Take a moment to think about your favorite Thanksgiving memories. Chances are your thoughts immediately focus on family—and food. If you’re one of the “chefs” in your family, you know that meal-planning can be stressful, from planning a grocery list to perfectly timing each dish. For families with special dietary needs, the stress of planning food for the holiday can overshadow the excitement that should accompany such a celebration.
The NYU Langone Pediatric Celiac Disease & Gluten Related Disorders Program helps gluten-free families balance the stress of meal-planning with the enjoyment of holiday gatherings. As Thanksgiving approaches, here are some new ways of celebrating and showing gratitude:
- Focus on and nurture your relationships with friends, family, and your community.
- Start a new family tradition. Try playing games, having a movie night, or reading a book together.
- Find something to be grateful for each day. Keep a gratitude journal to commemorate all you have to be thankful for.
- Make it a priority to smile and laugh every single day.
- Send cards or letters to the important people in your life to let them know how much you appreciate them.
- Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you.
- Practice random acts of kindness. Do something nice for someone for no particular reason.
- Give encouragement to someone who really needs it.
- Be kind to yourself. With all the love you’re showing to everyone else, make sure you don’t forget yourself!
- Get creative. Express your happiness and gratitude through art, music, dance, or whatever else helps you feel inspired.
- Make a conscious effort to think positively and see the good in others.
- Continue to celebrate all the wonderful things in your life all year long. If you ever need a reminder, check your gratitude journal!
And finally, connect with others and share your experiences. Join the Silly Yak Club at NYU Langone Medical Center! Kids ages 3-10 years old with Celiac disease (and even non-Celiac gluten-related disorders) are invited to join this special club that celebrates living life without gluten. The club meets regularly at NYU Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center for fun activities such as our back to school pizza party and our upcoming celebration of the fall season. Our next event is Wednesday, November 18, from 5-6:30pm. All “Silly Yaks” are welcome (along with siblings and caregivers) to join us for dinner, plus a fun gluten-free candied apple activity and art projects to take home! Note: all items served are gluten and peanut free, however only the items used for our candied apple activity will be kosher-certified (certificates available for verification).
Janis Atty, MA, CCLS, ATR-BC, LCAT is a child life specialist and creative arts therapist at NYU Langone’s Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center. She helps pediatric patients and their families understand and cope with medical illnesses and experiences. By providing education, preparation, emotional support, and guidance, she promotes positive development and well-being in patients facing a wide range of challenging life events.
Hayley Adkisson, LMSW is the primary social worker for the pediatric gastroenterology, endocrine, infectious disease, nephrology, and rheumatology services, as well as Adolescent Medicine, at the NYU Langone’s Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center. She specializes in the areas of severe mental illness, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, sexual assault and recovery, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), emergency medicine, and mood disorders.