How To Make The Holidays Work For You

Jamie and Ross snuggle on the couch

It may be cliche at this point, but it’s that time of year when it’s common to take time to be grateful. I know I’m not alone in having a dedicated gratitude practice, and if you haven’t yet tried it, whether for November or any time of year, I definitely recommend it.

A lot of people are struggling with the holidays and how to celebrate this year. Although many people have already been celebrating holidays during COVID virtually (Jewish people in particular have had several holidays come and go at this point), Thanksgiving is such an “American” holiday in a lot of ways that it affects the majority of us in some way, rather than certain religions or parts of the country.

As a coach, I’m noting two simultaneous threads or thoughts popping up:
a) An extra awareness of gratitude – if I’m healthy, if I don’t have COVID-19, if my family is safe, if I’m employed etc. I know I have a LOT to be grateful for right now
b) It’s so frustrating/I’m so angry/I’m so sad because I want to be spending the holidays with my family/without masks and social distancing but I’ve gone virtual and/or made major modifications and changes due to COVID-19

It’s okay to have mixed feelings.

It’s okay to have moments when you feel wrapped up in the love of your family/friends, whether it’s a partner or child or parent in your bubble or a virtual meal full of love and conversation and good memories.

It’s okay to in the next moment feel anxiety that your parents are going to do x, or feel resentment that you can’t do your usual holiday celebration, or feel jealous of y, who lives with their family while you are living and celebrating alone.

I hope that during this challenging time, you will give yourself forgiveness. We are all carrying so much right now.

If someone else’s life looks glamorous on social media, remember that that is just the tip of the iceberg that you’re seeing. The glamorous surface life may be only a passing moment in a chaotic day or week or month.

Here are a few things I recommend making time for this week, whatever your plans are. (Perhaps you’ll have some extra time since you won’t have your usual holiday commute to the in-laws?)

  1. Make a gratitude list. This can take many forms, and all are valid. Start or end each day by acknowledging five things you’re grateful for. Start a gratitude journal, whether it’s a big beautiful book or a note on your phone. Begin your Thanksgiving meal/Zoom call/family walk by having everyone share something they are thankful for this year.
  2. Make time for exercise. Personally, I think stuffing myself is kind of part of the fun of Thanksgiving – even if I don’t leave the main meal feeling overstuffed, I love indulging in rich fall foods in the meals and days that follow. Most of us, at least in the corporate sector or education, are also lucky enough to get time off this week. It can be tempting to use that time to relax on the couch, but making time to take a walk or stretch or lift some weights will give you more energy for the festivities and encourage you to enjoy your indulgences more, without guilt.
  3. Carve out time for yourself. I love my family, but as an introvert who isn’t always her best self at large family gatherings, I’ve worked hard over the years to set boundaries for myself. For me, part of a successful holiday season is making time for my morning routine and making sure I have time to relax on my own. If you’re having trouble seeing blank space on your calendar, even if it’s virtual gatherings, take a moment to block out a morning or an hour for you each week. It will help you to be at your best when you are with your family too.

Whatever your plans are this year, I hope you’ll take this advice to heart. No one has your best interests at heart in the same way you do, so go create the holiday schedule that will light you up and invigorate you.

Take care, and Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Thank you so much for your support of this blog throughout the year! If you appreciate it, we’d love for you to share it with a friend or support us with one of the methods below. Thanks, and have a great day!

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Thank You

As I lie here unable to fall back to sleep this Thanksgiving morning, I’m thankful. Thankful for friends and family who support us and are patient with us as we travel, follow our bliss and work to piece it all together. Thankful for the incredible opportunities and privileges we have that allow us to travel freely and relatively safely, and the resources and experience (and faith) to figure things out as we go along.

I’m thankful for all of the experiences we’ve had thus far, for the gigs and work and people we’ve seen. For those who’ve cleared their schedules and offered us a meal or a hug. Who’ve taken lessons from us and told people about our work.

We’re almost a year and a half since I ditched my full-time job. More than a year into fulltime RVing. And we’ve been together for almost eight years, 3.5 of them married. We’re so grateful to still be in love, happy and inspiring each other.

We’re thankful to be relatively healthy, both mentally and physically, and to have a fridge full of delicious food and the means to buy more too. We’re thankful to have work opportunities this winter, a great job lined up for April and the chance to fill the in between times with whatever work we choose.

We are incredibly blessed to have a wonderful home and a car to get around town and wherever we need to go. To have resources to fall back on when we need them. And to always have the ear of family and friends.

We love you and we thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks in Plano, Texas

I had very specific goals for Thanksgiving this year, and my husband was kind enough to agree to accommodate me in making them happen. I’ve been following the Auto-Immune Protocol since July in an attempt to reverse some of my auto-immune symptoms, and because it is such a strict diet, partaking in Thanksgiving without making the meal myself wasn’t an option. 

So when my friend Charlie offered to host us for Thanksgiving while we were in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But after much back and forth, it was clear this would work for us. Three nights camped in their driveway with electric hookups and showers; a chance to cook my own menu (with assistance on turkey, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts); and the chance to socialize a bit with friends. Their home in Plano, right next to Dallas, is gorgeous and in a lovely neighborhood, and it was a great place to spend a few days. (I will be sharing the full details on my menu successes and surprises here.) They have a wonderful group of friends and neighbors that we enjoyed spending time with. 

While we were in Plano, I attended a screen acting class, which was fun. I also took some nice walks and picked up a rental car, courtesy of our insurance company. And I loved having a full kitchen to spread out in and cook. 

So far the Dallas area has beautiful weather – we ate outside on Thanksgiving – but it isn’t a very attractive city. Our campground is more than a half hour away though, on a lake, and it really couldn’t be more beautiful. 

We plan to visit downtown Fort Worth today and we might explore in the coming days as well depending on how inspired we are. We’re feeling thankful for this beautiful campground and for friends and family, and we are using this time to regroup and plan what’s next. 

My theater company in NH is performing before Christmas, so I have lots of prep work to do for that, and Ross has work to do to prepare for his gigs as well. So we will need to leave time for work as well as play. 

Thanks for reading! I will share more photos and stories in the coming days. Hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.