Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I also want to remind you to slow down, take time for yourself, and enjoy the holiday, and the entire Christmas Season. So many of us get caught up in the busy-ness of holidays. There’s so much to do, so many people to please, or impress, and events that you just have to “get through.” But, really holidays are a time to stop, reflect and enjoy what you have. Especially Thanksgiving, where the whole purpose of the holiday is to stop and be thankful.

This week I was talking to a lady in the store. We were in line and she randomly started chatting with me. (That seems to happen to me more here in the South than it has anywhere else in the country.) Anyway, the lady was shopping for the big meal on Thursday. She said she was expecting company from out of town. From the tone of her conversation, it was obvious that she was not looking forward to the event. All she did was complain. She complained about the amount of cooking she had to do — she said she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 25. She complained about the number of people in the store, and she complained about money she was spending to feed family she didn’t want to see. All to a complete stranger.

I stood there and listened, making appropriate sympathetic noises while she talked. When she took a break, I asked her if there was anything about the holiday she was looking forward to. I got a blank stare. The lady looked confused. Probably because of the inappropriateness of my question. But, then again, she was complaining openly and loudly, and sharing personal details about her family with some random woman in the grocery store.

As I paid the cashier and prepared to leave the store, I turned and told the lady that I hope she found a way to enjoy her holiday, and her visiting family.

I left thinking that woman’s attitude seems to be to norm for a lot of people. It shouldn’t be. Holidays are a time to stop, relax, and spend time in reflection (spiritual, or otherwise) to appreciate what you have. Yes, it’s busy. Yes, it can be stressful, especially if you are doing more than your reasonable share of the work, or if you have to spend time with people you dislike. But, I believe in focusing on the positive, always, and in all situations.

Instead of wasting energy being angry that you alone are doing the cooking for 25, be thankful that you CAN cook for 25. That you are physically and financially able to do so.

Instead of dreading having to spend an afternoon with your annoying Uncle Steve, focus instead on how excited you are to see the new baby in the family, or to spend one more Thanksgiving with Grandma.

When things get stressful on Thanksgiving day, carve out the time to stop and reflect on all the good in your life. You might have to go for a walk alone, get up an hour earlier than everyone else, or make up an excuse to to disappear for 15 minutes, but take that time. Do what you have to in order to focus on the things you’re thankful for.

Everybody has something to be thankful for. If you’re breathing, you still have life. And that, in itself is something be appreciate.

If you take the time to appreciate and acknowledge what you have, not only will you have a better Thanksgiving Day, but you’ll also benefit your mental and physical health.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tell me your thoughts.