Compared with every TV show, movie, and comic strip about Thanksgiving, my family’s version is extremely chill. Examples of “dramas” we’ve faced: Someone arrives an hour early and we must entertain them. Someone comes with a new girlfriend or an acquaintance or a Canadian friend and we must set an extra place. Someone brings a raw cranberry sauce to put alongside the cooked one, and there’s a heated conversation about whether the raw one is technically a relish. So I really have no business being stressed on Thanksgiving; it’s just that my usual low-grade anxiety is heightened thanks to the fun combo of heinous travel plus cooking responsibility plus large family gathering. But I didn’t come here for therapy. I came to talk solutions.
It starts with the Thanksgiving Eve journey, wherein I smash myself onto a subway car and then a commuter train to get to my parents’ house north of New York City. Here, between the armpit of a business suit and a tiny dog in a Vera Bradley bag, I’m grateful for my daily Sun Potion ashwagandha habit. I get the adaptogenic herb powdered and stir it into hot water every a.m. to build up and support my body’s resilience to stress.
By the time I make it home, smelling like the pumpkin spice beverage someone spilled on my shoes, I’m ready for a drink of my own. But I’m also taking half a dropper of CBD oil, which has been shown in some studies to help with pain relief and muscle relaxation. I look for products made from the whole hemp plant, like Lily CBD. My parents can’t quite remember the acronym, but they keep asking me about “that new weed thing,” so this year I’ll share. Family bonding!
No one in my family sleeps late—it’s in our genetic code. If I want to try to make it past the still-dark hour, I need a set of earplugs and my Slip sleep mask, which stays put all night and feels like lingerie for your face.
Between table setting, potato peeling, and whatever other tasks my ruthlessly efficient parents find for me to do, I pause for sips from my Fressko infuser flask. Inside is fresh-brewed skullcap, a plant that calms my nerves and helps with stomach pain. If things start getting a little hot in the kitchen, I’ll sneak off with a Monq aromatherapy pen. It looks like an e-cigarette but is really nothing but pure delicious smells such as eucalyptus, lime, and tangerine.
If I’ve done all these things, I’m on cruise control by the time extended family and friends start arriving. This is the easy part: a frenzy of plates passing, glasses refilling, and claims that this year’s turkey is the best ever and we mean it this time. Afterward, with tryptophan coursing through my bloodstream, all I need is a couch, Forrest Gump, and a promise to do the dishes later. For a moment, I’ll forget what stress even is.
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