Thanksgiving is an exciting time of family, friends, and food. It can also be extremely overwhelming. The stress and chaos of coordinating schedules, cooking, and family tensions can turn a day of gratefulness into a day of regret. If you are feeling stressed about the upcoming holiday, practicing mindfulness will help you navigate the day in a calm and meaningful way.
What is Thanksgiving mindfulness?
Practicing Thanksgiving mindfulness is simply the practice of focusing on your breath. You can begin with just 5 minutes a day and then work your way up to an hour. Find a comfortable place to sit or kneel, focus on your breath, and return your mind to the breath every time your mind wanders. Your mind will wander and that is okay.
There is no judgment when you practice mindfulness. It is a skill that requires work, which is why it is called a practice. Be kind to yourself as you find your mind wandering. Simply acknowledge the passing thought and then return to focusing on your breath.
How will this help?
When you practice Thanksgiving mindfulness, you are able to focus and calm your mind during this hectic holiday. You focus on being in the moment and not pass any type of judgment on others or yourself. Try to find a few minutes alone before Thanksgiving day begins to help focus your mind. Throughout the day, you can come back to the practice.
Help with family
While it is can be good to spend time with family, Thanksgiving can also be stressful. You may be with relatives you do not regularly interact with. Or you might not be on good terms with family members. Whatever the reason, mindfulness can help you deal with difficult relatives.
Part of the practice of mindfulness is not passing judgment. This can help you deal with relatives who try your patience. If you find yourself focusing too much on the negative about others, come back to your practice. Breathe, calm your mind, and release negative tension.
Help with overeating
If your friends and family do not stress you out, many people also worry about food on Thanksgiving. It is very easy to overeat all day and then feel sick by the evening. It is common to have trouble getting back on track after a day of indulgence.
Mindfulness can help you deal with this by focusing on your food. Instead of eating without thinking, pay attention to your food. Focus on each bite. If you find yourself wandering around and eating just to eat, then come back to your breath and focus. Ask yourself why are you eating? Are you truly hungry? Is this bite of food worth it?
You can begin practicing mindfulness now, so you are prepared for Thanksgiving. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, judgmental, or tired, you can retreat back to your mind and breath.
It sounds simple, but the practice can be difficult. Remember not to judge yourself if you make a mistake. Simply refocus and begin again. You can not only survive Thanksgiving, but enjoy it!