Can you believe it — Thanksgiving is just a week away! Although there is so much to love about Thanksgiving, in my conversations with clients this past week, it’s clear there is also some anxiety around the Big Day. And I get it. Because if every day is spent thinking about food and building a better relationship to it, a day that is famous for overdoing it can create a lot of questions. Like how much is too much? And how do you just enjoy if every other day there is so much mental turmoil around food? And how do you get back on track right after? And what about all the calories? I hear you. And I have some thoughts. So I’ve compiled a few little tips to help with the big day.
1. Imagine how you want the day to feel heading into it.
Ok, so based on the question above, it’s clear that a lot can go wrong with food and Thanksgiving. But I challenge you to also think about what can go RIGHT. Over the course of the next week, use the time leading up to Thanksgiving to imagine how you WANT the day to go. How do you WANT to feel on Thanksgiving? What do you want to focus on? If you could CHOOSE, how would you feel when the food was passed around the table? What kind of presence and ease would you have? How easily would you allow yourself to move on? To focus on the people in the room? To hear your family’s stories? So often, we get lost in what could go wrong and what’s happened in the past. But if that’s all we focus on, that’s all the possibility we open up for the future. Instead of bringing that intention to the day, choose fresh this year. Choose how you want to feel throughout the day, practice feeling it and leaning into it throughout the week, and any time anxiety creeps in, shift your focus back to what you want the day to be like. It might not be perfect, but it’s within your choice to choose a new moment, any moment.
2. Focus on the GOOD.
If part of you feels like that’s great, but easier said than done, one way to snap out of the anxiety spiral is to keep turning your mind back to the good. A positive and negative thought cannot co-exist at the same time. One always wins. So if you feel yourself getting lost in your mind, bring yourself back into the moment. What do you always LOVE the day of Thanksgiving? Maybe it’s family around a table, no matter how quirky they may be. Your nieces and nephews. The smells in the kitchen. Being in a warm home, when so many others aren’t as lucky this week with the wildfires. How quickly things are changing, and will never be quite like this year. Train your brain to enjoy the moment, so it can get lost in that instead of concerns about calories, carbs, etc.
3. Choose the meaning you assign to it.
So you ate five pieces of pie. So you had an entire plate of food. So you had one day where your healthy eating went out the door and you WENT CRAZY. If part of you panics about that, check in with yourself: what is the meaning you are giving to this? If it’s a negative spiral of guilt and shame, try to choose a different meaning. That you enjoyed a holiday with friends and family. That you can eat healthy every other day this year if you want to, but you had ONE day where you weren’t worried about perfection — so what, and good for you. That you should be PROUD you let yourself enjoy and practice living in moderation. So much of the battle with food exists in our brains, but the good news is it’s the ONE area in life we can learn to control and set up in a way that serves us.