Creating some traditions for yourself will help give it joy and meaning.
With COVID and flu season being what they are, some of us will have to quarantine during Thanksgiving this year. Even if we don’t have to quarantine, many of us won’t be able to attend our usual Thanksgiving celebrations with family and friends. If you’re looking forward to having some time off, but can’t fill it with what you normally would this year, here are some ideas of traditions to create for yourself.
Create a schedule for the days you have off.
If you have Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, that’s a lot of free time. Or if this is just the beginning of a two week quarantine, and you won’t be working during it, you have even more free time. To have to spend it alone is overwhelming.
The first day of any vacation time is usually pretty easy — you sleep in, you watch some shows, you just relax, and it is enjoyable. But, then, the freedom and the show watching become oppressive on day two or three, and you start getting restless. So, plan your time. Are there a few things you need to get done around the house? Plan when you will do those things first, and then plan your relaxation time around them. Think about what brings you joy. Do you like creating art? Music? Cooking? Building something? Devote some of your free time to hobbies or activities you enjoy, and prepare for that now by making sure you have what you need. Order more yarn, or flour, or paper if you’re out. That way, you won’t resort to spending all your time on a screen, and end up feeling more isolated than you would have otherwise.
Write some gratitude snail mail.
Thank the people in your life for what they’ve done and who they are. If you don’t love letter writing, try a different medium: Draw a cartoon and send it. Make some cookies. Record a video of yourself talking or singing about how much you appreciate someone. You can send something online, but having to stamp and address an envelope makes the process more human. It takes more work and thought to open a letter than it does to click on an email, and even that small step makes what you send more meaningful — people really appreciate it.
Make an easy Thanksgiving dinner for one or two.
Shredded cooked chicken breast covered in gravy is pretty close taste-wise to turkey, can be made for one or two persons, and is a lot less time intensive. Just put a couple of chicken breasts in a crock pot or instant pot and let them cook. Then make or buy your favorite sides. A jar of cranberry sauce, a potato, and a pie maybe. As a bonus, you can still have a leftover Thanksgiving sandwich the next day with this meal.
Sit outside …
… even if it’s freezing, or raining, and you have to wear a bunch of layers and a mask, and all you can do outside is sit on your tiny apartment balcony for a few minutes. Or if it’s possible and safe, take a walk. Do this every day. Even if the weather is not cooperating. Challenge yourself by not bringing any entertainment or distractions with you. Just use the time to breathe and think, or breathe and pray, or just breathe and let your mind wander. The fresh air and change of scene can do wonders for your mood and your day.
Thank the most important person.
If you haven’t spoken to God off the cuff in a while (and by that I mean saying whatever comes to mind rather than using a formal prayer like the Hail Mary or Our Father), now is the time. Sit in front of a picture of Jesus or a crucifix if you have one (the crucifix on a rosary works well). And then list the things you are grateful for. Reflect on what God has given you and how your life has gone. Thank him. If it feels weird or awkward, that’s okay. In most situations, talking to someone we don’t normally talk to isn’t easy or smooth. Try doing this every day of your home vacation or quarantine.