As SGA reminded us earlier this week, Thanksgiving is indeed complicated. Thanksgiving might be a warm, connected, reflective celebration for you, which is wonderful, and I truly hope you enjoy this break. But around the holiday there are also destructive meanings and difficult experiences that I feel should be recognized as well as the positive aspects. Some of these realities erased from the mainstream narrative of the “First Thanksgiving” include the holiday’s links to genocide of indigenous people, as SGA pointed out. Thanksgiving can also feel very difficult if you are not able for whatever reason to go to a place you consider home, if you go home but don’t find it all that safe or relaxing, or if you have other concerns stirred up around this time. These aspects are real and valid.
But even though it’s not the only meaning or feeling associated with the day, there can be some really positive effects from “giving thanks,” whenever you choose to do so. Research has demonstrated that reflecting on and expressing gratitude “has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others,” according to a New York Times article with suggestions on how to make gratitude a practice extending beyond one day. I would urge you to be gentle with yourself in this pursuit, especially if you are down, when this can feel very difficult. Everything is a process…and I am grateful for moments when I can take my own advice and remember this.
Best wishes for this break. The office will re-open Monday afternoon if you want a place to decompress, seek support, or just get some delicious tea.