Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays to spend quality time with family, but preparing for the day and keeping everyone entertained can be stressful. Thanksgiving mental health activities can be just what you need to intuitively build unforgettable memories with your family this Thanksgiving season.
Thanksgiving mental health activities provide a perfect opportunity to practice gratitude with your family this holiday season.
The benefits of practicing gratitude
Expressing gratitude has plenty of physical and mental benefits. It can positively contribute to your self-love journey, and overall well-being. Some additional benefits of gratitude include:
- Combatting negative feelings and negative emotions about your own life
- Decreasing stress levels
- Boosting your self-esteem and confidence
- improving your sleep and mood
- Improving immunity, depression, and anxiety
- More positive social experiences
We’ve put together Thanksgiving activities to bring the attitude of gratitude to your family to celebrate beyond the Thanksgiving table. This list includes fun activities that can guarantee good times and better emotional health for you and your entire family.
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Mental Health Activities to Try This Thanksgiving
Create a Set Schedule for the Day
Avoid stress and burnout by creating a detailed schedule of your Thanksgiving day. This can help you set boundaries for yourself and stay within your own limits.
Do this with your family to include activities you all can enjoy. Making this a group effort can ensure that everyone is aware of all plans and more likely to respect everyone’s time.
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Mental Health Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great family activity for Thanksgiving day. The best way to take this game up a notch is to focus on doing actions rather than hunting for items.
While this game is excellent for all ages, it’s easy to get young children to calm down, be in the present moment, and identify their emotions.
Making a gratitude jar is a wonderful way to keep the sense of appreciation flowing throughout Thanksgiving day.
You’ll need a large mason jar, a stack of Post-its, and a Sharpie. Pass this jar around and encourage everyone to write what they are grateful for. Read them aloud with your family after dinner or at the end of the day.
Make Care Packages
The perfect way to spend Thanksgiving weekend is by making care packages for local shelters, your charity of choice, or even family members who are going through a difficult time.
This kind of activity can be great for mental health because it allows us to get out of our daily lives and give warm clothes and supplies to those in need. Doing this can provide a greater sense of happiness and feelings of gratitude.
Morning Family Meditation
Meditation has tons of benefits and there’s no better time to do it than on Thanksgiving morning with your family.
Incorporating a deep breathing exercise into your Thanksgiving tradition can have a positive effect on your day and strengthen your familial relationships.
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Family Time Capsules
Making a time capsule can the perfect way to share and create memories with your family. This activity can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
There’s three ways you can approach this activity:
- Start a tradition, the seasonal way, and open the capsule every year on Thanksgiving day.
- Create a time capsule to be opened later (e.g., 2 years, 5 years, or even 10 years).
- Start at the beginning of the month of November by collecting items from your family. Open the time capsule on Thanksgiving day.
Connecting to a higher power through prayer on Thanksgiving is a great mental health activity for a religious family.
There isn’t an ideal time to incorporate prayer into your holiday celebrations. It can be done when the family first gathers, before Thanksgiving dinner, or before you depart to travel home.
Social Media Detox
Taking a break from social media as a family can have amazing mental health benefits, and there’s no perfect time to do so than on Thanksgiving day.
Make a cute sign, grab a basket, and encourage your family members to part ways with their mobile phones and devices. This can improve social skills and allow one to truly enjoy the holiday and make real life memories by being fully present.
Make Gratitude Books for Kids
If you’re looking for a creative way to add mental health activities to your Thanksgiving holiday, making gratitude books for kids is a fun way to do so.
This activity can help keep the younger children in your family busy while the adults catch up, prepare dinner, or relax. Put together gratitude printouts, coloring pages, outlined hand turkeys, and prompts to complete and show off.
Write Gratitude Letters
Give your family members a piece of paper and pencils to write their letters to express what they are most grateful for. Doing this can boost mood, relieve stress, and encourage positive emotions.
Making a gratitude letter is a creative activity that the whole family, even the older kids, can partake in. When completed, it can be turned into a full gratitude journal for your family.
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air with your family for a mental health break. Walking can boost the immune system, and, if done on a consistent basis, can greatly improve physical health and digestion.
This is something that can be done before or after dinner and can involve the large or small groups of family.
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Playing gratitude games can help you and your family have the best time while getting a sense of thankfulness this Thanksgiving holiday.
These games don’t have to be challenging at all. The important thing here is to remain focused on the present moment and what makes you and your family grateful to celebrate together.
Board Game Competition
Board games are an excellent way to relieve stress and have a great day with your family. You can enjoy a classic game or try something new that you, your team, or group members can learn together.
Involved the entire family to show support and build strong bonds.
Do Puzzles and Challenges
Problem solving with family is good for making strong familial bonds. Such bonds can combat depression and anxiety and boost immunity and self-confidence. All while having a great time together.
Some puzzles and challenges can also help strengthen physical health by positively affecting the fine motor skills of family members in need.
Family Memory Presentation
Collect photos and videos as a family and create a PowerPoint using Google slides components. Sharing memories and the good things that define your family’s history is a great way to bond with your family and reap some mental health benefits.
Sharing happy memories with loved ones can help boost your self-esteem, promote positive thoughts, and make you more comfortable.
Focus on Mental Health This Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving holiday can be mentally draining, especially for people with mental health challenges. But the bottom line is it doesn’t have to be.
Whether you’re preparing a feast for your family or patiently waiting to take your seat at the dinner table, Thanksgiving mental health activities can help put your mind in the right place this holiday.
Do you have any Thanksgiving self-care ideas or gratitude activities that you enjoy doing this time of year? Let us know in the comments below.