For many people, surviving thanksgiving year after year becomes more difficult. Feelings of and pain and anxiety are not new around the holidays. If this is you, you are not alone. It is upsetting that holiday self-care and survival tips are not talked about more often, when everyone knows that the holidays are difficult.
Thankfully, I am here to help you out with the 6 things you need to survive the holidays. It is so important to remember that creating a survival plan for the holidays are just as important as the other preparations that we are making.
1. Make A “Surviving Thanksgiving” Plan
All holidays require a plan. Some people like to keep their plan in their head. I challenge you write it out. Once it is written, we are more likely to get it done.
In your plan, it is important to incorporate the following
Your ultimate goal for the holidays
Do you want to eat, have fum? enjoy the food? Bring the family together?
What could possibly hinder your goal?
Is there a horrible uncle that makes jokes about mental health or that are bit rape-y and their entire presence could turn your day around? Jot that down.
How you will prevent the hindrance of your goal?
Then, I want you to plan out EXACTLY, how you will deal with this person. Will you not invite him, will you stay away from him? Will you call him out?
How your goal will be carried out to completion?
Precisely from start to finish? What are you going to do in order to complete your goal?
What is your coping skill/ Self care activity for when you get overwhelmed?
What will you do when you get overwhelmed? Will you take a walk? Put on your headphones? Go for a drive? Take the dog for a walk?
2. Set Boundaries
This NOvember, so “No” is the word to remember, and say it as often as you need to. There may be 100 little gatherings, and everyone you know may be having a party. You are by no means required to attend everything every event that everyone is having. In fact, you are not obligated to attend ANY of them. Surviving the holidays for you may mean saying “no” to all of the events and staying home alone to get a peace of mind. ”
3. Be With Who You Are Thankful For
Let’s be real for a moment, some relatives, we could live without. Some we are so far from thankful for. You are by no means required to sit around a table with these people pretending to be thankful for them, when them, especially if they were at any time manipulative or abusive.
Go be with your friends! At the end of the day, family are the people who are loyal to you. Relatives are the people who share your blood. Thanksgiving is about FAMILY! And believe it or not we have a choice in who becomes FAMILY! So yes, friends and be family and you are entitled to spending time with them over toxic relatives
4. Put Your Needs First
The holidays are a time of joy, but also pain. Sometimes, they bring up good memories, but sometimes they bring up painful hurt and traumas from our past. Sometimes this is the first year a special family member will not be attending Thanksgiving Dinner.
If this year is hard for you for any reason, and you feel like you need to take a time out, please do it! Do not attend that dinner, and do not pretend to be fine when what you really need to do is be alone and cry.
This is just an example, but whatever your need is, make sure that you take care of it and put it first. Remember that you cannot help anyone else, until your personal mental health is taken care of.
It’s not a secret that strong emotions can bring on strong emotions. Release them!
I suggest you find what you enjoy and express yourself doing that activity. If you like basketball, grab your cousins and go outside and dribble the ball around. Don’t have a hoop? Grab an empty (CLEAN) garbage can and make that your hoop.
If you like to ding, start the karaoke up. If you like to dance, get the electric slide or cha-cha-slide going! Whatever you need to do to destress, Do it!
6. Respect YOUR Traditions
The holidays are about traditions, but you are welcome to create new ones! Your journey is uniquely yours. It’s not going to look like the person’s next to you. You are more than welcomed than to change any tradition you do not like or that you think is absurd
Question of the Week
What did you do you wish you knew before you started planning your wedding?
Answer of the Week
How do you survive thanksgiving with toxic relatives?
Honestly? I just don’t go!
This answer came from a woman who is apart of my FB Group (Ladies Speak Your Truth). It is short sweet and to the point. If someone is toxic. you do not have to be around them. Save your sanity and just don’t go. As the post above mentions, you are welcomed to created your own traditions without them.
Feel free to join the group! CLICK HERE
Surviving Thanksgiving is about taking care of yourself, your needs and having fun. The holidays are meant to be filled with love and cheer, if it is not filled with those things, please reevaluate your traditions.
About the Author
Mish (Pronounced Meesh) Truth has always been a natural social justice advocate. She now holds BA in Psychology and will hold an MSW by May 2021.
She is is passionate about social justice issues and overall mental wellness. This includes knowledge on how to develop healthy relationships, and awareness mental and medical illnesses, and social justice issues.
Growing up in an urban, low income, community, she learned a lot before her time. She credits her success to her self awareness and desire for personal growth.
Her goal is to change the world by affecting at least one person, educating them, inspiring them, and then empowering them to go out and affect more change.
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As an extension of Mish Speak’s Mission, I created a Facebook “Ladies Speak Your Truth” Where women come together for
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