Tips for a Successful and Low Stress Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving gathering with family enjoying the holidays with low stress and no anxiety

Turkey Day is here, ready or not – and you may need some tips for a successful and low stress Thanksgiving.

For many of you, your annual Thanksgiving traditions will probably look a bit different this year.  Maybe your family has decided to gather in smaller groups, or perhaps you’ve invited your next door neighbors over for a meal instead of gathering with a large group of friends.  Maybe you’ve even decided to start a new tradition and travel to a cabin somewhere. Possibly you’ve decided to stay put with your own, immediate family and make special memories in your own home.

No matter what your Thanksgiving plans are for this year, you will most likely be around people who have the potential to cause added stress. This may be stress due to being in a larger group or stress from your routine being out of the ordinary.  Maybe your stress is caused by the people you will be around. This could include siblings, parents, or neighbors who always seem to rub you the wrong way.

The Waters Edge Counseling therapists have some tips to help you have a successful and low stress Thanksgiving, no matter what your plans.

Tips for a Low Stress Thanksgiving

1. Prepare in Advance

Preparing ahead, physically and emotionally, for the holiday ahead will help to set you up for success.

Prepare ahead for the physical aspects of the holiday.  Make sure you have prepared your food in advance.  Do tasks like setting the table and cleaning before Thanksgiving day.  Anything that you can do ahead of the actual day of Thanksgiving, will help you to enjoy your holiday and the people you are with even more.  It is also important to prepare ahead emotionally.  Perhaps you know that your Uncle Jim always asks you why you haven’t decided on a major or why your kids are not taking piano lessons.

Go ahead and prepare in advance for how you will handle these questions and situations that arise year after year.  Take a few minutes to think through these predictable situations and how you will respond.  This will really help to lessen your load of stress.  We realistically cannot prepare ahead for every single thing, but being on top of the things we can prepare for, will really help!

2. Step Away When Needed

The circumstances going on in our country right now are sticky, to say the least.  There are a myriad of opinions out there surrounding COVID-19, politics, and other hot button issues.  If you are in any group of people on Thanksgiving, chances are, some of these issues may be touched on.

If you become uncomfortable in a conversion or find yourself in a conversation that feels inappropriate, feel free to politely step away.  Perhaps your blood is boiling and you feel that you may say something rude and inappropriate, just kindly excuse yourself so that you can regain composure and control.  We teach these same skills to our children, but adults are often the worst at setting this example.

It is always okay to step away and take a break.

3. Be Mindful of What You Enjoy

When the holidays roll around, we often begin to feel the pressure of pleasing everyone.  You may feel like you need to dress a certain way to please your grandmother or clean up the dishes on a certain time table so that your mother is happy.  It is okay to think about what makes you thankful and happy about Thanksgiving and act accordingly.

Maybe this year, you want to make a new dish instead of the same squash casserole you always make.  Maybe you want to enjoy watching football with your husband and do the dishes later in the evening.  Make decisions that will relieve stress for you and bring joy to your day.

If the holidays feel stressful and overwhelming for you, please give us a call at 912-319-5552.  Our counselors would love to help you work family issues and difficult circumstances that always seem to resurface at this time of year.  We are here for you and would love to help!

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!