Thanksgiving is here, and the start to the holiday season has officially arrived. While the holidays are a special time to get together with family and share traditions, they are also a time of increased stress for many. Although we may love our family, inevitably when all members are in the same room for an extended period of time, disagreements are sure to arise. Give these five tips a try at Thanksgiving, if they work you can use them all season long!
1. No discussion of politics
This is a no-brainer, but it is often a hard rule to stick to. We all enjoy sharing our opinions, especially with those that we love. And the pleasure of proving that you are right to your younger brother or sister never goes away, even when you are fifty. But if you want to be able to enjoy the meal without hurt feelings, name-calling, or someone storming out, keep quiet. If someone else brings it up, change the topic.
2. Prepare ahead.
If that means cooking as much as you can in the days before- do it. Buy what you need far in advance to avoid the crush at the supermarket with the last-minute shoppers. Discusswhat you will bring beforehand, then make a plan and stick to it. And if you are short on free time, don’t be afraid to cook and freeze in advance, or to buy pre-made items; no one has to know and it is one less worry for you.
3. Get a hotel room.
Yes, it costs money, but it is worth every penny. If you have to make up an excuse as to why you aren’t staying with your parents or children, do it. Having a quiet place to escape will help keep your stress level down, and make your visit more enjoyable and relaxed.
4. Set limits.
There is nothing written that says you must spend every moment with your family. Too many hours in a confined space with anyone can be a recipe for disaster. Take a break if you feel tensions rising, enjoy a walk or go back to your hotel (See #3, above) and take a nap, a hot bath or watch a movie. If they pressure you to stay, tell them nicely but firmly that you need a break.
5. Be thankful.
When you feel the pressure rise, take a deep breath and practice gratitude. Remember why you are there, and be thankful for what you have, including your family that sometimes makes you crazy.