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Happy Thanksgiving!

From Eugene Therapy & Oregon Counseling
This year has been unlike any other, filled with a lot uncertainty and new challenges for many people. Despite all of the changes, there are still ways that we can focus on having gratitude and finding joy. This Thanksgiving, we are especially grateful for all of our wonderful clients and staff who have adapted to online therapy and who have been incredibly resilient during this time. We hope that you take this holiday break to relax and focus on the things and people that you love.

Stay safe and have a happy Thanksgiving.

                                                                           Eugene Therapy & Oregon Counseling

In this issue:

Managing Holiday Loneliness:
6 Tips for Spending Thanksgiving Alone

Thanksgiving usually involves cherished traditions, with large gatherings, communal meals and an overall theme of togetherness. However, the holidays are going to be looking a lot different this year because of the pandemic. Many people won’t be going to visit their families for this holiday season. If you know that you will be spending this Thanksgiving alone, here are our tips for managing loneliness and still making the most of this time of year.

Rethink Your Expectations 

If your vision of a "perfect" Thanksgiving involves you surrounded by a dozen of your relatives, you likely will have to rethink your expectations this year. Many people enjoy seeing their extended families during this time, but with the pandemic it's not as safe to do so right now. If you are going to be alone for the first time this Thanksgiving or only be with your immediate family, consider how you can still make the day enjoyable. You may no longer be expecting a large, traditional gathering, but you can still plan for a nice, relaxing day off at home.


Connect With Others Virtually

Even if you’re unable to see your loved ones in person, you can still spend part of Thanksgiving with them virtually, over FaceTime or Zoom. Take part of your day to share with them what you’re grateful for and dig into your favorite pie together. Or go on a walk after dinner and take time to catch up over the phone. Sharing some part of the holiday with loved ones can help bring us familiar comfort when we are physically distant.


Find Ways to Still Celebrate Traditions (Or Create New Ones)

Perhaps what you’re going to miss the most this year is the traditions that come along with this holiday season. If you can, find a way to still celebrate your family traditions virtually. You can still bake the same delicious recipes in your own home or go for a run (with a mask) before your meal in lieu of your annual turkey trot. Or, you can create new family traditions, like playing games of Family Feud (over Zoom) or choosing to watch a favorite holiday movie together (through a web browser extension).


Take This Time To Rest

Take advantage of what might be a slower, less chaotic holiday by taking this time to fully relax. After the year we’ve had, we could all use some much needed rest. Catch up on sleep, curl up with a good book, draw a warm bath, or put on our favorite show. It will feel good to take a break and prioritize yourself during this time.


Still Enjoy a Good Meal

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without copious amounts of comfort food. You can still make the same tasty recipes and enjoy a classic Thanksgiving meal on this day. Or if you usually leave the cooking to other relatives, treat yourself by ordering food in. 


Cultivate Gratitude & Give Back

Practicing gratitude is a great way to combat loneliness during this time of year. Gratitude is known to reduce a multitude of negative emotions, like envy, frustration or resentment. Having gratitude allows us to feel more fulfilled with what we have. Take some time on Thanksgiving to reflect on everything you are thankful for. You can express your gratitude by calling your loved ones and chatting with them, journaling or giving back in any way that you can. 

If you'll be spending Thanksgiving by yourself this year, take comfort in knowing that a lot of people will be in similar situations this year. While it can be tough to not see family, remember that being safe and healthy is the most important thing. We all have to make the most of this holiday season and recognize that it will be different from years past. Take care of yourself in whatever way works for you and give thanks for all of the great things and people you have in your life.

Other Helpful Articles

Tips for Spending Thanksgiving Alone
Tips for Handling Thanksgiving Day
Managing Common Holiday Problems

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Ways to Give Thanks This Holiday Season

Given the events of this year, it may be difficult to focus on gratitude right now. But even with all of the difficulties that we have endured lately, there are still small things that we can all give thanks for. Having gratitude is more essential now than ever. Cultivating gratitude can improve our emotional well-being and give us a greater sense of happiness in life. Here are some ways you can give thanks this season:

Find Joy in the Small Things

Even the simplest things in life can bring us immense joy. Make a list of some of the small things that you are thankful for. Maybe you always look forward to your morning cup of coffee or get excited by daily walks around the neighborhood with your dog. When we are preoccupied only on the larger parts of our lives, we tend to overlook the little things that we are thankful for each day. The more we recognize and give thanks for the small things, the happier we'll be with where we're at right now. 


