How to Enjoy Being Alone on Thanksgiving

Food & Nutrition, Holiday Fast Track, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Dinner for One

So, you are going to be alone and perhaps even in a strange city on Thanksgiving, and the very idea is getting you down. Cheer up and welcome to the club. Lots of us Americans don’t gather around a groaning board on the last Thursday in November surrounded by family and friends. Some people are alone by choice and some by circumstance, and whatever your situation, you can choose to get maudlin about the whole thing or have an enjoyable or maybe even a super fabulous day.

Lots of people have to work on Thanksgiving. If that is your situation, know that your coworkers will be working too and make a point of enjoying the day with them. I have a friend who is divorced with grown children and who is a nurse at a local hospital—she always signs up to work on Thanksgiving and always has a wonderful time sharing the day with patients and their families. She also gets paid overtime which goes a long way towards making her thankful too.

Students, ex-pats, the recently divorced, the widowed, all huddle together at holiday time, like cows under a tree before a rainstorm. Many of these will be spending Thanksgiving alone, and if you will be in their ranks, the trick is to not feel sorry for yourself but to let go and enjoy the day.

Personally, I enjoy my own company and really enjoy my solitude. I am often with family and friends on Thanksgiving, but have chosen to spend a few Thanksgivings by myself and have had some wonderful, serendipitous Thanksgivings alone or with a band of other solo celebrants. Sometimes complete strangers can be better Thanksgiving dinner companions than far flung family.

I’ve been on my own for the past decade and before that was married for 33 years, raising two children, working, playing, and generally juggling life. My husband and I were both only children of divorced parents, so the holiday season always presented familial challenges, but we were inventive, and it was always fun.

I have cooked many a turkey and presided over many a table, which is perhaps why I am so serene about being on my own for Thanksgiving. But even for me, it does take a bit of planning. Here are my tips gleaned over the years from here and there.

Make it a party of one
Make it a party of one | Source

Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Alone

  1. Plan Ahead: If you know you are going to be alone and not working, try to find a kindred soul or souls ahead of time and make plans to get together for a Thanksgiving meal. It can be a potluck at somebody’s house or a seasonal feast at a fancy restaurant. One year, I went to a local diner with a group of women who were alone for one reason or another. It was great. It’s a way of observing the holiday without pain. If you are working on Turkey Day, plan some sort of celebration with coworkers. It’s best not to spend the day at home alone watching sentimental holiday movies or The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV all by yourself. Make a plan, and do something to give the day a little structure.
  2. Make the Day YOURS: If you are going to be alone, do what you feel like doing and not what you think you should do. That is, don’t go to somebody’s house for Thanksgiving just because you think you should. Sometimes, being grafted on to somebody else’s family celebration can make you feel more alone than being alone. Do what you want to do. Feel like going to the gym? if it’s open, do it. Feel like taking a hike or catching a film or concert? Do it, and don’t feel you have to eat turkey either. If your idea of a great meal is pizza, get a pizza. In fact, it might be a good idea to NOT go anywhere near traditional Thanksgiving fare if you are on your own for the day.
  3. Do Unto Others: I know it is going to sound like a cliché, but if your church or temple has a soup kitchen or if there is a local food pantry or charity Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to plan to work for them on Thanksgiving. There is nothing to make you grateful for what you have like helping those who have less—they do call it Thanksgiving for a reason, you know.
  4. Stay In Touch via Skype: Through the wonders of the internet and video calling and chat, you can now stay in touch with your family on Thanksgiving without actually being with them. Sometimes, I think this is the best of all worlds, but then my family history is full of contentious Thanksgiving dinners. Never mind—that’s another article. I also love getting videos from everybody to replay later over the long weekend.
Source

Thanksgiving Dinner for One

One way to take the lonely out of alone on Thanksgiving is to go all the way and cook yourself a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Whether you polish up the family silver and get out the best china or buy a package of holiday paper plates, set a festive table and make it special.

