The holiday season is a time for loved ones to get together and create lifelong memories, with Thanksgiving Day being the kickoff for these annual festivities. As heartwarming as this time of year can be, it’s also wrought with stress for those who are hosting Thanksgiving.
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is more than just basting a turkey. You have to clean, decorate, entertain, and stop any political fights from breaking out at the table. And this year, like no other, the coronavirus is adding to the anxiety.
Now, if you decide to host Thanksgiving, there are a bunch of things you can do to make your holiday stress more manageable. Here are my tried and true hosting Thanksgiving tips. Of course, I’ll also tell you how you can get out of hosting Thanksgiving at the end if you’re overwhelmed by the holiday anxiety.
7 Holiday Stress Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving dinner is an essential part of many family traditions. Therefore, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be an immense responsibility. For someone with an anxiety disorder, Thanksgiving stress can be a heavy burden to carry.
But you don’t need to get overwhelmed. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is an honor and a privilege. Not to mention, it could be fun! Here are some tips that work for me when I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner
Schedule Things Out in Advance
One of the biggest anxiety triggers for me is the unknown. So many things can pop up and make hosting Thanksgiving dinner a disaster. So, anticipate them ahead of time!
The only way to anticipate potential problems is to create a skeleton of the essentials. Sit down and think about all of the things you need to do to make hosting Thanksgiving easy as pie!
Some of these tasks include:
- Creating a meal plan and timing out how long it takes for each item to cook; organize by longest to shortest cook times
- Getting out special plates or decorations and making sure they are clean and enough place settings
- Preparing the guest bedroom(s) or cleaning the bathroom(s)
- Making pies or cutting up veggies and cheese for an appetizer or antipasto tray
In these instances, a mindful meditation might help. Think of a smooth and fun Thanksgiving dinner. What happened during this event that made it go well? So, what must you do to ensure the same success?
Once you have things scheduled and timed out, you will be ready to handle the dynamic issues on Thanksgiving Day. For instance, if you’re not stressing about the timing of the food, little incidents like a spilled gravy boat or children fighting over a video game will seem less stressful. You’ll be able to adapt to these hiccups much quicker!
It’s one thing to say, “cook the turkey,” on your to-do list. It’s another to do all the things that encompass cooking a turkey. Anyone hosting Thanksgiving knows this thing gets dressed up more than patrons of the Kentucky Derby.
Go through your skeleton plan we put together in the first of these hosting Thanksgiving tips above. Now, fill in the subtasks.
In these subtasks, you will find opportunities to multitask in a way that’s not overwhelming. For instance, you need to boil the potatoes to mash them. You also need to roast the garlic that goes in the hummus dip and bread onions and fry them for the casserole.
ALL of these things can be done well if you use a timer. See what takes the longest. In this case, it would be boiling the potatoes. The water and stove take care of it. Instead of staring at the pot, worrying about all the things you need to do, move on to the next item on your list.
As the potatoes boil, throw the garlic in the oven. Have more room in the oven? What other prep items can go in? Toss them in, too. While the oven takes care of the cooking, start breading the onions. You’re crossing multiple subtasks off in one sitting!
Breaking down the subtasks in all of the significant tasks helps you better schedule your time, which makes managing holiday stress easier. The same can be done for hosting and cleaning duties.
Pretend you need to get the family dishware from storage in the guest bedroom that a relative will be staying in. To get these dishes, you have to move other decorations and dusty items out of the way.
It’s going to make a mess! So, make sure you grab these items before you clean the guest bedroom. These little subtasks may seem trivial and common sense.
However, you’d be amazed at how many little things slip through the cracks when you’re stressed and elbow-deep in cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Subtasks aren’t menial; they’re essential for finding more time to get things done and peace of mind. Why make double work for yourself?
Ask for Help
You might be hosting Thanksgiving dinner. But you don’t have to go at it alone. After all, Thanksgiving Day is a family affair, and everybody can pitch in to help!
Sometimes we take on responsibilities that are too much for us. As anxious people, we tend to do this to make those we care about lives’ easier. In reality, we’re just making our lives harder for ourselves.
While guests love a nice spread and great hospitality, they care even more about your mental well-being. These are your loved ones. The emphasis is on love here.
You’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner because you love them. They’re attending because they love you. All of this hard work and love is for naught if one of the people is dreading every moment of this experience.
