The holiday season is here for many Americans, and even though the overall vibe of Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of joy and giving, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
Stress is one of the worst things for an individual’s health. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can lead to–and contribute to–a number of chronic health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Individuals under stress may experience debilitating headaches, chest pain, fatigue, loss of libido, sleep issues, upset stomach, mood swings, anxiety, and social withdrawal.
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So if you’re in-charge during this Thanksgiving, make sure you keep these 7 tips in mind to help maintain your inner peace.
7 ways to keep your sanity over Thanksgiving
- Set boundaries: Just because your family and friends are over doesn’t mean all your rules and values get thrown out the window. It’s your house; make sure everyone abides by your rules. If you say dinner is at 5pm, let everyone know that if they are late, you will be eating without them. Similarly, if you don’t tolerate certain behaviors at Thanksgiving (like excessive drinking), remind those invited that they can go elsewhere if they wish to become black-out drunk.
- You don’t have to invite everyone: If you’re worried about hurting certain people’s feelings, you need to get over it. It’s better to not invite someone who is a source of drama rather than have them show up and upset everyone during dinner. One way or another there will be an unpleasant conversation. Psychology Today indicates it is better to get drama out of the way before the holiday.
- Communicate with other family members: If there are drama-causers coming to Thanksgiving, communicate with the other family members what topics to avoid around these people. If everyone knows to avoid taking about John’s video game addiction, chances are he won’t get the opportunity to make a scene about it.
- Commit to having a good time: If you’re dreading Thanksgiving because of the stress associated with it, chances are you are going to feel negatively even when things are going well. The old psychology saying: “Think positive, feel positive” is true. Tell yourself you are going to have a good time and chances are you will.
- Enlist the help of family members: Though it may be tradition in some families for one person to be responsible for the meal, there is no reason why everyone else can’t bring a dish to pass. This significantly reduces the preparation time for the host and also gives everyone a chance to bring something they know they will enjoy at dinner time.
- Keep clean-up simple: Though it’s not always environmentally friendly, single-use baking and cooking containers are wonderful when it comes to large meals. These pots and pans can be thrown away rather than cleaned, saving you time and stress after the meal. Thanksgiving is about spending time with your family; don’t waste it moping around the kitchen doing cleanup. Dishes can always be done later in the evening or the next morning, just rinse them as they are placed in the sink.
- You don’t always have to go: Yes, Thanksgiving is a time for family, but if you’re unhappy around those people you consider close, then do your own thing for Thanksgiving. It’s not worth the stress of having a family meal together if you are going to leave unhappier than you showed up. Your family might not understand if you decline the invite, but they will get over it. If they don’t, it says more about their attitudes than yours.