Just because you’re alone on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. While many Iowans will be spending the day with family and friends, many others will be making alternative plans. Beverly Flaxington, a therapist and human behavior coach, says Iowans can stave off the holiday blues by finding positive ways to occupy their time — like volunteering. “For many people who are alone, for example, they go to a homeless shelter, they may go to a nursing home where people don’t have families themselves and visit people there,” Flaxington says. “They may belong to a church or a synagogue and be able to participate there.”
Flaxington says don’t let the Thanksgiving funk snowball, as everyone has to be alone at one point or another. Her best advice on how to get through the holiday season is to not let all the hype get larger than life. “We create this painful cycle for ourselves, so it’s very important to catch that in action and make a decision that says, this too shall pass, I’m going to find something else I’d like to do today,” Flaxington says.
That could include going to a movie, reading a book or going shopping, either online or in person. While it’s pretty hard to avoid all of the holiday hoopla, don’t fall into self pity, get upset and catch a bad case of the blues. “It’s really taking those same facts and saying, ‘Yes, it’s Thanksgiving and I’m alone, but it’s any other day of the year. Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up and it won’t be Thanksgiving and I’m going to make different choices today,'” she says.
It’s not looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but instead, she says, filtering the same information in a new way to bring a more positive outlook. If you’re having an extreme case of the blues, Flaxington recommends talking about it with a doctor or a professional therapist.