Frozen turkey dinners can seem pretty pathetic, but for the truly hopeless cook, they can be a Thanksgiving solution if, and ONLY if, you nuke the dinner and then put it on your best china plate, use real sliver and cloth napkin, and sit yourself down at a real table to eat it like a real meal. Ditto if you go out to your local deli or fast food place and get take out turkey with all the trimmings.

Presentation, as the French are fond of saying, is everything when it comes to food. No scarfing your Thanksgiving dinner down in front of the TV. Sit down at a real table in a real chair and eat like a real human being off real plates with real cutlery and chew with your mouth closed, ok? Oh, you can listen to music if you want—but NO TV.

For those with greater culinary skills, here are some links to Thanksgiving menus for one and hints on how to enjoy.

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4 Healthy Swaps to Help You Lose Weight

fitness, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized, Weekly Workout Meet Up!, Workout Wednesday
4 Healthy Swaps to Help You Lose Weight

Although you work out and stay physically fit, you can always boost your efforts to make healthy choices and stave off extra pounds. To start, try healthy lifestyle swaps like these four below, which can impact your overall well-being.

AFTERNOON SWAP

Why: Research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicinesuggests ingesting caffeine hours before nightfall causes a disturbance in sleep. In this study, participants who consumed caffeine up to six hours before bed lost more than an hour of sleep.

The Swap: To avoid the 4 p.m. slump, hit the stairs. A new study published inPhysiology & Behavior found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine. (This is the equivalent to about a cup of green tea (59 mg), two cans of soda (58 mg) or just less than a shot of espresso (63 mg)).

WORK SWAP

Why: The American Heart Association released a science advisory on the dangers of sedentary behavior. It states that Americans, on average, sit 6–8 hours per day, which leads to all types of health issues, ranging from diabetes to death. Even those who stay active in their personal time don’t have the same problematic health reductions as those who move more.

The Swap: To improve your daily mobility, try switching your smaller work meetings, such as one-on-ones, to walking meetings. “The goal with walking meetings isn’t to sweat up a storm. The goal is just to integrate a little more natural movement into daily life,” says Dani Singer, fitness director of Fit2Go Personal Training in Baltimore, Maryland. “The boost you receive in mood and energy will pay off much higher than the calories you burn.” As added bonuses: research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychologysuggests that walking leads to increased creative thinking, and an exploratory study from the Harvard Business Review proposes that walking meetings support better cognitive engagement on the job.

VACATION SWAPS

Why: A vacation may not only leave you with extra weight, but it can hang around for six weeks post vacation. In a study published in Physiology & Behavior, participants who took a one- to three-week vacation gained an average of almost 1 pound. To put this amount in perspective, the average American gains 1–2 pounds per year.

The Swap: Skip the depressing hotel gym and build exercise into your vacation by doing what the locals do. “Different places often have different cultures when it comes to exercise, and trying working out their way can add a fantastic experience to your trip. In India, try yoga; in China, try tai chi,” says Julia Buckley, a trainer in the U.K. and author of “The Fat Burn Revolution.” “Change your mindset from seeing exercise as a chore which you shouldn’t have to do on vacation to thinking of it as something that will enhance your vacation by energizing your body and calming your mind.”

SHOPPING SWAP

Why: Although the percentage of online shoppers continues to outpace in-person buyers, the statistics show people still prefer brick-and-mortar stores.Retail TouchPoints, an online publishing network for retail executives, conducted a survey of consumers and found that 85% prefer to shop in person because they like to touch and feel products before they purchase; 36% don’t like waiting for items to be delivered and 30% like to receive advice on what products they should purchase.

The Swap: Park your car far from the front and enjoy the time spent strolling around — you’re burning calories. Use a basket instead of a shopping cart if you’re only picking up a few items. To find out how many calories you’ll burn, use the MapMyRun calorie calculator.

 

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