Here in America, Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us. For those who love the turkey and mashed potatoes, the football watching and the launch of the holiday season, it can be a joyous time of year. But, unfortunately, the beloved American holiday doesn’t always bring joy for everyone. For many, it means an increase in stress due to meal preparation and travel and the inevitable family get-togethers, which, let’s face it, don’t always go as smoothly as we’d like.
As wonderful as it is to celebrate the holiday (and kick off the holiday season!), it can definitely be a stressful time of year, which is why I’ve come up with some potential stress-inducing situations and paired them with some coping mechanisms for making it through the holiday.
STRESSOR #1: Too much togetherness
You might love your family, but spending significant amounts of time with all of them at once can be a bit much. It’s hard not to get caught up in wanting to be somewhere else when you’ve had enough family time, but when you find yourself overwhelmed by those you love, take a moment to imagine life without them and be thankful for the moments you have with them.
STRESSOR #2: Unexpected delays
Nothing ramps up holiday stress like an unexpected delay—a flight grounded by bad weather, a turkey taking way too long to cook. Instead of fretting about being late or having to wait, try to enjoy the extra time you have on your hands. Read an extra chapter or two in your book, call a loved one for a chat, or start a board game with the family. Rather than dwelling on the delay, be thankful for the surprise of extra time.
STRESSOR #3: Maddening mishaps
Every year it happens: something goes wrong. The food’s burnt. The taboo topic is brought up. The guests who declined arrive anyway. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, choose to focus on what’s right. A mishap might shine a light on a minor catastrophe, but you have the option to redirect that beam to all that’s still going right. Be grateful for the things that have fallen properly into place.
STRESSOR #4: Awkward interactions
During holiday festivities, you’re bound to encounter someone you’d rather not see, cuing awkwardness. Oddly enough, awkward feelings are something you should be grateful for. When you feel awkward, you have a chance to learn, to ask yourself what makes you uncomfortable and either choose to overcome or avoid it. Be thankful for that opportunity.
Wherever you find yourself on Thursday (and whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving), I hope your day is as stress-free and joyful as possible. And if you need some more inspiration to keep you feeling thankful, check out Get Grateful : A Gratitude Round-Up for articles, inspiration, and activities.