Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday. Why? FOOD!!! I must have been a dog in my last life because I am food motivated, just like Koda.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we’re rushing to prepare for the wave of guests, the immense amount of food, and to have a pristine clean home.
And we start to forget that Thanksgiving isn’t the turkey and trimmings or having the perfect home. It’s a time for reflection, family, friends and love. –All adorned with enough food to feed a small army. YUM!-
For my fellow anxiety warriors, Thanksgiving is the start of the stress holidays. Anxious ladies feel much responsibility to make Thanksgiving just right. We plan, prep, and are left exhausted by the time everything is done. –If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place!-
This year, I want to help you manage your anxiety by creating a plan for Thanksgiving self care.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some thoughtful Thanksgiving self care ideas that will help you embrace the spirit of the holiday while also nurturing your mental and physical well-being.
So, put your paws up (or your feet, if you prefer), grab a warm cup of tea, and let’s embark on a journey of thanksgiving self care. You deserve it, and your friends and loved ones will appreciate a refreshed and relaxed you!
Why is Self Care Important?
Every day you are practicing little bits of self care and you don’t even realized it.
Think about it. When you wake up in the morning and you feel gross, sleepy, and nutritionally empty; you practice the self care types by fueling your body, showering, and doing your routine to get yourself moving.
That’s self care!
Self care helps your mind and body do a job WELL. Lack of self care leaves you depleted.
And holiday prep is a time when you want to do a job well or your anxiety will run amok.
Don’t worry, I’m going to give you some Thanksgiving self care ideas to help you have a stress free holiday meal!
RELATED POST: What is Self Care & Unlocking the Benefits of Self Care
How Can I Practice Self Care During Thanksgiving?
Planning Ahead To Anticipate Anxiety Flares
Making a plan will help you anticipate where you need a little extra help or care.
I always start making my thanksgiving menu in October. I have all my ideas and my head count finalized by Halloween. You might be thinking “Wow, that seems really early, or doesn’t it feel like you aren’t giving Halloween it’s own attention?” NOPE. Because for me, planning ahead is how I keep anxiety from taking over.
Last minute planning and procrastination leads to battling the crowds doing their late Thanksgiving grocery shopping, feeling hurried and rushed, and unsure of how things will go.
Planning helps you mentally and physically prepare for Thanksgiving, by allowing ample time to work on issues that arise.
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How To Plan Ahead at Thanksgiving:
- Create a timeline.
- Make checklists.
- Set reminders for prep and cooking.
- Prepare for the unexpected.
- Visualize what an enjoyable Thanksgiving would be instead of the perfect one.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine so you aren’t jittery and nervous from over stimulating your body.
When you plan ahead, you can mentally prepare for challenges to come. Instead of having your nervous system assaulted with overwhelming thoughts and feelings. You can start working through them and reduce your anxiety.
Make Thanksgiving a Team Effort To Reduce Stress
The absolutely biggest mistake you can make when living with anxiety is refusing to accept help!
Anxiety thrives on isolation. It makes us want to prove ourselves to our family, friends, and even strangers. Anxiety tells you “hey, if you can’t do this alone, you’re not good enough.” But that’s not true at all. You are only setting yourself up for failure.
My favorite Thanksgiving was a simple baked chicken with potatoes and carrots, a box stuffing and a store pie. Yup. A low effort meal that left me with a ton of time and energy to enjoy my guests! And everyone LOVED it!
We’re not all superheroes. If you are, please contact me so I can get all your secrets!
Humans are social creatures and we’re not built to go it alone. Humans didn’t get to be the powerhouses we are by not working together when it counts!
Use your support system to help you make a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.
Don’t Be Afraid to Have a Simple Potluck Thanksgiving. No one should have to cook alone for more than their household. It’s just exhausting. You feel worn out and can’t enjoy the day.
It’s a holiday, not a chore day! It’s supposed to be fun!! Ask everyone to prep, cook, or bring something to the dinner. Even family and friends that travel more than 30 minutes can bring something simple like drinks or desserts.
Don’t be afraid to make your Thanksgiving a cooking party. Maybe everyone has new recipes they have been dying to try. Make it a fun experience that you and your guests will want to repeat every year.
The entire guest list comes over and everyone preps, cooks, bakes and has a blast in the kitchen. And the young kids can all play together! We did this at my grandparents, and it’s one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving so much!
The worst part of Thanksgiving is the chores for sure. Have everyone pitch in to deal with the dishes, trash, and leftovers within minutes so everyone can enjoy each other!
Thanksgiving is about togetherness! Enjoy it and be with those you love!
