If thoughts of the Thanksgiving family gathering also brings a sense of stress and anxiety, don’t despair. Laughter may be just what the doctor ordered.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner and the holidays, stay mindful of your stress level and take time to de-stress with a walk, a good book, or a movie. Focus on making your holiday a happy one and take steps to enjoy it.
According to Cleveland Clinic, holiday stress can be very detrimental to your health. They warn:
Too often we take holiday stress for granted. What’s worse, we often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year. Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, and — in some cases — depressed. When the realities of day-to-day life conflict with our efforts to make the holiday season perfect, stress results.
Social scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists have developed a list of strategies to help you deal with the stress associated with the holidays, as well as managing a difficult family member, friend, or relative gathering during this time of year.
Here are a few tips from a psychcentral.com article that may help you have that Thanksgiving dinner you want — festive and free of stress.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Recognize that your family behaves the way they do, not the way you want. By having realistic expectations, you may find yourself more relaxed.
- Gain Support from Allies: Others in your family probably feel the same way that you do about certain family members. Talk with them before the event and set up a strategy to support one another.
- Set a Dinner Time: Know, in advance, how long you plan to visit or have visitors at your home. Telling folks in advance that dinner is from 4 to 8 pm makes it less likely people will hang out too long at your house.
- Keep the Peace: Figure out topics that are safe and avoid fighting. Let your family allies know ahead of time what you plan to talk about. Direct the conversation and have your family allies help keep it on track.
- Easy on the Alcohol: Let everyone know ahead of time that you are holding an alcohol-lite party. Good chance those who want to feel a buzz will either not show or leave early.
- Laugh, Laugh, Laugh: Hey, this is your family with all their imperfections. Watch Home for the Holidays and know that you have good company.
And now….have a happy, safe Thanksgiving and a fun holiday season.