Healthy Huskies: Surviving Thanksgiving  

A Thanksgiving meal is pictured with turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Thanksgiving break can be tough for students, so it is important to keep some things in mind for the holiday. Photo by The Fresh Market/AP Photo

Thanksgiving break can be a hard time for many students, regardless of your plans for the holiday. Many people who have tough family dynamics can dread Thanksgiving. The holiday can also be very tough for people who struggle with issues around food or body image, seeing as the holiday is quite focused on food. Regardless of your situation or struggles, it’s very important to try and take care of yourself in the best way possible. Below are some tips to help you survive Thanksgiving.  

Take breaks  

During Thanksgiving, many people can find it difficult to be around family, friends, food and drinking. Not to mention, many groups turn the holiday into a full-day affair. Even if you have a great relationship with your holiday guests, taking breaks throughout the day to calm down may be needed. Take breaks at your discretion and make sure to utilize coping skills that help you with anxiety or stress. Excuse yourself from the party for some short meditation or to hang out with a pet. If you give yourself breaks when needed, you’re likely to enjoy your holiday much more.  

Avoid uncomfortable topics  

Thanksgiving is notorious for awkward and tough conversations with loved ones about politics and current events. While some of these discussions can be healthy and are needed, the combination of holiday stress and alcohol often makes these conversations very heated. Participate in the discussions if you wish, but keep the conversation lighthearted and try not to start or engage with arguments. Feel free to change the topic if you don’t feel comfortable. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and joy, not fighting and tears.  

Focus on your own plate  

The Thanksgiving holiday is one full of delicious and nostalgic foods, but it can also be a nightmare for those with eating disorders or body insecurities. Try to focus on your own plate, and eat what makes you feel good. Ignore or kindly redirect any food or body comments from relatives or friends — it’s likely their own insecurities manifesting themselves. Try to not think about things like calories — you deserve to eat what you want!  

A glass of red wine is pictured. During Thanksgiving, make sure to monitor your alcohol intake. Photo by Kristyna Wentz-Graff/The Oregonian via AP

Monitor your alcohol intake  

One of the things that can turn a Thanksgiving dinner sour quickly is alcohol. Try to monitor your alcohol intake, and make sure you’re keeping your personal limits in mind. Avoid binge drinking and other substance use. Making sure you’re drinking water throughout the day is important as well. Try to keep your drinking to a maximum of one drink per hour, making note of how you feel along the way. If you don’t think you’ll be able to monitor or control your drinking around your guests, it’s best to avoid it altogether. You can still have a wonderful Thanksgiving without alcohol!  

Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday in the best way possible! Remember to take breaks when you need them — a break can make the difference between a lovely holiday and a stressful one. At the table, avoid uncomfortable discussions and topics that are sure to cause arguments and fighting. This holiday is about loved ones and gratitude, not fighting. When it’s time to eat, focus on eating what you want and not what you think you should eat. Redirect any comments about your food or body — you deserve to feel your best this holiday season! Finally, make sure to monitor your alcohol intake as much as you can. One too many drinks could make the difference between an amazing holiday and a soured one. Happy Thanksgiving Huskies, and enjoy your break!  

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