It’s not what we wanted to hear, but this Thanksgiving, it’s smart to stay home and stay safe. And while we’re happy to not have to figure out how to politely decline Aunt Betty’s fruitcake, it doesn’t make it easier to spend the holiday alone. But these tips from experts in stress and connection can help us cope and make the best of a solo Thanksgiving.
- Embrace your feelings- If you’re feeling lonely or even relieved, lean into those emotions. Recognize your emotions and what they’re telling you, but then try to find some positive distractions that can put your body and mind to work, like taking a walk or cooking something. If you’re in a funk, that’s okay too, according to psychologistJonathan Kanter. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, just go easy on yourself.
- Make the day your own- If you’re on your own, you get to play by your rules. That means doing whatever makes the holiday more fun for you, whether it’s eating pizza, binge-watching reality TV, or anything that your heart desires.
- Spread the love- You won’t be face-to-face with loved ones, but you can still express your love for them in a Zoom call or by writing a heartfelt letter of appreciation.
- Focus on the good- If you start slipping into a negativity spiral, try to think of the good things on the way. Need some inspo? COVID vaccines will be available soon, 2020 is almost over, and cookies still exist and you can bake a batch right now if you want and eat them all yourself.
- Remember the “why”- Spending Thanksgiving alone may feel lonely, but we do it to keep our loved ones healthy, so keep that in mind when you’re feeling low.Happiness researchershave found that people who volunteer tend to feel better after doing good for others, so try to find a way to give back and lift your spirits at the same time.