Autumn is a beautiful season with the amazing colors, cooler temperatures, sweaters and jeans, with Thanksgiving closing the deal before the Christmas trees, Kinaras, and Menorahs come out. Some of us have a spring in our step after the election, and some of us have a heavy heart. We try to be grateful for what we have and who is in our lives, and yet, sometimes we do not look forward to the one event on our calendar that is supposed to bring loved ones together as well as our most thankful thoughts.
You are not alone if you dread having turkey with a side of politics. Add alcohol (not necessarily your use) and a mask and the anxiety bubbles up even more. There are ways in which you can effectively enjoy Thanksgiving with its turkey-induced tryptophan rather than a stressful dose of cortisol.
Before we get political, however, it is important to mention that this year is different from any other because of Covid-19. The Center for Disease Control has recommendations if you are hosting or attending an in-person Thanksgiving event.
Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving in person or online with a platform like Zoom, you may be dreading the political conversation that often occurs. Saturday Night Live had an appropriate segment after the 2016 election that seems relevant today. During a contentious dinner conversation about politics, the only thing that everyone can agree on is how great Adele is. If you haven’t seen it, or would like to watch again, you can watch here:
Although Adele may have offered a solution in sketch comedy, the real situations we face are not as simple to solve. Whether in-person or on Zoom, here are some tips on how to handle Thanksgiving in a year that embodies stress.
If you know with certainty that family members or friends have strong views that are different from your own, it might be a good idea to have strategies at the ready.
When someone brings up a hot topic, decide whether or not you engage in the conversation. Think about your intention. Is it to change someone’s mind, to feel vindicated, or is it to educate them?
“You can’t seem to understand that my candidate is trying to help people”
“I believe that my candidate is genuinely trying to help people.”
My guess is that the “you” statement left you feeling defensive. “I” statements offer a way to share your opinion without pushing it onto the other person, or posing blame and judgement.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for Thanksgiving 2020 and into this holiday season. Relationships with family and friends can be complicated. This year adds another layer of complexity. Take a deep breath, and try to focus on the things you can be thankful for. And it might not hurt to have Adele at the ready.
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Written by Jennifer Sheriff, Intern Therapist
Jennifer is our masters-level intern. She specializes in working with adults with mood disorders or who are going through life transitions.
Click here for more information about working with Jennifer.
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