Thanksgiving is a time when we spend time with family and friends and can give thanks for everything we are grateful for. For some of us, spending time with family on Thanksgiving can mean navigating complicated family tensions or differing political opinions. Thanksgiving also comes at a time that is close to the end of the quarter, leaving many of us feeling stressed about end of quarter deadlines, preparing to head home for winter break, or financial stress as we enter the holiday season.
It can be easy for us to get swept up in the excitement and not truly appreciate the day or feel overwhelmed by all of the stress that accompanies Thanksgiving. Mindfulness can help us get the most out of our Thanksgiving and stay present in the moment. Research also shows that mindfulness can help us slow down and reduce stress. Here are some easy things we can do to stay mindful this Thanksgiving:
- Express gratitude – take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for, consider writing down a few things that have been particularly meaningful to you. This can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life, family, or situation.
- Send kind thoughts or prayers to others – practice opening your heart by including kind thoughts and prayers for others near and far into your day, even to those who may be causing you stress.
- Eat mindfully
- Give back to the community – consider donating extra food or volunteering at a soup kitchen.
- Take quiet time for yourself – take a break from the festivities to check in with yourself to foster awareness of your experience. This can also help us notice when we are starting to get overwhelmed by stress or family tension.
- Listen to others mindfully – truly hear what others are saying to learn something new from a story you’ve heard hundreds of times or are hearing for the very first time. Let go of judgments of what others are saying or assumumptions about others intentions.
- Use all of your senses to experience the day – enhance your awareness by noticing what you are seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and feeling
Try out one or two of these tips on your Thanksgiving. Whether you are someone who gets caught up in the celebration or overwhelmed by the stress of the day, these tips can help you stay centered. The Wellness Initiative wishes you a mindful Thanksgiving!