Thanksgiving Week Survival: How to Enjoy Time with Family



Let me start by saying I love my family. They are wonderful people. But that love has two sides to it. As I’ve said in a previous blog, parents are spiritual assignments. We chose them, our family, and friends to learn soul-deep lessons that sometimes aren’t as sweet as pie.  So while I love them, an entire day with them makes me anxious and, to be honest, a bit pissy.



For me, Thanksgiving is not a Disney story. I don’t wake up to the smell of pie (I drive in traffic), little birds don’t dress me (I’ll probably stay in my sweats until dinner), and adorable mice won’t stop me from emotional eating (I’d probably eat them too.) But this isn’t about the lack of cute creatures who do my bidding, it’s about you!

So, in true Amita fashion, I’ve come up with a training plan for your mind and body to get through the week. You don’t just wake up the morning of a marathon and run it without training, so why would you expect anything else for Thanksgiving?


The best thing you can do is start with you.

Specifically, start with your attitude. Chances are, your outlook is half the problem. We’re all responsible for making sure our side of the street is clear.  When your attitude sucks, it’s like showing up to Thanksgiving half-drunk with a metaphorically loaded gun. Remember, your thoughts guide your decisions and negative thoughts lead to negative decisions. So when it comes to your thoughts about Thursday, remember:


Nothing is solved by visualizing the worst outcome, but a lot can be accomplished when you desire and intend to achieve the best possible result.  A negative or pessimistic attitude impacts you, not anyone else, by first ruining your moment-to-moment happiness (and then ruining everyone else’s meal.)


Optimism isn’t a frilly catchall that denies the truth. And while optimists might not be more accurate about life, they do live longer and are happier and healthier than pessimists. So which type of outlook will you choose?

That’s right, it’s a choice.

The way to begin shifting that glass from half-empty to half-full is simple: Gratitude.

You’ve probably heard people tell you to make a list of things you are grateful for, and while that’s powerful, we’re on a deadline! We’ll need to kick things up a notch! And, to keep it fair, I’ll give you a few off of my list :)

Grab a pen and paper and sit down in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

Follow this exercise and you won't have to wear this on Thanksgiving!

Follow this exercise and you won't have to wear this on Thanksgiving!


Step 1: Keep it Simple.

Start by listing 10 basic things you are grateful for. Basic things include food, a roof over your head, etc. These are the things we always take for granted when we’re lusting over things that are “first-world problems.”


  1. I am grateful I am healthy.
  2. I am grateful I have a warm bed to sleep in at night.
  3. I am grateful that I have food and water.


Step 2: Invite in others.

Then, list 10 things you are grateful for when it comes to the other people in your life. This is about friends & family. This may require you to reach down a bit deeper, but it’s worth it!


  1. I am grateful for parents who genuinely want me to be happy.
  2. I am grateful for friends who I can lean on.
  3. I am grateful for a loving, courageous, and honest boyfriend who inspires me to conquer my fears.


Step 3: Shift the crap.

List 10 things you are grateful for that may have sucked in the moment. As the year comes to a close, there are probably some things you wish you had done differently, conversations you wish you had (or had not had), and people you may have wronged. However, good things came of them. Maybe you learned a lesson, got through something you didn’t know you could, or showed up as your authentic self in a whole new way.


  1. I am grateful that I left my last job and risked financial insecurity. It created the space for me to build something I love.
  2. I am grateful that someone close to me hurt me as it allowed me to see the pain they were in.  It allowed me to confront my underlying anger that had existed for a while and cultivate more compassion for them and for myself. (Sorry to be vague on that one!)
  3. I am grateful that I had the courage to end a codependent relationship because showing up as my true self cleared the way for me to meet someone who aligns with my truth.


Step 4: Expand the good.

List 3 experiences you are grateful for and the people and situations that brought them to fruition.


Getting my adorably insane dog. Things that helped to make this happen:

  1. My previous job was so bad that I quit. This gave me extra time to raise him.
  2. My friend who talked me into going and “just looking” at the puppies.
  3. My parents for looking after him when I needed more sleep.
  4. A conveniently located dog run and daycare option to tire him out.
  5. The recognition that my self-care comes before anything else in my life (sleepless nights and coffee brought on by a dog will teach you a lot!)
  6. And, sadly, Safari K. Patel, my previous dog who passed away.


Step 5: Go deep & personal.

List 10 things you are grateful for about yourself. This one is my favorite. Sure, you might not love everything about yourself at this moment, but I bet there are reasons you are glad that you are you.


  1. I am compassionate.
  2. I am smart.
  3. I am resilient.


Step 6: Get a tattoo.

When you are done with this list, don’t let it sit in a notebook gathering dust. This is your survival guide for the next few days! Laminate it.! Tattoo it! I don’t care, but put it somewhere you can see it. Read it before bed each night. We’re retraining your brain to see the good even when things are shitty. This emotional resilience will come in handy when you see your loved ones. Trust me. 


Let's continue the conversation! What are you grateful for? What are you excited for? What are you dreading? Share it in the Comments section below!