With Thanksgiving just a few days away now and anxiety prescriptions being filled across the country, I thought it appropriate to take a few moments to mentally prepare ourselves for the real football game - holidays with the crazy people we have to call family.
In that spirit, the following is my Top Ten Totally Tubular Thanksgiving Thoughts:
**Warning: Do not mix with alcohol, great aunt Mildred's Friday leftover surprise or dad's football game. It's the holidays my friends...proceed with caution.
1. family. No matter how hairy things get this week while enjoying the presence of family you may spend the rest of the year trying to avoid, remember that they are your family and that they are trying to survive the holiday as much as you are. Who knows, they might think you're the crazy one! Irregardless, do as grandma taught you and mind your manners. Be respectful, gracious and grateful.
2. food. Look, I'm a woman. I was told in-utero that I needed to go on a diet and watch what I eat, so I get the struggle with these food based holidays. The bottom line is control. The holidays are not a time to just watch your mouth verbally, but otherwise. Know when enough is enough and know when to allow yourself that extra piece of pie. It matters not what you eat on one day, its what you do the rest of the year. The following is some information on emotional eating from MSNBC.com. I found it very interesting and maybe it will pop into your head during the stressful holidays. I will definitely be referring to these. I hope you find them helpful. For the full article, click here: ARTICLE
- What are the favorite mood foods? During emotional eating, we crave “comfort” foods that are often high-calorie, sweet, salty, or fatty. Women are more likely to reach for sugary foods, such as chocolate, candy and cookies, while men tend to crave pizza, pasta, steak, or casseroles. For women, the top three comfort foods are ice cream (74 percent), chocolate (69 percent), and cookies (66 percent). For men, they’re ice cream (77 percent), soup (73 percent), and pizza or pasta (72 percent).
- Six strategies to overcome emotional eating:
- Learn to recognize your hunger. Before you automatically pop something into your mouth rate your hunger on a scale of one to five; one being ravenous and five being full. Make every effort to avoid eating when you’re a four or a five
- Find alternatives to eating. Make a personal list of activities you can do instead of eating. Perhaps go for a walk, call a friend, listen to music, take a hot shower, or a bath, exercise, clean your house, polish your nails, surf the Internet, schedule outstanding appointments, watch something on TiVo, clean your purse, organize your closet, look through a photo album, etc.
- Keep a food journal. Logging your food will help to identify your toughest time frames. It will also make you accountable. So perhaps you’ll be less apt to reach for unnecessary food.
- Practice three-food interference. Make the commitment to first eat three specific healthy foods (for instance, an apple, a handful of baby carrots and a yogurt), before starting on comfort foods. If after that, you still want to continue with your comfort foods, give yourself permission. However, most of the time, the three foods are enough to stop you from moving on.
- Exercise regularly. Daily exercise relieves stress and puts you in a positive mindset, which gives you greater strength to pass on the unhealthy fare.
- Get enough sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase hunger by decreasing leptin levels, the appetite regulating hormone that signals fullness. Furthermore, with adequate sleep, you'll be less tired and have more resolve to fight off the urge to grab foods for comfort.
For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy Bauer’s Web site at www.joybauernutrition.com
3. fun. It's so hard sometimes to have fun when you're completely out of your comfort zone and the holidays are a great example. You're only allowed to be bored and miserable if you choose to be. You can have a great time, even if others don't want to, and still remain respectful to those around you. See if anyone wants to play cards, board games, a rousing game of football in the backyard, go to a movie, go bowling...and the list goes on. Use your imagination and don't allow party poopers to ruin your holiday. If all else fails, find a nearby coffee shop, plug in the computer, buy yourself a well deserved cup of Joe and blog about it.
4. friends. So uncle Billy's jokes aren't exactly funny the 12th time you've heard them in the same day. Remember, your friends are probably doing the same thing you are. Give them a call. Wish them and their family a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy a few moments of real conversation. It doesn't matter where you are, your friends and support are just a phone call away.
5. fellowship. I know I've been talking a bit about the challenges of spending the holidays with those who make us want to get DNA testing, but not all of them are fodder for your next weeks session with the therapist. The holidays are about spending time with the ones you love and the ones who are not so easy to love but deserve your love anyway. Make sure your head is in the game and you have the right attitude. Make memories the best you can and truly savor every moment with the ones you love. Life is too short to do otherwise. And do yourself and others a favor...turn that cell phone off. The world can wait. You NEED that time...take it and do something for yourself...say THANKS for something. Plus, you'll be at work before you know it and if you're anything like a dear girlfriend of mine, you'll spend the next month crying from crazy overtime (SJ). Sometimes the bad jokes and leftovers can be worth it. It's all a matter of perspective.
6. charity. Charity brings clarity. If you're having a hard time finding something to be thankful for, get out and so some good for someone else. It's amazing how healing it can be to love someone else. Go to the local food bank, shelter or soup kitchen and volunteer some time. It won't take long for you to find something to be thankful for.
7. thanksgiving. Give thanks. And when you're done doing that, say thank you again. Don't just think of the holiday as a miserable time with those who don't really mesh with your personality so well. People can be cruel, challenging and difficult to communicate with, but that doesn't mean you have to let them invade on your opportunity for self-reflection and awareness. Take in the sights, the sounds, the smells, the touches...let your senses be overwhelmed and realize that God is present not just at your table, but in your life. Your alive. Be blessed by that and then go from there. And...if someone has something hurtful or snippy to say, just grin and say thank you. They won't know what to do with themselves.
8. shopping. There is always shopping. But if you're wanting to stick with your new found attitude of gratitude, you may want to stay at home. I find that shopping on Black Friday makes me a very ugly woman. The weirdo's come out to shop on that day and hit your children with their shopping bags, push your grandmother and you always wind up loosing your husband somewhere. I say this because I made the mistake of being a weirdo that went shopping on the day of Thanksgiving and I will NEVER do that again. It's like the running of the bulls. Who needs Spain? Just thank the Lord for online shopping or simply thank the Lord that you're not waiting three hours for a parking space and chasing your sucker covered toddler around Santa's workshop. Makes me dizzy just thinking about. Second thought, for your safety, I urge everyone to stay at home.
9. christmas. The turkey is beginning to digest and you are now given my humble permission to get to work on celebrating the Christmas season. Go get those lights out and turn them on. Rock out to some Christmas music. Make cookies, popcorn balls and plans. This is the most wonderful time of the year. Reach in deep, grab your inner seven year old, clean him/her off and have fun. Allow yourself to look forward to something with zeal and splendor. Happy Holidays!
10. happy holidays. It doesn't mean miserable Prozac coated holidays. Happy, ya'll! Happy! Do what you can to make it enjoyable. If you have an attitude of gratitude and spend your time being thankful, you won't have any time left to complain. Enjoy your family - even the crazy ones. Laugh. Love. Live. And if you're traveling, please be safe.
God Bless you all this Thanksgiving and always! Now...go Gobble till ya Wobble!!!