How Your ESA Can Help Make This a Happy Thanksgiving

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pug with pumpkin wondering when is thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is usually a day for celebration and gathering. Friends and family get together to celebrate this national tradition every November, centuries after the first settlers and Native Americans had their famous meal. But for some, Thanksgiving is a sad day. It’s more common than you may think. Amid the tradition of eating green bean casserole, turkey, watching the parade, and being around one’s family, there can be a lot of hurt feelings.

You don’t have to wallow. After all, you’re not really alone. Your emotional support animal will always be there for you. Keep reading to learn some tips to make this upcoming November event less hurtful.

Thanksgiving: From Then to Now

At the end of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving. The national holiday tradition has been celebrated for centuries. In 1621, settlers in North America gave thanks to Native Americans for helping them make it through the harsh winter.

The tradition has had a long history since then. George Washington issued the National Thanksgiving Proclamation during the Continental Congress in 1789. He set the date for the first Thanksgiving under the new Constitution. Funnily enough, it wasn’t always celebrated in November. Then, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving.

President Franklin Roosevelt, who was worried that the Christmas shopping season would be too short and hurt the economy, was the only one since then to change its date. Despite all these changes, neither the Proclamation of Independence, the Revolutionary War, a split Congress, nor the Civil War killed the holiday spirit.

Thanksgiving Blues Are More Common Than You Think!

Nowadays, not much has changed. Most people have observed the national holiday every year. Traditionally, they have a big dinner with their friends and family to celebrate everything good in their lives. Some even go to church to say a small prayer.

But it’s not all roses. For many people, Thanksgiving weekend worsens their anxiety and depression. Some are too far from their loved ones to spend the day with them. Others don’t have a family or friends. Some may even feel emotionally distant from their relatives.

No matter your situation, remember you’re not alone. There are millions of people in North America feeling especially lonely on Thanksgiving day. And the cold, bleak November weather doesn’t help it at all.

woman kissing dog on a happy thanksgiving day

What Are ESAs and How Do They Help People Cope?

Emotional support animals are superheroes. They shower their owners with love and affection and keep them company every day. With an ESA by their side, life becomes easier and more enjoyable. They’re not pets. Rather, they’re assistance animals who have specific rights.

The FHA and ACAA Help Keep Your ESA by Your Side

Thankfully, there are national laws that protect ESAs and their owners. They grant them the right to live and travel by plane together.

The Fair Housing Act keeps ESAs and their owners together. They have the right to live under the same roof, even in rented units without a pet-friendly policy. On top of that, no landlord can ask their renter for a pet fee or pet deposit.

The Air Carrier Access Act lets you take Fido or Mittens on your next plane trip. They don’t have to get a ticket of their own or pay a pet fee. You’ll be able to travel with them in the cabin.

Just keep in mind that you need to have a valid ESA letter to benefit from these laws. Only a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) can issue this document. CertaPet helps you connect with one in your state. To get started, all you have to do is take our 5-minute pre-screening test for free.

5 Ways in Which an ESA Can Help You Beat the Thanksgiving Blues!

You don’t have to suffer this Thanksgiving. There are plenty of ways you can make the national holiday better with the help of your emotional support animal. Here are some tips we hope you try out.

Prepare a Feast for Two

Who says a Thanksgiving dinner can only be for humans? If you’re spending the event alone, set the table for one. Whip up what you can using traditional foods: sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, turkey, green bean casserole, stuffing, corn, and cranberry sauce. Or leave the turkey tradition behind and innovate! Then, give Fido and Mittens their favorite treat—turkey or not! Indulgence once in a while never hurt anyone.

Watch the Parade and Football Games

Having a television playing in the background is great for keeping you company. Why not watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or whatever football games are on that day? A blanket over your lap, your ESA by your side, and yummy turkey in your belly will make things all the better.

woman doing yoga with her emotional support animal

Attend a Bountiful Harvest Festival

All across the United States, there are harvest festival celebrations every year. People serve turkey and pumpkin pie and keep each other company. Some are animal-friendly, so you can take Fido with you. You’ll likely find other people who don’t have any loved ones to spend the holiday with. If nothing else, we’re sure you’ll feel less alone.

Read Your Thanksgiving Blessings Aloud

Make a list of things you’re grateful for in your life. It doesn’t matter how small and irrelevant they may seem. Being thankful for the November sun that sometimes peeks out is completely okay! They’re your blessings, write from your heart.

Talk to People Not in Observance

Not everyone in the United States celebrates this national holiday. Instead, many celebrate the National Day of Mourning, proclaimed in 1970. If Thanksgiving triggers you, a good solution could be thinking of it as just another day.

Holiday Triggers Affect People with Mental Illnesses Each Year

Sure, holidays are a time for celebration and joy. But we need to think of those for whom these days are especially somber. Some people have lost their families and have no one to rely on. Their feelings matter and we should take that into account.

The next time you post your Thanksgiving dinner on Facebook, think of those who aren’t having a good day. Donating to homeless shelters around this time of year is a good gesture. That money will help feed those in need of a warm meal.

Be Prepared for Thanksgiving Day: When Is Thanksgiving 2019?

October is the month for the Canadian Thanksgiving. But in America, we celebrate it at the end of November. The national holiday event will take place on November 28th this year. Make sure you stock up on what you need, as many stores aren’t open.

Game Plan: Get Coping Mechanisms in Place Before the Holidays

Before the Thanksgiving blues hit you in full swing, take a breath. Keep a gratitude journal throughout the months of October and November and write the highlight of your day every night.

Another way to prepare for the celebratory event is to pick out a turkey. Cooking with the help of recipes can be therapeutic for many people. If nothing else, you’ll end up with a delicious meal at the end of the day.

If you’re religious, visit your local church, mosque, synagogue, or preferred place of worship. It’s always good feeling close to a higher entity, especially when we’re feeling down.

Work out a routine and a plan that works for you and stick to it. Most importantly, hang in there. You’re not alone, and we don’t just mean that you have your furry friend by your side!

man walking with emotional support dog in park

Everyone Deserves a Happy Thanksgiving!

You deserve to have a happy day. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate following the tradition of eating turkey or even having a fancy dinner. It doesn’t even matter if you’re in Canada and celebrate Thanksgiving in October. What’s important is to keep in mind that it can be a good day. Your emotional support buddy will be by your side all day long. And we’ll be rooting for you to have a happy national celebration.

Common Questions on Thanksgiving

Is an emotional support animal a pet?

Can I live with my ESA in a rented apartment?

How can I celebrate Thanksgiving with my ESA?

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