How to Still Have a Happy Thanksgiving During the Pandemic

This morning, I woke up with such bittersweet feelings. Excitement for the move to a new city, a new abode to design and a new chapter in life, but also super sad that we aren’t able to see the majority of my family for Thanksgiving dinner!

After my meditation today, I was inspired to share a li’l space in my new home and a message in my heart with all of you who are having the same feels.

While scrolling through my camera roll this morning, I thought, “Everywhere you go, everyone you meet, the experiences are etched in your heart, mind and spirit.”

You take those experiences and energy with you during the dark, cold, wintery times, and what serves you blooms in the springtime of your life.

When designing our new place in Sacramento (so excited to give you a sneak peek in the video below), I had to bring back a little chic French country vibe into the breakfast nook.

I spent my 40th birthday (seems like ages ago) in Paris and the Loire Valley in a cottage on the grounds of a lovely castle. Now, I have recreated a space I get to enjoy every day that evokes those feelings and fabulous vibes. It’s extra special because this holiday I’m not seeing most of my family because of the COVID lockdown.

Over the years and through a lot of adversity and loss, I’ve learned to make the best of everything and pay attention to the life lessons the universal intelligence is sending me. While I can’t have family here because of the pandemic and due to the fact that some have transitioned, I can celebrate the memories and enjoy the space I create physically, mentally and spiritually in the present moment.

I hope this message calms your nerves and helps you to tune in and focus on what really matters.

As my soul sister Stephanie Chuang told me, “You are loved. You ARE love.”

So love on yourself. Do stuff you love (I love telling stories that inspire you to do and be better, and interior design that lifts your spirits.) Know you’re not alone at the table this holiday or any day. Reach out to someone if you’re feeling bad, sad or glad.

You = love. And so many folks love you, boo.

Take Action

  1. Calm yourself. When you feel the pandemic-induced anxiety, tension and sadness this holiday season, breathe. I reset by breathing deeply 10 times in and out. I also use the Insight Timer app if I need a little guided meditation.
  2. Phone or Zoom a friend. While you may be feeling alone, you can thwart the loneliness this holiday meal by leveraging technology. I advise doing a little show and tell. I like to share my tablescape, what I’m eating and what I’m grateful for. Then, log off, take a break from technology to eat in peace and jump back on to catch up on holiday distancing plans.
  3. Do whatever healthy hobbies excite you. I love reading, spending time in nature and designing. Time is lost upon me when I’m doing these things and they give my monkey mind a break from the chatter.
  4. Ask for help. Lord knows I’ve been there. Growing up in an Asian household where “saving face” is like the sixth sense, I’ve learned to unlearn the “not asking for help” and “pretending you’re OK” when you’re not OK lesson that was ingrained in me.

    If you’re feeling down, blue and not feeling it, that’s OK. What helps me is to reach out to a beloved human and talk about my feelings. If you’re feeling super sad and it’s affecting your work and relationship deeply, it’s OK to get medical attention. Psychologists and psychiatrists are literally life savers!

So remember, you’re not alone in the sadness, grief and melancholy this holiday season. But let’s find a way to squeeze a little joy out of what you have. I’m literally tryna make lemonade out of lemons.

If you need some fall design inspo, here’s a blog out of my vault to get you started.

OK, I promised in the video I’d share the link to one of my fave stores for unique, affordable antique finds in San Francisco, Warren Estate Sales. In Sacramento, I love Sekula’s Art, Antiques & Design.

Thank you to everyone who has given me the gift of experiencing more of life with you by being around you! Happy holidays, from my table, home and heart to yours!

Xx
Toan

P.S. Special thanks to my soul brother Kevin Lee for editing and sharing this blog this Thanksgiving Day. You make me look like less of a hot mess. Now if only you could have been here to tell me to dress and comb my hair during this impromptu video message!

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