In an attempt to get away from the traditional “Surviving the Holidays” guide, I don’t want to talk about “surviving” something that is meant to be amazing, but instead I want to share ways to have a kick-ass holiday, in spite of your relationship status.
You may be sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table as a single, or with a partner that you’re barely holding on to, but in either case, you can have a rockin’ holiday, and I want to give you some tips to go about doing so.
It all starts with mindset. This is key to so much in our lives. The things we tell ourselves about what is to come, or what is, has the power to take over and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re stuck in loathing the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and your mind is filled with thoughts of dodging questions about your relationship status, that’s likely what you will experience.
While I admit, sitting at a table filled with couples can remind you of your singleness, but being prepared beforehand, and focusing on your mindset can do wonders for your mood and how you interact with family and friends when they ask you yet again, if you’re ready to get back out there.
From the time of this publication until Turkey Day, you have 2 weeks and 2 days to get your mind right and prepared to have more than just a ho-hum holiday.
Start with gratitude. There are small moments in each day that we can be thankful for. This time of year gets people into posting things on social media about what they are thankful for daily. This is a great exercise, but if you aren’t into the whole social media thing, just do it for yourself. Get a little notebook and keep it by your bedside, or use the note app on your phone and jot down/type at least one thing you are thankful for each day.
Is there something that your relationship status has brought you that you can be thankful for? Looking for the silver lining in crappy situations can be powerful. Maybe you and your partner are going through a rough patch in your relationship, but it’s caused you to think more deeply about your relationship, and who you want to be as a partner. Introspection and growth are amazing things, and we sometimes need a difficult situation to kick us in the gut to help us realize it’s something we need. This is something to be thankful for, and something you can write down in your notes.
Check your limiting beliefs and that tape that plays on repeat in your head. What is it that you tell yourself about yourself? What do you tell yourself about your relationship? Are you constantly repeating over and over that you’re a horrible person for causing a break-up, or the difficult path you and your partner are on right now?
You might be saying these things to yourself and not even realize you’re doing it. Take some time out to listen to the messages you’re giving yourself, and what happens right before that, to evoke those messages.
Let me give you a personal example: I’m a person that has had a tendency to run a few minutes late to events and non-work stuff, and by a few I mean 5-15 depending on the day. It’s not something I’m proud of, but something I’m definitely working on. I noticed that I was typically showing up to wherever I needed to be, frazzled and unexcited. Getting out of the house can be a chore with a 1 year-old in tow.
When I sat down and really started thinking about my mindset and the things I was telling myself, I heard things like, “you’re never on time!” “OMG get your act together already!” “If you just would’ve gotten off the couch 10 minutes sooner, you wouldn’t be in such a rush!” and other expletives that I won’t share here. But it’s no wonder why, when I arrived to my destination that I didn’t have energy or excitement about whatever it was that I was about to do. I was spending the entire car ride mentally tearing myself apart.
After dissecting these thoughts, I came to the conclusion that I needed to change the tape that I was playing in my head when I am running late. Instead of negative thoughts, I’ve replaced them with loving affirmations. I say things like, “you are awesome,” “this event is going to be great,” and reminders about why I signed up for said event, and things that just evoke happiness. You can fill in your blank with anything positive that you see fit. But I can attest to the fact that positivity is powerful, and being kind to yourself has the ability to change a future event from something you drag your feet to, to something amazing.
As for that baby-shower I helped host over the weekend, I totally rocked it, and it was because of my mindset. I arrived with energy, eagerness to work the crowd, and I was ready to pour out all the love I had for my friend and her new baby.
I won’t pretend this is easy. Changing automatic thoughts can take weeks, months, and even years. Sometimes there are deeper-rooted issues that keep you stuck in those mindsets, but if you take the time to listen and figure out what those issues are, then you can begin working towards clearing them up.
Once you identify the negative things you’re telling yourself, it’s time to pick some new things you’d like to say instead. Write them down, and read them to yourself when you wake up, before you go to bed, and any other time you get a moment. This will help you to memorize them and recall them when you’re in that negative situation, and by the time you pull up to your parent’s house on Thanksgiving, you will be able to recite them and remind yourself of how awesome you are, and of the positive things you have to look forward to while sitting at the dinner table.
While you might not be able to change what’s happening with your partner in time for Thanksgiving, you can mentally prepare yourself for family asking about when they’ll be hearing the pitter-patter of little feet. Anticipating those types of questions that typically make you cringe, and identifying the messages you tell yourself as a result of those questions will make a world of difference.
If you know Aunt Agnes is going to ask you why you’re still not married, and you know that will in-turn cause you to over-eat, ever-drink, or over-indulge in self loathing for the remainder of the night, nip that pattern in the bud. Show up having done some work around this, and prepare a new plan of action, a new affirmation, and a new state of being so that question will just roll off your back, and you can change to subject and point out all of the fabulous things you’re doing with your life these days a result of being single.
Watching your newly married cousin and her husband play footsie under the table can have you wishing for better days with your spouse, but if you meet that head-on with a plan to focus on what the holiday is all about – a favorite dish, tradition, or a laugh you’re looking forward to having with your cousin who’s in from out of state, your mindset can help keep you thankful, and looking forward to the next family gathering. A relationship issue may be all consuming, but if you take a minute to step outside and look around, you will see that you are more than your relationship, and there truly are things to be thankful for if you just give them a chance.
If you want a little kick in the butt to get you motivated to change your mindset in preparation for the holiday season, you can click here to get my 14-Day Mindset Boost Calendar, where you’ll find a small exercise each day to help you clear the clutter, and get you prepared to truly enjoy your holiday.