It’s here again: Time to create the ideal Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving-the perfect meal, the perfect family and the perfect memory! Everyone smiling, happy to be together and anxious to eat a sumptuous fattening meal. Oh oh! Isn’t this your experience?
Reality: there are expectations of having to attend more than one family event, much of the food offered is not on your diet, who sits where is usually good for some hurt feelings, there are arguments regarding which football team should win, and there is too much to do and not enough time! You look forward to the imaginary day and hope that this year will be better but you have a sinking feeling inside before the day even come. All is not lost. Here are five tips to make this year the best yet. These work whether you are the guest or the host!!
1. Visualize the Day Ahead of Time. All good athletes know that you see the end result before you start the game. You can do the same thing. Take a few minutes for a few days before and on Thanksgiving Day to visualize a fun enjoyable day. See the people, the table, the food and yourself enjoying, laughing, eating, and appreciating. Be as creative as possible in seeing everything the way you want it to be. Feel the joy, the satisfaction and appreciation for a great day. Do not underestimate the power of this technique. Ask any pro athlete how they prepare for a win and you will hear how they see and feel the win ahead of time!!
2. Prepare Conversation. Think of three or four “safe” topics for communicating with anyone. Movies, events, past fun times, interesting work activities-or something you know another is interested in. Be ready to start and/or redirect a conversation so that if something gets a little tense you will be prepared.
3. Breath Deep. When you feel yourself getting uptight-refocus on your breath. You can do this numerous times before the day, during the day, and even while talking to that always grumpy complaining relative! They don’t need to know that you are using your best relaxation technique in order to keep talking to them!!!
4. Create an Ally. Choose one family member who will be your ally-you can go to them to talk with or laugh with during the day. They will rescue you from Aunt Mary’s old story about Uncle Joe. Your ally is watching out for you during the day. Your ally is willing to help with last minute details. You are there for you ally also. If you are on a diet, your ally will help you hold yourself accountable in a gentle presence. Ask for help.
5. Laugh. This is the greatest tool of all. This can be used before, during and after the day. We can make ourselves laugh at any time if we try. If you need to excuse yourself during the day-find a bedroom or restroom-close the door and laugh. The louder the better, but you can do this quietly also. Just the experience is what is important. Lots of endorphins and chemicals get released when you laugh!
Using these tips can help make this Thanksgiving not only one in which you survive but also that you enjoy. You will also assist others with having a special memory whether you are the host or the guest! May this be the best Thanksgiving yet!