After the Loss of a Loved One: 3 Tips to Regain Your Gratitude This Thanksgiving

GratitudeAfter the loss of a loved one, hosting Thanksgiving dinner may not rank high on your list of priorities. But maintaining routines and traditions are especially important, particularly when children are involved. Keep it together this Thanksgiving by cutting yourself some slack and focusing on the things that are good and bright and humorous about the holiday.

Crank up the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

When you focus on the logistics of flying a five-story-high inflatable dragon through the windy streets of New York City, you just might find yourself smiling. Now in its 87th year, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is as much a holiday staple in homes across the nation as the mountains of roast turkey and pumpkin pie that come after. Thanksgiving Day is also when many of the best holiday movies start showing up on cable and satellite TV, so make time to enjoy both.

Focus on the Future

Or at least on the next day. Download any of these Black Friday apps to your mobile device for help keeping track of all the best door-buster bargains taking place the next morning. You can program most of them, so they send you an alert every time new ad information pops up, and they’ll help you keep a running tally of your shopping list and compare prices so you get the best deal from local retailers. Shopping won’t solve all your problems, but it does do you good to get “out there” and interacting with people, and you will save money on Christmas gifts.

Step Away From the Platter

Put someone else in charge of watching the stove and lock yourself in the sanctuary of your bedroom for 15 minutes every so often throughout the day. Relax in a comfy, overstuffed chair or simply flop on the bed while you read a few passages from a meditation book.

  • “The Language of Letting Go,” by Melody Beatty. While written for people recovering from codependency, this book contains a wealth of daily uplifting meditations that are appropriate for anyone. The book encourages you to be easier on yourself and to accept that neither you (nor your Thanksgiving Day dinner) has to be perfect.
  • “Gratitude: What’s Right is Always Available—Finding Happiness With Daily Gratitude,” by Daniel Web. This book is dedicated to helping you remember to be grateful, even when the emotion seems ridiculously illusive. Web believes that by learning to see and enjoy the small things in life—nicely browned dinner rolls or guests who don’t linger past bedtime—is key to staying happy.
  • “The Secret Gratitude Book,” by Rhonda Byrne. This book has ample lined pages for writing your own meditations on gratitude. A companion journal to Byrne’s best-selling “The Secret” books, the premise is based on the power of the written word and how it brings affirmation to your life. If you claim in writing that the snow will hold off until the last guest is gone, so it might come to pass.

About the Author

Melissa Haberman Melissa got a Master’s degree in counseling and runs a small practice out of her home in the Minneapolis, Minnesota. She writes about relationships and the power of positive thinking and living for a number of blogs.

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