In the United States, this week is Thanksgiving. For many Americans that means a bazillion food events, a million shopping trips, massive cooking and baking, and extensive face-to-face encounters with people like Aunt Maude who smells like mothballs and will NEVER admit you’ve done ANY good in your life, EVER.
Well. This year, I want you to tell Aunt Maude, “Thanks for your thoughts! Now, please pass the gravy”...without wanting to put her 89-year old ass underground, prematurely.
So I’m going to give you the tools you need to face ALL your Aunt Maude's and Nosy Sues and Obnoxious Uncle Bills. This year? Thanksgiving is going to feel GOOD!
These are just a few ways to keep your sanity this season:
Check Your Boundaries: And while politely telling people to mind theirs is always encouraged, what I mean here is SET YOUR BOUNDARIES in your mind before you open the door to leave the house or to let anyone in.
Ask yourself “What am I willing to tolerate this year? WHO am I willing to put up with? WHAT topics are 100% OFF LIMITS?”
Now, what are you going to do should someone push those boundaries? First, don’t engage or interact with anyone or any topic that crosses the boundaries you’ve set in your mind.
Politely walk away or say, “So, how was gall bladder surgery?” And redirect.
Yep. That means you are not required to answer or feel guilty for not answering. This is your life and your Thanksgiving!
Consider Your Expectations: So...if Aunt Maude is 89 years old, and has always been a battle axe, well, she’s not going to change. This is the way she’s always been, so you may need to adjust your expectations.
Just don’t set yourself up to be hurt, dismissed, abused, neglected, or assaulted this holiday season. If that’s even a potential, I’d love for you to either find a buffer, limit your exposure to Uncle Bill, or just don’t go! (Not going is TOTALLY an option! I like it alot and give you full permission to say, “Thanks, but we’re busy this year.”)
Just Keep Breathing: I mean this one very very literally. Anxiety sometimes leads the body to surface breathe or chest breathing. This amps up the anxiety in the body and increases the stress perceived by the brain.
So stay calm and in control at all times by using breathing techniques like square breathing, or putting your hand on your stomach and just breathing in until your hand moves and then exhaling. Then, there’s the blowing up the balloon method - hey, talk about a distraction - go sit with the kids and blow up balloons for them! The nosy ass adults won’t bother you at all, then!
Just pick a method that brings you back to center quickly so Aunt Sue doesn’t send you over the edge with her 90-year old opinions on a life she never lived.
My final word for you is to take a few moments and decide how you can safely, and in a healthy manner, decompress after your Thanksgiving events.
Check out the Decompression Sanctuary for that! It’s an amazing program filled with tools to help you find you again after holidays like this.
I truly hope this is a safe, happy, healthy and fulfilling Thanksgiving for you!