SUGGESTIONS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS AND ENJOY THE MEANINGFUL TRADITIONS
The biggest family meal of the year is just a week away, and that can trigger a big jump in the stress levels of everyone at the table. Traditions are supposed to provide a reassuring foothold in otherwise uncertain times. But that can only happen when everyone shares a common memory of how and why the tradition started. Once the memory of those origins fades and expectations change, anxiety sets in.
Of course, any six year old can tell you the story of the first Thanksgiving meal shared by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Or at least the version taught in schools. Yet somewhere along the way the tradition that evolved from that event got side tracked into debates over who bakes the best pie and disputes about how the kids are being raised.
Family and friends who don’t get together often may indeed have different expectations about a lot of things. But Thanksgiving is not the day to express our differences. It’s about a tradition of giving thanks, no matter what is on the menu or who is winning the football game.
Here are some suggestions to help make your day less stressful and a whole lot more enjoyable for generations to come.
- Smile – It’s the quickest way to relieve tension. The change in countenance on your face does wonders for you and anyone around you. Try it, you’ll be amazed!
- Breathe – Take a deep breath, hold it a few seconds, then exhale fully. It’s called a “sigh of relief” because it has the power to relieve what worries you.
- Refocus – Stop fretting about the crumbs in the carpet and look at the faces of those in the room and what each person means to you. When you stay focused on the big picture, the little stuff won’t matter.
- Love – Give and get it as often as you can. Find a small child to hug or a furry pet to pet. Look into the eyes of someone dear to you and tell them how much you really love them. The expression of unconditional love is powerful antidote to all that ails you.
- Forgive – First be prepared to forgive yourself if everything is not perfect. Then be willing to forgive others who have been thoughtless so you don’t have to feel the burden of that resentment.
- Simplify – Take some short-cuts, scale back, do less. Remember why you’re together.
- Help – As in “I need help!” No one knows you need it until you ask.
- Stretch – Give yourself a mini-massage by tightening and relaxing individual muscle groups, working from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Close your eyes while doing it and visualize a peaceful place.
- Listen – Find someone in the group you haven’t seen in a while and ask them to tell you what they’ve been up to. Offer praise for their accomplishments and they will be immediately uplifted, and take you along on their high.
- Smile Again J – If this can lead to a good belly laugh, all the better!
Wishing You All A Traditional Thanksgiving Day Without Any the Stress!