What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?

For many, it’s a time for gratitude, an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, and kick off the festive holiday season. And, for some, this time of year causes feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, and a sense of forced obligation.

Whether you love the holidays or dread them, one thing to keep front and center is how you’re showing up while you navigate the times. While it may not seem like you have a choice in how you spend your time or speak your mind, it will serve you well to remember that everything is a choice.

You have the choice to stick with tradition and do what’s always been done (love it or hate it). You have the choice to do your own thing, even if it goes against the grain. You can choose to do a little bit of both. Whatever you decide, you’re likely going to be faced with some people or parts of the holiday that just aren’t your cup of tea.

The real question is “How can I be my best self?” during the holidays (and every day), regardless of what’s on the agenda.

Whether you find yourself alone or surrounded by loved ones at this time of year, how you choose to navigate the season will affect your energy, mindset, emotions, and your relationships with other people.

When you make choices that are aligned with what’s important to you, you strengthen your ability to stand for yourself. This may ruffle some feathers at first and that’s okay. What’s good for them isn’t necessarily what’s good for you. This is how you gain self-respect and avoid abandoning yourself.

When you take action that supports what you want and need, you honor what is best for you right now. This may upset someone else, and that’s okay, too. What they want in the moment may be different than what you need. It’s not your responsibility to meet their needs, it’s your responsibility to meet your own needs. This is how you practice self-care and avoid resentment.

When you speak up and let others know what works for you and what doesn’t, you set healthy boundaries. You may get some pushback as they attempt to make things go their way, and that’s to be expected. We all do that to some degree. Holding your ground is how you develop self-confidence and avoid being a doormat.

This is your opportunity to recognize the importance of knowing who you are, what’s important to you, and going about ensuring our needs are met—while also enjoying the company of loved ones during the holidays.

Let’s explore how you can be your best self regardless of what’s on the agenda for the holidays.

Be Yourself and Do What is Best for You

  • Dress how you want and express who you are so that people can get a vibe for your essence.
  • Speak in ways that convey your interests and what’s important to you so that others can better understand who you are.
  • Show up as the best version of yourself – the version of you that makes you feel strong, proud, loving, compassionate, and authentically YOU so that you feel true to yourself

Be Clear on Your Intention—Your Desired Outcome

  • If rest or downtime is what you need, it’s okay to politely decline an invite so that you can rest or do something that feels better for you.
  • If enjoying your time with family is important to you, it’s okay to breathe through the moments when they’re annoying (we’re all annoying in our own ways).
  • If showering your family with love and gratitude and kindness is what your heart desires, give them your quality of presence, and tell them how grateful you are to be spending this time with them.

Have the Conversation and Do the Thing That’s Right for You

  • If there’s someone who puts you down, makes you feel uncomfortable or creates drama, it’s okay to let them know—directly—that their behavior isn’t appropriate and either they can stop what they’re doing, or you’ll simply leave.
  • If you aren’t up for cooking, entertaining or opening your home, it’s perfectly fine to suggest another venue so that you can ease the pressure & escape back to the comfort of your own quiet home at the end of the evening.
  • If you’re not up for packing up the kids and traveling across town (or the country) to a relative’s home the way you did before you had children, that’s your prerogative. You have permission to stay home and make it your own.

As we move through this week toward the Thanksgiving holiday (here in the US), let’s all begin each day by asking ourselves the question “What’s the best expression of myself that I can be today?” Then go be that person. Everything else will sort itself out.

Be humble, be kind and love one another.