magic. Savor the moment this Thanksgiving. This means eating slowly so you can really relish in how delicious it all is. It means slowing down with rushing around to get everything done or feeling overwhelmed that you’ll forget something. Remind yourself that this is time that we can never get back and the goal is to spend time with your loved ones. Appreciate the moments and memories and maybe let the things that would normally bore you begin to thrill you because you are paying attention. And trust that everything will work out just as it should. Staying open to the little things can trigger a series of tiny miracles that you would otherwise miss if you’re moving too quickly.
Respect your limits around over indulging.
I’m all for indulging. I’m a foodie at heart. But I also realize that the holidays can be an excuse to over eat, over indulge and take on unhealthy behaviors. I used to go out the night before Thanksgiving and get absolutely trashed. It was the perfect excuse to binge. Some binge eat, I binge partied. Until I realized that this wasn’t serving me and I wasn’t respecting my limits. Binging in any form isn’t going to bring you peace or thankfulness. There is a healthy way to indulge and an unhealthy way. Know the difference and if you feel vulnerable, reach out for support. We want to have a healthy and happy holiday experience while listening to our inner guidance around what is appropriate for us.
This is something I learned a long time ago. As you are eating, in particular, pay attention to when you take your first deep breath. This is the body’s signal that the stomach is full. So many of us, myself included, eat way past this first deep breath. See if you can pay attention to this during your meals and become more aware of when you are full. Breathing and learning how to incorporate mindful breath in your life can create calmness, awareness and can also dissolve stress. If you have a moment when you feel a freak out coming on, take 5 deep breaths and recenter yourself. The oxygen and pause to breathe will immediately change your energy. This holiday, don’t forget to breathe.
Make space for rest.
This can be a busy time of year. There is much to be done. People to see. Events to get to. Shopping and sales to tend to. Don’t get so caught up in the “going” that you don’t allow yourself sometime to rest and relax. Cat naps and food comas are two of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. Let’s be honest, if I stay in my PJ’s for a day, I consider that a success. But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I couldn’t slow down and before I knew it, I’d turn around and not only would Thanksgiving be over, but I would be left feeling exhausted. Carve out time for yourself to snooze, kick back and enjoy your time off from work and commitments. Resting is a way to recharge your spirit, your strength and ironically helps you get more done in the long run because you replenished your energy levels. Be easy. Rest well.
Wishing everyone in the MAB tribe a wonderful Thanksgiving. THANK YOU so much for being part of my family and for supporting this mission. I cherish your presence and I’m so grateful to share my life, inspirations and teachings with each of you. May you feel lighter, happier and more thankful now and always. Namaste beautiful friends.