Can you believe that Thanksgiving is upon us already?! Time for travelling to see family, preparing and eating delicious food and watching football! (Yes, I like football and I am not too ashamed to admit I even own a fantasy football team! Oh c’mon – it’s important to have hobbies!   🙂 While all of this sounds great, I often find Thanksgiving to be stressful. Whether I am cooking or going to a relative’s home for the holiday, since I am a creature of habit I get a bit wonky because my schedule gets altered for at least those 4 days of the long weekend. So if you are like me and tend to get stressed when your routine is messed with, here are 5 common sense reminders to help you stay sane during Thanksgiving:

1) Holidays are for fun and spending time with people we care about. Focusing on what you are missing is a surefire way to build unhappiness and restlessness. Find acceptance and freedom in change and be grateful you even have this time with these people – even if they drive you crazy! Since daily life often seems to get in the way of being in the moment, now that you have an actual break from the daily grind, it is a great time, in fact, to focus on the moment. Time will pass anyway – may as well enjoy it.

2) Food is good. However, eating everything in sight is no way to feel good about yourself. Instead of piling your plate a mile high, take a small bit of everything you want to eat and eat it slowly. It takes about 20 minutes from your stomach to the brain to register when you are full. Give your body time to decide if you are still hungry before you go in for a second plate. A lot of the time that one plate is enough. After dinner, please do not deprive yourself of dessert if you want it. There is no reason to feel bad about eating some pie. Just be mindful of how good it tastes while you are eating it so you actually appreciate it. Eating slowly does add to the appreciation of meals, allowing you to actually savor it.

3) Being creative is a great way to diffuse stress. So is sharing. So make a new recipe this Thanksgiving and share it with those you love! Whether it’s a dessert or side-dish, try something new. Like this, thisthis, this  or even this.  Being creative is not only a great way to reduce stress, but it is a big part of your journey towards finding freedom – TRYING NEW THINGS. New things are good! Also, the act of bringing food to a relative’s home is in itself a kind gesture. If you are hosting, dazzle your guests with something a little different this year – the fact that you took the time to make something new shows that you are awesome! Plus, it’s nice to provide some variety on the regular old Thanksgiving fare. Another bonus is that being creative & sharing the product of your creativity is a wonderful way to give thanks.

4) When the TV is on and everyone is watching football – whether or not you like it! – make the commercial breaks your friend. I know that if I stop moving around in any capacity for a few days, I get either anxious or lazy. So, if you know that the TV is going to be on for the rest of the day, use the commercial breaks to move around. I do quick 10-rep exercises during the commercials: squats, lunges, burpees, planks, sit-ups, push-ups, glute bridges, jumping jacks, windmills, jump rope, tuck jumps, high-knees, butt-kickers, dips. Pick one and do 10 reps, then at the next commercial pick a different one and do 10 reps. Mix it up for variety. Then go back to the couch for more football. Try to recruit someone to do it with you. Make it fun! I do this to stay active AND because it makes me feel better. If it’s not too cold out – or if you don’t mind the cold – at least take a walk after the big feast before you resign to the couch for the evening. Staying active makes it easier to get back to the gym or your regular workout routine when the long weekend is over. Your body will thank you!

5) Try to get some sleep. Since I know that I often have trouble sleeping at other people’s homes, I prepare for it before I leave my house. I bring my [embedit snippet=”white-noise-machine”] (affiliate link) or ear plugs, a book, music and headphones, my own pillow – whatever works. Sleep is just as important for health and wellbeing as reducing stress, mindful eating, and moving around. If you are well rested, getting through the hectic holiday weekend will be much much easier!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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