Most people in the USA look forward to Thanksgiving – it’s a time for friends, family, and FOOD. For anyone recovering from an eating disorder, it’s a big oh-fuck… I am not going to make this blog post about triggers and the challenges Thanksgiving presents. To me, those seem too obvious. There are many articles and posts which do a great job explaining triggers and how to deal in a healthy way (links provided below).
Considering the challenges this Holiday (for many), I want to share what has helped me personally make Thanksgiving celebrations positive and enjoyable.
No matter your situation, you choose how you react, feel, and deal… Take ACTION this Thanksgiving – Do something to express your gratitude [a true intention of the Holiday] to ground yourself in something besides food, football, and awkward family encounters:
Start a Gratitude Jar – Find a jar or large glass container, and each night before you go to sleep, write something for which you are grateful. As you add more items of gratitude, you’ll see a visual representation of the many things that make life beautiful. I plan to empty my personal jar this Thanksgiving and start fresh. My morning will be spent reading through all the little notes of gratitude I wrote over the previous months… I can’t think of a better way to start my day!
Write a letters. The month of November makes me a bit emotional in anticipation of Thanksgiving. The Holidays bring up a lot of emotions for myself and people around me… pretty much every emotion on the “emotion chart:”
Yeah, there are a lot of feelings around this time… so, I write letters of gratitude and send them to people I love. A few years ago, I made “turkey hands” (like the ones in Elementary school where you trace your hand in the shape of a turkey): I made one for my mom, my brother, and my now-husband. This year, I will write notes to everyone in my family since I’m not with them in person… Similarly, I will also write a note to myself and one to my father who passed away in 2011. Writing letters of gratitude will fill your soul – it’s a fact. Letters don’t need to be long; they just need to be REAL.
Do something nice for yourself! I normally do something physical the day of Thanksgiving as part of my tradition. As a kid, I ran the Turkey Trot with my dad; and now as an adult; I workout with about 60 people at my CrossFit gym (followed by mimosas – best tradition ever). I know not everyone is into fitness, but can you find something special FOR YOU on Thanksgiving?
Following treatment for my eating disorder, I had to re-learn how to make Thanksgiving into a holiday celebrating something other than food… And, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t “Turkey Day” about food? Maybe it is, however, if food is a big stressor in your life, turn the holiday into a day of gratitude. View any celebration on Thanksgiving as just as another delicious meal in a well-lived life J. If you need extra support during Thanksgiving, here are some great references:
TAKE action + choose to make it a great holiday. Gobble Gobble