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How to Not Lose Your Sh*t This Thanksgiving: A Holiday Guide to Zen and Gratitude

As a wife and mother, the magic of Thanksgiving lies in bringing together the ones I love for a day of gratitude and celebration. However, amidst the bustling preparations and the quest for the perfect holiday, it's easy to lose myself in the to-do lists and forget the essence of this special day. Here’s my personal guide to keeping Zen during Thanksgiving while ensuring everything comes together beautifully.

1. Embracing Self-Care Amidst the Chaos

I am learning that self-care must be non-negotiable, even during the busiest times. Here’s how I manage to sneak in those precious moments:

  • Morning Meditation Rituals: Before the household wakes up, I find solace in a quick meditation. It helps me center my thoughts and approach the day with a calm mind.

  • Yoga in the Living Room: While waiting for the pie to bake or in between setting the table, I stretch out with a few yoga poses or any needed stretching for that matter. It’s amazing how just a few minutes can rejuvenate my body and spirit.

  • Prioritizing Sleep: I ensure I get to bed at a reasonable time. I used to feel bad about being tired but the reality is, is that everyone benefits from me getting a restful night's sleep. When I don't, my threshold for stress and nonsense goes out the window. Not a pretty site.

2. Nutrition: My Fuel for the Festive Marathon

Balancing a nutritious diet is key to maintaining my energy:

  • Smart Snacking: Have healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, and veggies, readily accessible. Wash and chop them up when you first buy them so that they are ready when you need them. Get a simple dip as well. Snacking on the sweets is tempting but it leaves you feeling drained after the repeated glucose spikes and crashes. Have the sweets, but add in healthy proteins and fats too.

  • Staying Hydrated: I keep a water bottle handy at all times, occasionally swapping it for a calming herbal tea.

  • Supplement Support: I take a daily multivitamin and several other supplements for various reasons but the staples are Multivitamin, B-Complex, Ashwagandha, Maca, and Vitamin D. Magnesium is another star player.

3. Mindful Eating: Savoring Each Bite

During the feast, I remind myself to slow down:

  • Enjoying the Flavors: I take time to truly taste and enjoy the dishes that were lovingly prepared. So much goes into the preparation and then a tornado sweeps through and demolishes what took hours to prepare. Pause and truly enjoy the feast. Taste the food. Feel the energy. Feel gratitude.

  • Listening to My Body: It's easy to overindulge, but I try to stay in tune with my hunger and fullness cues, enjoying my favorites in moderation. Key word here is try. Some things are just so dang good that the temptation wins. Try pacing yourself. You don't have to try everything at once. Have a small plate of your favorites, knowing you can go back for other dishes later. Pacing what we eat actually allows us to eat more, just over more time.

4. Gratitude: The Heart of Thanksgiving

This holiday is all about gratitude, and I make it a point to reflect on it:

  • Gratitude Journaling: Each morning, jot down things you are thankful for. It's a wonderful reminder of the blessings in your life. Focus on what you have, not what you lack. That is how you attract more of what you want. When we focus on the lack, we attract more lack.

  • Expressing Thanks: Tell those you love how you feel. Let them know you appreciate them and are grateful to have them in your life. We are not guaranteed tomorrow and we cannot assume those we love know how we feel. Even if they do, it is still nice to hear. Don't be shy. Speak your truth.

5. Setting Boundaries: The Art of Saying No

I’ve learned that I can’t do everything:

  • Choosing What Matters: I focus on what’s truly important - quality time with my family.

  • Asking for Help: This is a family event, all hands on deck! Create memories by having everyone pitch in. Cleaning, peeling, chopping, setting, all of these things need to be done. Play some music, have some snacks, and laugh together. It is a time for gathering. Be present and together as you prep this amazing meal.

6. Finding Peace in the Midst of Preparations

I steal moments of tranquility:

  • Quiet Moments Alone: Sometimes, just stepping outside for a breath of fresh air works wonders.

  • Nature as My Respite: I often stand in my backyard and just observe nature. I watch the birds, the squirrels, the random bugs crawling about. It helps me be still and clear my mind. Embrace the little things, including the small moments of tranquility in your own yard or space.

As I navigate the excitement and challenges of Thanksgiving, I remind myself of the joy and love that this holiday brings. It's not just about the perfect meal or the immaculate table setting; it's about the laughter, the shared stories, and the warmth of being surrounded by those I cherish. This Thanksgiving, I’m choosing to balance the hustle with moments of zen, remembering to cherish and be grateful for the beautiful chaos of family life. Happy Thanksgiving to all the incredible parents out there - let’s make this one a celebration of balance, joy, and gratitude!

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