No one’s life is ever simple, no matter what their facebook, instagram, or even in-person conversation might portray. I think it is easy to fall into the trap of comparison, especially around the holidays. Like many, I know I experience a huge spike in stress around the holiday season. Between being a student taking final exams and finding just the right gift for loved ones, it can feel overwhelming.
This year has been a challenge for my family, it has felt like there was a catastrophe every other week or every month. I have struggled to keep gratitude in mind during these tough times, but days like Thanksgiving put it back in perspective. Sitting with my family, chopping veggies, making throwback jello salad, watching the Macy’s Day Parade–this is what matters. These moments, however fleeting, give me a sense of grounding and fill me to the brim with contentment.
No one has the perfect life or family, but taking the time to appreciate the moments that are so filled with love and so calm makes even the hardest times manageable. I am currently taking a Psychology of Family and Relationships course at school, and this class has given me so much insight. We all want to have a happy, positive time when we are together as a family, although sometimes our expectations, perceptions, and communication strategies do not make that feel like it is the case. For example, overly high expectations inevitably lead to disappointment, whereas low expectation can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy if we simply choose to not make an effort. Although it is difficult, I have tried to maintain positive, moderate, and realistic expectations and know that this approach will lead to a happier holiday season.
Keeping these lesson in mind and taking the time to practice self-care has made my Thanksgiving holiday a tranquil experience, leaving many of my usual stressors behind. I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.