Aim for Enjoyment, not Perfection
Perfectionism is Anxiety’s twin sister and she’s just as mean.
Being a perfectionist is robbing you of enjoyment. Trust me, I use to be a people pleasing perfectionist that would ditch sleep & skip meals just to take one more pass on an already amazing project.
Perfectionism keeps you in a cycle of “Am I good enough” thinking. And I know how detrimental it is. You spiral into thoughts of “if this isn’t perfect, they won’t enjoy it”. WRONG!
Your family and friends love your Thanksgiving meal because it was made by you, not because it was perfect.
Think about it. As parents, we love our children’s creations even if they are not Michelangelo masterpieces. Why? Because they came from the heart.
Allow your kids to help you, teach them about cooking with love and family. Get in food fights, teach them to measure and pour, have fun and make memories! The memories are what people will remember. Not how the pie looked 20 years ago.
Do you want them to remember the tension that you felt trying to achieve perfection, or the joy you had sharing your time and attention along the way.
Perfectionism leads to more anxiety, stress, procrastination and burnout. None of which is good for your mental health.
Embracing imperfection allows for a more compassionate and fulfilling journey.
So, let’s remember that perfection is an unattainable standard, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.
Mistakes are how you learn and grow and find yourself along the way!
Keep It Simple
Accepting our limits is an act of compassion. When we recognize our own needs and boundaries, the Thanksgiving holiday becomes more enjoyable.
This especially applies to not overdoing it on the holidays.
Do you desire a stress free Thanksgiving that you can enjoy and not need time to recover afterward? Yes! We all do!
Thanksgiving self care allows you an opportunity to focus on what we can achieve and excel in. Not pushing past our boundaries, and causing stress and overwhelm.
–This year, my family will celebrate a super simple Thanksgiving since my leg is broken. Now is not the time for my family to have a huge Thanksgiving plan.-
What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Maybe you don’t know how to make a turkey, but you make an amazing chicken or ham. That’s wonderful! Don’t know how to make a pie? Buy one. We’re not all 5 star chefs, and Thanksgiving doesn’t require us to be.
Would having Thanksgiving decor bring joy to your life, or would it just be one more task on your to do list.
You are not required to have the perfect table settings, cook a world class meal that would make Gordon Ramsey jealous, or spend a ton of money hosting a dinner to envy for years.
Thanksgiving is about relationships! Cultivate and grow yours this Thanksgiving.
Ultimately, practicing self care during Thanksgiving will help you cultivate a healthier sense of self awareness. And what happens when you become self aware? You reduce anxiety, and start leading a more balanced and happy life!
When we embrace our limits, we free ourselves from the burden of unrealistic expectations and unnecessary stress. By accepting our limits, we cultivate a healthier sense of self-awareness and create space for growth within our own unique capacities, leading to a more fulfilling and balanced life.
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Create a Quiet Space that is Off Limits for Personal Self Care
Holidays are not a time to forget about your own personal needs.
If you are like me, you love being social but your easily overwhelmed. Even the most social of us need a break from time to time.
Dedicate one room away from the party to self care, for you and all your guests. If anyone needs a break, they’re welcome to go to the room and relax.
I really appreciated this idea at a New Year’s Eve party I attended as a new mom with my four month year old baby. The hostess had a room away from the party for me to go to and nurse and get a break from the noise and chaos. Since that day, I have adopted this practice ever sense.
In this room, provide a mini self care kit that will help relax your 5 senses. Need help creating one? Check out my tips for creating a self care kit!
Here are a few ideas for your personal self care retreat:
- Bring in soft soothing colors and fabrics to help the nervous system decompress.
- Have a pen and paper available for those who want to journal or brain dump. Grab these mini notebooks so your guests can protect their privacy.
- Print out our FREE Self Care Plan ACT Method Self Care Plan Worksheet to help re-frame negative thoughts. Check it out on the bottom of the With Love, Me Homepage!
- Keep filtered water available to re-hydrate.
- Have a few medications for headaches, stomach pain chewables, and soreness available to guests who need some physical self care.
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What to Remember About Thanksgiving Self Care
Thanksgiving is about more than just food and a pristine home; it’s a time for reflection, family, friends, and love.
For those battling anxiety, holiday prep can be overwhelming.
By keeping it simple and accepting our limits, we can focus on what truly matters: cultivating relationships.
Additionally, creating a quiet self-care space during the festivities can offer respite when needed.
This Thanksgiving, prioritize self-care to reduce anxiety and enjoy the holiday’s warmth and love.
Share Your Favorite Thanksgiving Self Care Tips in the Comments!!
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