Thanksgiving. It can be a relaxing holiday full of friends and family, good food, and on-going traditions. It can also be a stressful holiday when you have aphasia. For instance, navigating a lot of people speaking at once around the table. Or thinking about easier Thanksgivings in years past when your words flowed.

Just as every aphasia experience is different, reactions to holidays differs from person to person. Where one person may feel thankfulness, another person may feel frustration. The point is that there is not one, correct way to experience the holidays, and every reaction is valid and personal.

We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you get through and enjoy the holiday.

Travel Smart

Travel can be one of the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving, even more so when you’re experiencing aphasia. All of the tips we included in our Traveling With Aphasia guide apply here. It is doubly important to travel with a TSA notification card or plan your driving route before leaving the house since airports and roads will be crowded. Consider breaking down a longer trip into two smaller parts and staying overnight at a midway point if you have far to go.

State Your Needs

If you’re hosting the meal, you can have more control over how the evening unfolds. If you’re not hosting, it may be a good idea to touch base with the host before the meal and let them know ways they can make the evening a little easier. Let them know how you best communicate, and ask them to help you brainstorm ways to navigate the table conversation.

Tweak the Place Settings

Make sure you’re seated next to someone you can easily speak to during the meal. Being seated next to someone who will ignore you all night to make conversation with someone else isn’t a lot of fun. A quick note to the host to make sure you’re seated next to someone who will include you or help you during the meal goes a long way.

Time to Rest

Holidays are exhausting, even more so when you need to work hard to communicate. Make sure you have built rest periods into your schedule so you have time to mentally regroup and recharge. This may mean setting up your day so you can take a nap before the big meal, or leaving early from the evening so you can be well-rested for the next day.

Those are some of our tips. We’d love you hear yours or your plans for the holiday.

Image by Chris Lawton on Unsplash