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how to tackle Thanksgiving Day stressors



Here in America, Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us. For those who love the turkey and mashed potatoes, the football watching and the launch of the holiday season, it can be a joyous time of year. But, unfortunately, the beloved American holiday doesn't always bring joy for everyone. For many, it means an increase in stress due to meal preparation and travel and the inevitable family get-togethers, which, let's face it, don't always go as smoothly as we'd like.

As wonderful as it is to celebrate the holiday (and kick off the holiday season!), it can definitely be a stressful time of year, which is why I've come up with some potential stress-inducing situations and paired them with some coping mechanisms for making it through the holiday. 


STRESSOR #1: Too much togetherness 

You might love your family, but spending significant amounts of time with all of them at once can be a bit much. It’s hard not to get caught up in wanting to be somewhere else when you’ve had enough family time, but when you find yourself overwhelmed by those you love, take a moment to imagine life without them and be thankful for the moments you have with them.

STRESSOR #2: Unexpected delays

Nothing ramps up holiday stress like an unexpected delay—a flight grounded by bad weather, a turkey taking way too long to cook. Instead of fretting about being late or having to wait, try to enjoy the extra time you have on your hands. Read an extra chapter or two in your book, call a loved one for a chat, or start a board game with the family. Rather than dwelling on the delay, be thankful for the surprise of extra time.

STRESSOR #3: Maddening mishaps

Every year it happens: something goes wrong. The food’s burnt. The taboo topic is brought up. The guests who declined arrive anyway. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, choose to focus on what’s right. A mishap might shine a light on a minor catastrophe, but you have the option to redirect that beam to all that’s still going right. Be grateful for the things that have fallen properly into place.

STRESSOR #4: Awkward interactions

During holiday festivities, you’re bound to encounter someone you’d rather not see, cuing awkwardness. Oddly enough, awkward feelings are something you should be grateful for. When you feel awkward, you have a chance to learn, to ask yourself what makes you uncomfortable and either choose to overcome or avoid it. Be thankful for that opportunity. 


Wherever you find yourself on Thursday (and whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving), I hope your day is as stress-free and joyful as possible. And if you need some more inspiration to keep you feeling thankful, check out Get Grateful : A Gratitude Round-Up for articles, inspiration, and activities. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

get grateful: a gratitude round-up!



I try to cultivate an attitude of gratitude all year long, but this time of year always encourages me to think more about what it means to be thankful — and to contemplate what I'm thankful for. Maybe it's because it's Thanksgiving or it's because it's the time of year that I do my annual Gratitude Photo Challenge, but for whatever reason, for me this time of year is all about being appreciative for what I have.

I've been using — and reaping the benefits of — gratitude a lot in my life lately. It's been a crazy couple of months for me — going through a breakup, moving to a new place, starting awesome new projects — and sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the frantic pace of transformation and daily life. Lately, when I find myself feel anxious or stressed, I do what I can to redirect my attention to gratitude, to all the things I'm so fortunate to have in my life. And, wow, is it helpful. No matter how I'm feeling or what I'm experiencing, when I start thinking about all that I'm thankful for, it's hard to stay stressed or upset. 

Gratitude is an absolutely essential aspect of living a positive and present life so I thought I'd celebrate it a bit this week week by rounding up some articles, printables, and activities that will hopefully inspire you (and me!) to embrace an attitude of gratitude. 



31 Benefits of Gratitude : it's amazing how much you can benefit!

Boost Your Health with Gratitude : better health is just one of the many benefits

Expanding the Science of Gratitude : get some academic insight here

Make Good Use of Your Gratitude : the many uses of gratefulness

10 Reasons Gratitude is Healthy : more reasons to give thanks

How to Practice Gratitude : perfect if you struggle with thankfulness

4 Ways to Say Thank You : inspiration to be extra appreciative

Get Grateful : read inspiring quotes + insights on Pinterest

Which Comes First: Happiness or Gratitude? : I bet you already know...

60 Things to Be Grateful For : use this list to feel extra appreciative

How to Say 'I Love You' with Gratitude : thankfulness = love

Change Just One Word : transform how you look at your life

7 Habits of Grateful People : start making these habits yours

Mastering the Art of Gratitude : 'cause Oprah knows what's up

How Gratitude Can Make You Successful : give thanks, get more

5 Tips for Starting a Gratitude Journal : they really do work wonders

The Benefits of Having a Grateful Day : make today a thankful one



Gratitude Garland : write what you appreciate + hang for inspiration

Printable Thank You Notes : print these + give them to those you love

Give Thanks Quote Cards : perfect for scrapbooks + vision boards

Gratitude Leaves Printable : write what you're thankful for on these leaves

Gratitude Jar Printable : start a gratitude jar with these printables

Pretty Printable Thankfulness Notes : jot down your gratitude on these

Thanksgiving Day Printables : the "Give Thanks" banner is lovely

Gratitude Journal : print this mini journal for inspiration

Thankful Book : a great idea for capturing + saving gratitude

Gratitude Lists : print these little lists + fill them with thanks

Simple Journal Sheets : print out these simple, pretty lists 

Thankful Tags : print, fill out, + post up as reminders



2014 Gratitude Photo Challenge : start now for instant inspiration

Gratitude Mandela : make one of these to increase thankfulness

21 Days of Gratitude Prompts : inspire yourself with these prompts

Count Your Blessings Family Tree : be thankful for family with this

101 Ways to Say Thank You : ideas for expressing gratitude

Gratitude Rolls : eat these delicious rolls and be thankful

20 Attitudes of Gratitude for Your Home : little ways to be thankful at home

Thankful Pumpkin : decorate a pumpkin with all you're thankful for

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt : a great idea for kids (+ fun grown ups!)

