We know Thanksgiving and the holiday season can, at times, be difficult. Our team has created a set of tips to help you enjoy the holiday and remember what is truly important this time of year. From all of us at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Take a step back and focus on the meaning of the holiday instead of the presence of food. Often times anxiety is heightened by the thought of upcoming parties, the details of planning gatherings, and, of course, meals. The important part of this holiday is the time spent with family, and particularly in the case of Thanksgiving, a day dedicated to gratitude. Try prioritizing the meaning of the holiday by engaging your family and loved ones in an activity such as writing gratitude letters to one another, organizing a toy/food drive for an identified family of need, or scheduling a family game or activity! ~Terina Lopez, M.S., RMHCI, Transitional Living Program manager

Keep it simple. Set a non-food related intention to enjoy the holiday for its true meaning; surrounded by friends and family. ~Jacqueline Stone, M.S., Casa Verde Nutritionist

Get creative! For example, you can create a gratitude jar (mason jars work great) that friends and family can fill with anonymous notes of things they are grateful for. Before dinner is served, each person can take turns reading a gratitude note. You can keep the gratitude jar activity going all year and have many more gratitude notes to read next Thanksgiving! ~Bertha Tavarez, Psy.D., Primary Therapist

Put the phones and the iPads down. Live in the moment: try to avoid texting, social media, or gaming when you have precious people around you to enjoy. ~Alba Drickler, Accounting Specialist

Don’t take the holidays off. It can be tempting to take a week off from your therapy or nutrition appointments when you are busy. Remember it is important to have your weekly support, especially during times of stress. Keeping your support a priority will help make challenging times less difficult. ~Janessa Slatky, RD, LD/N, Nutritionist

Pick a buddy! Let your buddy know ahead of time you have identified them as the person you will go to if you need support. Talk with them about how they can help you and schedule check in times.

Be proactive – anticipate what potential challenges might arise and how to address them beforehand. ~Melissa Spann, Ph.D., Director of Outpatient Services

Create a new tradition with your loved ones that is in line with your values and can be followed each Thanksgiving holiday. Some ideas to consider: volunteering, playing a fun game, watching family home videos, creating a flower centerpiece for the table, taking a family photo, creating a gratitude tree, etc. ~Tali Yuz, Psy.D., Primary Therapist

Laugh… humor has the ability to provide healing and connection!  ~Megan Bendig, MSW, CSW-I, Primary Therapist


Oliver-Pyatt Centers is grounded in mindfulness and the belief that each person has the capacity for a mindful relationship with food and their body. Present in every aspect of our program, this philosophy encompasses nutrition and eating, as well as movement, with an emphasis on becoming free from negative habits, behaviors and rigidity. We work from a place of empathy and wisdom, using a medically grounded, psychologically gentle approach.

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