Thanksgiving means the time for gratitude, giving, family, friends, and the smell of delectable foods and pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is one of American’s most favorite holidays because it reminds people to be grateful. Feeling gratitude, is good for our mind, body and soul, states Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. The regular practice of gratitude helps us to feel more connected to our social connections, keeps our mind happy and our bodies healthier by lowering blood pressure and helps us to sleep better. Keeping a gratitude journal is another great way to practice being grateful and stay mindful throughout the day. Emmons also states that being grateful helps us cultivate more joy, goodness, keeps us more alert and energetic as well. What’s not to love?
But the trick to gratitude and mindfulness is to keep it in the forefront of our minds throughout the holiday season and every season, for that matter. If you are hosting Thanksgiving or traveling to a fun gathering, stress may creep up and possibly create a few hiccups in your ability to enjoy the holiday (and keep your mind in grateful mode). Instead of throwing in the towel to anxiety, worry and distress, why not use a few simple tools to keep troubling thoughts and holiday commotion at bay? Here are a few of our favorite ways to keep our Thanksgiving week in the “glass is half full” and “grateful” mind set.
- Create an itinerary or plan. Writing out your get-to-do list and planning for your Thanksgiving holiday week is a great way to visualize what you need to prioritize. If you are hosting Thanksgiving, sit down and make a guest list. If you are traveling, quantify exactly what needs to be organized so there are no last-minute surprises. The key is to prep as much as possible in advance. And make sure you schedule in time to get outside in nature and relax. You deserve to enjoy yourself!
- Make it a family style potluck and buffet style and get everyone involved. If it’s your time to host, a potluck is the best way to divvy up the tasks and allow everyone to share in the responsibility of food prep. It is also the best way to have people bring their favorite dishes and share. Give non-cooks a chance to participate by including categories such as beverages, paper products, or decorating. Give tasks to those who chose not to bring food and have them help clean house and put up decorations. Children love setting the table, making place cards, folding napkins and decorating the table. This will also keep them out of the kitchen while you attend to the food. By serving the food buffet style, you save on space, utensils, and clean up time.
- Get shopping done early. Grocery stores tend to get busier closer to Turkey Day. Having your food delivered to you with grocery delivery service is (if that option is available to you) is also a bonus. Procrastinating till the last minute to food prep will create more stress so don’t run the risk of having something sold out before your Turkey dinner. Figure out what bottle of wine or dessert you are going to bring to your Thanksgiving host’s house and get it before you are driving there. This will help eliminate stress. Get it done early.
- Prep sides and desserts in advanced- A great meditative way to prep for the holiday feast is to take your time and prep the side dishes, desserts, and breads that can be made ahead of time. For example, measure, cut, season, store, label, and marinate all your sides and extras so they are “grab and go” on the day you are ready to cook and serve. The extras save well in the fridge and usually taste better after bathing in their special sauces.
- Relax. Bring back the focus of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be--a day full of family, friends, gratitude, love and relaxation. Stay mindful and let the thoughts of perfecting the day go….it already will be wonderful because of your intentions.
If you need an incredible way to help keep the stress at bay, infuse a few of the grounding and calming drops of essential oils onto your favorite LavHa essential oil diffusing bracelet and just breathe. Some of our favorite calming blends include Lavender, Rose, Jasmine, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Blue Tansy, and Sandalwood. Wear your bracelet each day to remind yourself of all the good you have in your life and how smoothly your moment of “now” is going. With positive affirming thoughts and gratitude practiced along with intentional breath, the light within you will shine brighter and your heart will feel fuller.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at LavHa
Love Jessica and Nancy