5 Ways to Thrive at Thanksgiving

Inject some joy back into the holiday—pesky in-laws and all.

Each year, Thanksgiving invites us with its promise of gratitude and togetherness. But often if we’re not careful, it ends in gluttony, irritation, conflict, and consumerism. Here’s a few tips to maintain the spirit of the holiday.

Thriving-at-Thanksgiving-2015

Don’t feed your boredom.

Thanksgiving can keep going and going—and going (sigh)—with food of every stripe arrayed in big piles and bowls. It’s been a long month, you’re tired, and maybe feeling out of sorts around in-laws and semi-distant relations. Stuff yourself to fill the gaping void? Don’t. It ends up hurting a lot. Breathe deep instead, and savor every bite you eat.

Dodge the dogfights.

Extended families make strange bedfellows—and tablemates. “Little” Jimmy is now back from college with annoying ideas and a girlfriend he’s slathering over, and tipsy Uncle Elbert (sweet Aunt Jean’s third husband) bellows about how climate change is a bunch of BS. Don’t go there. Deflect conflict. Stick to topics all can agree on. Cute baby, right?

Think generously.

In-laws you never quite clicked with, estranged siblings, relatives who treat you like you’re 12, lengthy bouts of teeny talk, folks whose political views disturb. Ah, such a great opportunity to love one another during this holiday—flaws and all. Our human family is a cornucopia, Celebrate it.

Take a polite portion.

A host is bound to offer you a big bunch of something at some point—their homemade fudge, a face-sized piece of pie, a big fat sweet salty thingamajig. Take a dainty portion, say thanks, and move on. If someone overfills your plate, don’t feel obligated to eat it.

Find quiet time for yourself.

There’s a pull to always be out there with others doing things, but you probably need some rest. Take it. Pause to practice a little mindfulness. Boycott the invitation to make Thanksgiving the start of the buying season. Appreciate the quiet rhythms of nature and some time when you can just be.