Self-care on Thanksgiving
We have arrived! It’s Thanksgiving! It took a bit to get here, but here we are. How are you doing? No, really, how are you doing? If you are glaring at me, I guess you are a bit stressed. Yeah, me too. Here are a few stealthy self-care tactics for you.
I have written in Self-Care – You Are Your Priority about other self-care and strategies to use to deploy when you need some TLC for you. This post is slightly different. When we feel overwhelmed, it can be challenging to identify what we need. Or that we feel like we can’t leave the situation. These are stealthy because you aren’t leaving the group gathering.
In fact, quite the opposite. You are helping to ensure that Turkey Day is a success. Does it matter that it comes from a place of needing self-care? I don’t think so.
Have Dog Will Stealthy Self-Care
If you have a dog, these suggestions are for you. However, if you don’t have a dog, I have ideas to use the idea of a dog still to get outside for a bit and have a moment to yourself to breathe.
Do you have a dog? If you do, take the dog for a walk. This is a great way to decompress, get outside, and take deep breaths. My dog is a great reason to get outside and have some alone time. She has to go out even if she doesn’t realize it yet.
Don’t have a dog? That is okay. You can borrow one from a family member. Someone always has a dog at Thanksgiving. And sometimes people don’t want to leave the festivities to walk their dog. So be the hero and walk their dog for them.
You don’t have a dog, and neither does anyone else? I’ve got you. Look out the window, muttering about a loose dog. Then grab some snacks (for the “loose dog”) and head outside. You can’t leave a dog out to fend for itself.
This strategy can backfire as other people may want to help. So instead, tell them you aren’t sure if you saw a dog, but you will check it out and let them know how they can help.
Don’t Let a Dog Out or Steal A Dog
Please do not let a dog outside, so you don’t have to fake a loose dog situation. It’s the holidays, dogs get outside all the time, you visit family in an unfamiliar place, and the dogs do too.
Whether or not you see a loose dog, I bet you will. When you leave the house, it just might be on a leash. But if not, that is okay. So munch on your snacks and take a stroll around the neighborhood.
Please don’t take a dog or borrow a dog from the neighbors without them knowing. That is the same thing as stealing. Your mental health is essential, but not to the detriment of your neighbor’s mental health and worry about their now-missing dog.
The holidays are the hardest time of year for those of us with depression, anxiety and complex PTSD. If you or someone you love is struggling please help them seek out professional help. I engaged in therapy to understand and work through what I could do. And you can too.
I recommend Online-Therapy.* Encouraging therapy is their first step in healing.
Volunteering is Stealthy Self-Care
Need to get away, but the dog situation is not working for you? You can volunteer for the last-minute run to the store errands. Someone always forgets something.
It is Murphy’s Law around this time of year. Before anyone else says anything, offer to get said item. If someone offers to come with you, decline their assistance. You have got this!
Is the turkey being fried, grilled, or smoked? Outdoor cooking is the perfect opportunity to get some stealthy self-care in. You can offer to stay outside in the cold to “watch” the turkey. You are fulfilling a critical role on Thanksgiving – turkey overseer.
Turkey overseer is a vital job. Someone must ensure the temperature remains constant, that the fried turkey isn’t getting over-fried (this has happened, and it isn’t good) or that the smoker isn’t running out of wood.
These are all essential aspects of Thanksgiving. Without the turkey as a centerpiece, there can be no Thanksgiving. Look at you, the person with anxiety and depression who needed a moment to breathe, being the hero saving the turkey (and the family) from being undercooked or overcooked. No matter the reason, you saved the day!
Self-Care on Thanksgiving
The holidays are for gathering as a family. But that doesn’t mean you ignore self-care. On the contrary, taking a break amidst all that merry-making is essential. Even the extroverts of the world need to have a moment to breathe. And for all my introverts out there, you must take several breaths.
The key is knowing when you need a break. For example, my mind starts to wander, and I can’t focus on what the person is saying. That is a cue for me. My brain is overwhelmed, and I need to take a moment.
And you know what? Taking care of yourself is taking care of others too. So stepping outside for a moment so you can return to the group, and be fully present, is the best solution for everyone involved.