It is time to wish each other Happy Thanksgiving. 2020 is like no other Thanksgiving I have ever celebrated. So many people are sick, or have lost loved ones, or have lost their jobs.

Parents everywhere are struggling. Inequalities exist in parents’ ability to create a predictable environment, and the disparities are widening, according to Harvard psychologist Katie McLaughlin. It’s everywhere: blog posts that I read, news stories about despair, statistics about teenage stress and suicide rates.

Things are grim and that is a reason why it is so important for us to still find ways to be thankful. It is hard to be thankful in these situations. Very hard. We still must look for what we can be thankful for.

Our attitude toward the pandemic impacts our health and he health of our kids. Studies with dogs have shown that calm mothers raise calmer and more curious pups. Anxious mothers do just the opposite. While it is really tough to say “I’m okay and I am going to get through this,” we need to do it. Hope calms us down. Remember to pursue at least one thing that you really liked prior to the pandemic. You need to take care of yourself and your calmness will positively impact your kids.

McLaughlin says that more than 50% of the kids will be fine and another 20% will have symptoms that will disappear over time. The other 30% will have symptoms that persist but eventually those will disappear. It will just take longer.

Counting your blessings and being grateful boosts your health and the health of those around you. Research shows that grateful people have less depression, lower blood pressure, greater optimism and more energy. From my perspective that is reason enough to be thankful. Gratitude helps you bond and improve relationships.

I haven’t been out to dinner since March, been on a plane or left town, but I am thankful for many things, including:

  • The health of my of family and friends
  • More time with my grandkids (They’ve taught me to use TikTok!)
  • Starting an exciting company with my former student called Tract
  • Time to clean out closets and tidy up my home
  • My dog Timmy is happier now that I am home more often

Everyday I try to remind myself to think positively. I learned this growing up very poor in Los Angeles. I always looked for the good things that were happening and it worked for me. This Thanksgiving, there are many great ways to show you are thankful and spend time together. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas below:

  • Watch a Thanksgiving movie together as a family
  • Make a Thanksgiving meal as a family
  • Donate food to a local food bank or homeless shelter
  • Wish a neighbor happy Thanksgiving with a card and some cookies
  • Donate to your favorite charity

Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!