Avoid Thanksgiving Day Stress

Thanksgiving can be one of the most fun and fulfilling holidays of the season, but it can also be filled with stress. Here are some tips to reduce that stress, and make the most of Turkey Day!

1. If There is Still Time, Make this Year a Thanksgiving Potluck

One of the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving is the dinner—Thanksgiving’s focal point. If you are hosting the family dinner, you often have several dishes to prepare–mashed potatoes for Susie, Sweet potatoes for Maria, yams for Trey. This year, be forthcoming about what you need each guest to contribute in order to ease your own workload.

2.  Recognize Your limits

Because the holidays are best spent with family, the “responsibility” to make time for everyone can easily cause unwarranted stress. Limit your holidays to as few family visits as possible.  Consider hosting holiday parties at “off” times in the year or around the holidays but not on actual holiday days.

3. Assign Seating

We all have those certain relatives that never get along. This year, don’t leave your seating assignments to chance. You can make simple nametags and make sure that certain individuals sit as far away from each other as possible. This will help everyone at the dinner table enjoy the meal better and save you from having to play referee during the conversation.

4. Prioritize Your Cleaning

In preparation for the holiday, we all want our house to be spotless for our guests. Clean the clutter before anything else. Your goal is to clean the areas that are most likely to be used and noticed by your guests.

5. Prepare Ahead of Time

Thanksgiving Day is the busiest time of the holiday. A long to-do list can cause a great amount of stress. Therefore, try to do as much as possible the day before (Today). Certain tasks can be done ahead of the Holiday to save you time: set the table; bake dessert; make a plan for Thanksgiving Day concerning what foods need to go in the oven first, which can be microwaved, and what can be cooked together without losing flavor.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is especially important during the holiday season, because we get so worn down during the day with extra duties. Take note of the fact that you’re performing double or even triple duty. Sleep lets us recover from our hard work, is essential to maintaining an even keel when things get rough, and helps gives us needed energy to get through the holidays!

7. Stay Healthier

Holiday stress can weaken your immune system. Getting enough sleep (see above) is one important tip, others  include drinking a glass of orange juice each day, washing your hands as often as possible, and covering your mouth up when going outside into cold weather. Taking a walk (dress warmly if you live in a cold environment) can help you clear your mind, reduce stress, and help you get exercise.

8.  Help Others, If You Can

The holidays can be both a joyous and stressful time, we hope these tips will help.  Let’s also remember that the holidays can be an even harder time for those who are facing economic challenges (maybe donate warm clothes or toys), those who are isolated and lonely (maybe visit an elderly neighbor or double a recipe and bring one tray to the staff at a local hospital) and those who are missing family at this time of year (offer to help friends to send a care-package to a deployed military family member).  Helping others will brighten their holidays and make you feel good too!

For people who may need even more support, encourage them to call a local hotline just to talk, to get information about services or to get help with a crisis.  MHA runs the Montgomery County Hotline (here in Montgomery County, MD) at (301) 738 –CALL (2255).  Folks can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

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