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When I was in college, I spent Thanksgiving with my 3 best girlfriends.

Each year, we’d gather in a different place — the city where one of us was living at the time. We’d make a ridiculous amount of food, smoke a little pot, and have spontaneous dance parties.

It was a stupid amount of fun.

I think of these women, still every Thanksgiving, giving thanks for those years when our families allowed us to sacrifice spending time with them, so we could spend time with one another.

It was truly a gift.

This year, many of us are choosing not to spend Thanksgiving with family or friends for an entirely different reason. We’re sacrificing a meal or a day or a weekend with people we love in service of trying to slow the spread of a deadly disease. 

It’s not the celebratory thing of my college years.

Instead, it almost feels like the holiday isn’t really happening. I woke up this morning and thought, “it doesn’t really feel like the day before Thanksgiving. It’s sort of just another day.”

And there’s some truth to that.

I should add that Thanksgiving hasn’t ever really felt as exciting to me as it did when I was in college. I’m vegan. My husband and kids are vegan. We don’t eat turkey and my kids are super picky, so even corn bread is questionable with them. Plus, being in the military for the past 4 years, we’ve had some years when Nathan is working and others when he’s been off.

So Thanksgiving has been less about a big family event and more about making do with what we have.

In that spirit, I’m offering a few tips for enjoying an abnormal Thanksgiving.

Modify old traditions

I used to love doing Turkey Trots — but those are out this year in many places because big gatherings are a no go. Plus, I don’t enjoy running with a mask. Thankfully, I live in a place where I can run without one when I do choose to go for a run (I run very early and not a lot of people around where I run). However, instead of running in a big race, I could simply choose to run a 5k or 10k on my own. Or reach out to fellow runners and have us all start at the same time but in our different places, texting or FaceTiming when we’re done.

Thanksgiving picnic

The first year we were living away from family and couldn’t travel, we did a Thanksgiving picnic instead of a big meal. We sat on a blanket on our back porch with all of the food in the middle of the blanket. The kids were little — Milly was 4 and Archer was 1 — so the meal was pretty quick. It was also memorable.

Do something completely out of the box

This year, our plan is to hit the beach. This is fairly easy for us because we live about 20 minutes from a beach. We also know that it will most likely be relatively empty because more people will be doing a traditional Thanksgiving indoors, even in sunny Florida.

We’re not strangers to this, though.

One year we spent Thanksgiving working on my in-laws pecan orchard.

Another year we visited the highest point in the state of Florida. Technically we did this the day after, but still counts as far as I’m concerned.

Create new traditions

This is a great opportunity to rediscover and create traditions that are unique to your immediate family. Maybe that’s spending the day busting out all of the board games you own and have a board game championship event.

Or maybe you choose to explore a local trail you’ve never been to before.

Another option might be to create a family gratitude journal and write in it every Thanksgiving, filling up a page of things you’re grateful for that year.

These new traditions don’t have to replace old ones. They can simply be tucked into your familiar Thanksgiving day, however you choose.

Make time to MOVE

I think this is a big one. It’s not about “combatting the caloric” intake or anything like that. Movement is medicine. It can be healing. Movement can change your mood.

Particularly as we head into a season in which we are more inclined to be less mobile, movement can keep us both physically healthy as well as emotionally healthy.

If you’re looking for movement that supports your hips, which let’s face it, could always use a little extra love, I have a special course just for you.

Yoga for Healthy Hips is my 6-week course dedicated to creating more strength, stability, and mobility for your hips. If you purchase today, you can give your hips more movement starting tomorrow!

This is the season for hips work.

Your body needs more stability because the season itself can be a little ungrounding and busy. At the same time, your body can feel heavy and sluggish energetically as you move into winter, the season of hibernation and slowing way down.

Starting this season with movement for your hips will give you the grounding you need, while still creating healthy mobility that will keep you feeling supported through the holidays and into the new year.

Get some sweet earlybird bonuses if you purchase by November 30th!

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can you get up from sitting without using your hands?