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Thanksgiving is tomorrow (happy thanksgiving!). For many, that means that it’s time for all of your families to get together and spend some quality time together.

Still, for so many of us, family time isn’t always a relaxing time. There are unaddressed tensions. There are family dramas. There are hosting challenges. There are many issues that arise on Thanksgiving that make the holiday anything but the relaxing celebration of “thanks” that it is meant to be.

What Should You Do?

There is no single, magic formula for addressing all of the many conflicts and traumas that can arise during Thanksgiving dinner. Every experience is different, and it’s possible that there may be something you can do easily to feel calmer and happier, just as it’s possible that what you’re struggling with requires regular and ongoing help.

Still, there are some strategies that can help provide some relief. Consider the following:

  • Journal Your Rapid Thoughts – If you find yourself stressed over the holidays, it’s common to feel like you have many things to say and no way to process them or get them out. Try writing them down. Writing them down in some type of journal will give you an opportunity to process your thoughts/feelings and think about what you want to say.
  • Have a Plan – It’s ultimately your choice if you want to address these concerns or not. We can talk about this more in therapy, but there are some situations where you’ll want to share your thoughts/feelings and some situations where you will not. That said, if you decide you would like to talk about them, make sure you have a plan. Decide when and where the conversation will occur, so that it doesn’t bubble up and explode at an inopportune moment.
  • Take Breaks – It is perfectly okay to give yourself some “me time” in order to de-escalate a situation or calm down when you’re feeling particularly high emotions. Even in the middle of a busy Thanksgiving, prioritize yourself any time you need to by taking some quiet breaks where you can calm yourself and feel more comfortable going back to dinner.
  • Sleep and Exercise – Better sleep and regular exercise are always important. But it is especially important during stressful holidays. Sleeping a bit earlier the night before can help make sure you’re ready to take on the stresses of the day, and some morning exercise today or early tomorrow can reduce some of your tensions.

It’s also important to consider seeing a therapist to help you process some of your family traumas. Your mental health is always important, and it is easier to navigate family issues when you have someone you can talk to about your mental health. 

No matter how you celebrate, who you celebrate with, or how difficult or easy the holidays feel to you, we at Flourish Psychology in NYC hope that you have the best Thanksgiving possible, and of course, please give us a call if you feel you’d benefit from any ongoing help.