Because of the pandemic, not all of us will be going home for the holidays, and that’s a respectable choice. Luckily it’s not going to be the first time anyone has spent a holiday alone and there is plenty of inspiration for a non-traditional holiday.
Does your granny make the best green bean casserole? Ask her to swap recipes and spend the day on zoom cooking together. Eating together is obliviously a big part of the day, but some of our fondest memories are in the kitchen cooking together! By cooking each other’s signature dishes you can challenge yourself and share some laughs.
Stress-dreams and waking up every couple of hours- are good reasons to wake up cranky on Thanksgiving. Since you might already be tense about being away from your family, try not to add a bad night of sleep on top of it. The Sleep Foundation points out that our ability to control our emotions can be drastically impacted by a lack of sleep.
“Sufficient sleep, especially REM sleep, facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information. During sleep, the brain works to evaluate and remember thoughts and memories, and it appears that a lack of sleep is especially harmful to the consolidation of positive emotional content.”
Pamper yourself this holiday and be compassionate with yourself. It is okay to be sad and stressed out because you are alone and not with loved ones. Don’t let yourself spend the whole day in negative energy, however, and take care of your mental health.
In my neighborhood, there’s an outdoor-community fridge, where people can drop off fresh food and a shelf for can-goods. No lines, or sign-up, people can just walk up and grab what they want. If you have the means to do so you can spend the week leading up to Thanksgiving setting up your own outdoor pantry. You can get your community involved or spread the word by asking for donations.
Another great option is cooking your normal thanksgiving feast, but since you’re flying solo this Thanksgiving, pack it up into to-go containers. Grab a face mask and head out to give your mini-feasts to those in need.
Tara Davis, director of Friendship Mission tells WSFA12 that,
“Homelessness and hunger do not stop because it’s Thanksgiving or it’s Easter."
If you decide to cook and handle food for people outside of your household, look out for them by washing your hands often, and/or wearing gloves. If you have not been recently tested for COVID-19 (and even if you have) it won't hurt to wear a mask while preparing and packaging food meant for others.
Without a doubt it is a different kind of year, and if you can’t spend it like you normally do, why eat turkey? You read that right, skip the turkey and do something outrageous. Put together as many dishes as possible made entirely of raw fruits and vegetables! Try going vegan this Thanksgiving or create the largest pie your oven can handle!
Is it just you and a roommate or partner? Have a pancake flipping contest. Is it just you and your cat? Make an extravagant kitty dinner and light a candle and set the table for two. And if it’s just you, try an Instagram live, stream your day cooking weird things!
At the end of the day, you will not be the only one alone this Thanksgiving. It may not seem like much of a consolation, but people all over the world will be struggling with loneliness this holiday season. Try closing your eyes, breathing deeply, and mentally wrap yourself in love, gratefulness, and patience. Feelings of anxiety or sadness can hit in waves randomly before, during, and after Thanksgiving. We can, essentially experience post-holiday depression.
If you do experience headaches, fatigue, or trouble sleeping, says The Center For Treatment of Anxiety And Mood Disorders, it might be helpful to talk it out with a health-care professional. At the very least take the time to feel the emotions, they are valid but don’t hang onto them and make worry your reality!