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Thankfully Mindful

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Today’s blog comes from Ellen Bee, MA, LPC, to remind us how to be mindful during Thanksgiving.

You look different, have you gained weight? Did you brother’s friend ever throw that birthday party for his cat? What are your views on foreign policy? These are the kinds of questions I hear around the Thanksgiving table. Normal, right? To be fair, I look forward to a day that is reserved for gluttony, gratitude, family and friends. Yet I cannot help but also feel a sense of overwhelming anxiety in having to answer said queries that sometimes border interrogation. Is it possible to navigate these two conflicting feelings of excitement and worry?

Practicing mindfulness can help to alleviate some stressors associated with Thanksgiving, whether you are fielding Aunt Kathy’s questions or simply choosing between dessert options. Acknowledge your feelings and take notice of what is happening around you. What do you see? Can you smell the turkey baking in the oven? Is there music playing ever so softly in the background? Focus on the present and try to work towards accepting those feelings.

It is easy to lose sight of yourself in all of the chaos of not only Thanksgiving, but everyday life. What are you grateful for today? For me, I am thankful for the sense of belonging and for the supportive community that surrounds me. Too easily I forget to check in with myself. Take some time to reflect and listen to your body and mind this holiday season.

Take a deep breath in. Loosen a belt notch. Breathe out.

Ellen Bee, MA, LPC, is a Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University in Child, Adolescent & Family Services. She specializes in the treatment of mood disorders, trauma, anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, and school refusal.

The Family Institute offers affordable, effective mental health counseling for families, couples and individuals in Evanston, Chicago, Northbrook and Westchester. Learn more about our services.

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