Chalkboard Calendar : make this now + use it year after year

Miniature Gratitude Journals : matchbook-style thankfulness

Gratitude Journal Prompts : perfect inspiration for appreciation

The Thankful Tree : inspiring and a great autumnal decoration


I hope these links filled with information, insights, and inspiration will motivate you to explore the ways you can keep gratitude at the forefront of your mind. It's not always easy to do — especially when times are tough — but being thankful is one of the best ways I've found to stay positive and present. If you know of any other great gratitude links, please let me know about them in the comments section! 



You can cultivate even more gratitude in your life by learning to be thankful for yourself and all that makes you who you are. You can discover (and appreciate!) more about yourself and what matters to you by downloading a copy of Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your very own soul-searching copy here.

6 ways to minimize moving day stress



Over the weekend I moved to a new apartment and, as anyone who has moved before knows, moving can be a stressful experience. It's very hard to stay positive and present when you're in the middle of relocating. Not only is it tough getting all of the stuff physically sorted (the packing... the address changing...), but moving can be a bit of an emotional upheaval as well.

For me, it's been tough because I'm moving not as a matter of choice, but as a repercussion of ending a relationship. The relationship ended months ago, but the act of starting over in a new space — the first time I've moved into a new space my myself in half a decade! — is sort of a reminder that, yes, I'm living alone now and, yes, the space we once shared together is physically no longer part of my life.

In a lot of ways this is a good thing — starting off on a clean slate, getting to create a space that is entirely my own as I navigate the landscape of being a thirty-something singleton — but it hasn't been easy. I'm not a fan of change in general and, being a bit of a homebody, my home base is incredibly important to me as a place of consistency and comfort. When I knew I'd be moving, I knew it wouldn't be easy, and I knew I had to do whatever I could to make it as painless as possible. Here are some of the things I did to minimize the stress of moving...



It's tempting to just throw all of your stuff in boxes and bags and worry about it later, but moving is a fantastic time to declutter and clear your life of things you don't need, want, or use. As I was packing up each room of my apartment, I thought carefully about each item before I put it in a box. Did I really want it anymore? When was the last time I actually used it? Though I'm a compulsive declutter-er, I ended up finding quite a few things in drawers in cabinets that I really didn't need anymore. I lugged boxes of clothes and books to donation centers and it felt really great to let go of things I don't need and know that the new space would be starting off clutter-free. 



Walking into the U-Haul store was a bit overwhelming. It had been awhile since I'd moved and I couldn't remember what kinds of supplies I even needed. Luckily there were some helpful employees in the store who helped me sort out what I needed, and I ended up having the perfect supplies for moving: assorted boxes (lots of small ones for all my books!), markers, tons of tape (you always need more than you think!), bubble wrap, etc. In the past, I've found myself running out on multiple occasions to buy more tape or boxes, but this time I stocked up ahead of time and it made the whole process so much easier. Because, really, who wants to be running out for more tape at the last minute?



We all have some oddly shaped items that we have to move and initially I was a bit flustered by figuring out how to move all the things I have that don't easily fit into boxes or bags. But then I remembered the wonder that is Pinterest. There are tons of tips and tricks online for moving anything. No matter what you need to move, someone has probably moved it and posted advice for doing so online. Plus, just doing a bit of research on moving tips in general can really help you uncover tips and tricks for making the move go smoothly. (For example: take a photo of how all the cords are plugged into your TV so you know how to put it back together the same way!)



As I mentioned above, moving can be seen as a negative or a positive: an uprooting of the place you call home or a chance to have a fresh start. I learned quickly that whatever I chose to see it would become magnified. The more I worried about it, the more stressful it seemed. The more I focused on how great it would be to start fresh, the more the move started to feel like a fabulous opportunity. So I chose to redirect my mind to the positive whenever I found it wandering into negative territory and it really helped make the move easier to cope with. 



Things are going to go wrong. That's just how moving goes. Things will break. Movers will be late. Something will be misplaced. It would be great if everyone had an absolutely flawless moving day, but that's not how it usually works in the real world. When things start going wrong, I've found it helpful to take deep breaths. I read about this relaxing breathing technique online — breathe in four seconds, hold it for seven, breathe out for eight — and it really helps whenever I'm feeling anxious or stressed. Breathing sounds basic, but it can be crucial for combating stress. 



One of the best ways to make the most of a moving day is to do at least one or two things to make it feel like home immediately. Hang a favorite photo or make up the bed just as it was at the old place. I read this bit of advice online and it really helped me settle in (and feel less unsettled!) when I moved into my new place and boxes were stacked all around me. It will always take awhile for a new place to really feel like home, but even just one little home-y touch can make a big difference after a long, stressful day of moving.