Call Your Loved Ones

When was the last time you picked up the phone and told your family or friends that you love them? Think about the people in your life who make everything brighter. It's one thing to be thankful for them, and another to actually express it to them. Calling your loved ones and telling them how much you appreciate them can be a great way to express your gratitude. Even if it seems out of the blue, they probably will appreciate it a lot and also acknowledge how thankful they are to have you in their lives too.

Start a Gratitude Journal

Writing down the things that we are thankful for can be a great way to express our gratitude. There are many ways you can keep a gratitude journal. One simple way is to start each day by writing down three things that you're grateful for, big or small. Notice how your perspective changes when you focus on the positive aspects of your life and truly acknowledge your gratitude for them. 

Give Back

Giving back to a cause we're passionate about is a great way to express our gratitude. Perhaps there's a charity that you resonate with and want to give to this holiday season, either monetarily or through volunteering. One of the greatest ways to express our thankfulness is to give, when you can. Giving is a wonderful way to actively practice gratitude.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

Other Helpful Articles

 Managing Family Conflict During the Holidays


The holidays aren't always a wonderful time for everyone. In fact, they can be a large source of stress for many. While you're likely not going to see much of your extended family this year for Thanksgiving and the other upcoming holidays, this can still be a time of tension among families. Even if you're celebrating Thanksgiving just with your immediate family members that you already live with, disagreements or uncomfortable subjects (like politics or sensitive personal matters) may still be brought up at the dinner table.

If you're feeling added anxiety about possible family conflict this year, here are our tips:

Set Boundaries

Before you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal with family, consider if there are any sensitive topics that you would prefer not to discuss over your dinner. It's perfectly okay to set boundaries if you're not ready to discuss something that might be brought up or if a topic might make you upset. Establish these boundaries before you all gather together. By setting boundaries, you'll be able to keep conversation topics neutral and prevent any conflict from arising.

Clearly Communicate Your Expectations

It's perfectly okay to politely let your family know your boundaries and that you'd like them to honor them. Make a plan ahead of time of how you would like to approach specific subjects if they are brought up. Another area where conflict may arise this year is with family members having varying comfort levels with gathering during the pandemic. Recognize your boundaries and clearly communicate what you are or are not comfortable with. It may help to approach conversations using "I" statements, to ensure that you're assertive without making accusations.

Choose Appropriate Times to Talk

If there is something you want to discuss with your family members, but you would rather not chat about it with the whole family or during your meal, choose a separate time to talk. If something is bothering you and you want to address a certain issue, you should feel comfortable doing so. Try to find a time when your stressed family member isn't running around the kitchen or when you're not in the middle of dinner. By finding the right time to talk, you're more likely to have a calm, attentive and productive conversation.

Keep Gratitude in Mind

If you find yourself and your family members caught in a disagreement, try to diffuse the situation with gratitude in mind. Remember that despite the stress of the holiday, there are many things to be thankful for. Gratitude can put many situations into perspective and allow us to recognize what truly matters at the end of the day.

Take a Break

If you feel like a conversation is getting heated or making you upset, it's also okay to take a break and politely excuse yourself for a bit. You could take a short walk outside or go run an errand if you find yourself needing to take a break from your family members. This can help us return more at ease and better able to sort through what may be upsetting us.

If you're anticipating tension or conflict among your family this Thanksgiving, focus on how you can best take care of yourself. By navigating our close relationships with empathy and respect, and honoring our own boundaries, we'll be much more likely to enjoy this holiday season with our loved ones.

Other Helpful Articles

Resolving Family Conflict
Developing Healthy Family Dynamics

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 From the Blog

How to Be Hopeful During Difficult Times                   The Benefits of Online Therapy
Tips to Cope This Winter During COVID                    How to Deal With Uncomfortable Emotions

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