Tips on How to Stress Less at Thanksgiving

If the thought of putting on a Thanksgiving spread for your family makes your heart palpitate, you’re not alone. A few years ago, iVillage.com conducted a survey where the majority of respondents admitted they’re not thrilled about the holiday.

I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving, either. I don’t like the traditional turkey dinner and sides, stuffing myself to regret, or sitting around watching football, all things most Americans do that day. I did make a traditional meal one year, but it was only under the generous tutelage of my mother that I managed to feed several guests without losing my mind or poisoning anyone. If any of this sounds familiar, you might want to do things a little differently this year. Here are a few non-scientifically-based (but completely practical) tips on how to stress less at Thanksgiving and keep your sanity intact.

Lower your expectations
That Norman Rockwell scene in your head about what you think Thanksgiving should be? Shut it down. It’s never what you envision and you know it, yet you’re disappointed when it’s reaffirmed every year with your messy family dynamics. Why not just accept that you’ll be OK with that? Give thanks for what is, not what should be.

Don’t try and do it all
Do you really need a turkey, 3 kinds of potatoes, 7 side dishes and an assortment of pies? Do you have the time or energy to do all that? Simplify. You can still make a nice meal without going overboard and you’ll have more time to spend with your guests vs. racing around the kitchen hating your life.

Start new traditions
Just because your family has done something one way for years, doesn’t mean you have to continue doing it that way, especially if it makes you miserable. Go out to eat. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Change it up.

Start the day right
Before everything gets too out of hand, take some time for you. Sit quietly and meditate upon awakening. Get your workout crossed off your list. Take part in a local walk/run event to set a healthy tone for the day.

Just let it go
People are who they are: flawed human beings with their own expectations, coping mechanisms and issues. You can choose to get sucked into their drama or you can save yourself some grief and just let it go. Be the bigger person, the adult. Don’t engage in drama. No one wins. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you have any suggestions on how to stress less at Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments!

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