If your loved ones truly knew the toll Thanksgiving stress caused, they probably wouldn’t want you to play holiday host. Share the “burden” with your friends and family. That’s what they’re here for.
How many times do people ask, “What can I bring?” Now, how often do you say, ‘Nothing!” Well, your homework for hosting Thanksgiving is to give others homework. Have them bring something! They’ll feel good about sharing something special.
If you really have everything you need, you can always use a helping hand. Delegate tasks to others. Things will go more smoothly.
Trust me; little ones are eager to feel like adults by setting the table. Also, your aunt and uncle feel guilty that you did all the cooking. They really don’t mind doing the dishes. Get out of your head and start asking for help!
Plus, you can interact with each other as you prepare dinner. If anything, allowing others to help creates a richer experience and life-lasting memories.
It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle that comes with the holidays. We get so wrapped up with hosting Thanksgiving dinner, decorating the house for the season, and entertaining our loved ones. In these moments, we perceive these holiday festivities as borderline stressful; others are facing genuine hardships.
The holidays are the perfect time to give back to your community. Now more than ever, volunteering is essential. Volunteerism is taking a hit during the social distancing era, and the everyday struggles and problems that others face aren’t going away.
If you have a strong immune system and feel comfortable enough maintaining social distancing protocols, consider donating your time to a local charity.
Unfortunately, this type of public service might not be feasible during COVID-19. That doesn’t mean you can’t organize a blanket, jacket, or sock drive, join a wellness check group for elderly people, or clean up the trash in your local park.
Giving back gives us a sense of fulfillment. It also gives us a broader perspective. We learn to not take moments for granted, such as hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Volunteering your spare time will make you more present in the time you spend with others.
Listen to Relaxing Music or Soundscapes
There’s nothing worse than running around like a chicken with your head cut off while cooking a turkey. It’s easy for your mind to run a mile per minute when you’re in the midst of Thanksgiving stress. Help ease some of that noise in your mind with relaxing tunes.
One study looked at the amounts of salivary alpha-amylase present in people who listened to relaxing music, sound waves like waterfalls, and non-acoustics.
Salivary alpha-amylase is a digestive enzyme that, for some reason, becomes elevated when we have excess cortisol in the system. Cortisol is one of the primary hormones associated with stress.
Experts found that those who were listening to pleasing sound waves like waterfalls had significantly lower stress levels than those who listened to relaxing music or non-acoustics.
With that said, relaxing music still helped! So, if you don’t feel comfortable listening to birds flying south or a peaceful rain forest with a room full of people, play the radio.
The study noted that classical music was the most relaxing for people. Pop music came in second. All other types of music, including hip hop, Latin, and country, didn’t seem to have as much of an effect as the other two genres.
Take Moments for You
Your head sometimes needs to get away from the chatter, and your body needs to cool down from that hot oven. It’s okay to walk away sometimes. Go outside and get some fresh air and sun.
The holidays are about your friends and family. You are part of that equation. There wouldn’t be the same circle of friends or family lineage without you in it.
Remember that. Honor who you are and do something nice for yourself amidst all this holiday stress.
If you want to have a glass of wine while your mom takes over the stuffing, go for it! Take a moment to catch up with your grandma while your son sets the table. Go watch some of the game with dad while your cousin does the dishes.
Figure out what you want to get out of Thanksgiving Day ahead of time. That will ensure you experience these coveted moments before the holiday comes to an end.
Even with all of my planning, managing holiday stress needs a little backup. Perhaps, a little supplement is just what the anxiety attack ordered!
As I head into Thanksgiving Day, I like to support my mental state with Tranquility Labs’ Focusene. There is so much that goes to hosting Thanksgiving dinner; it feels like my head is on a swivel. Heck, my lists sometimes ADD to that Thanksgiving stress. Instead of being a tool, they become a hindrance.
That’s not the intention of mapping out your duties. A task list is useful. You just need to look at it with a clear mind. Tranquility lab’s Focusene puts me in that headspace!
Focusene is fortified with all-natural ingredients that support focus, mental focus, and cognitive function. This proprietary blend contains dandelion, which is rich in the compound luteolin.
Studies show that luteolin inhibits Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4). PDE4 modulates our immune system, causing it to create inflammation. Experts believe that PDE4 destroys cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in the brain.
Our brain cells use cAMP for energy to power neurological functions. With adequate levels of cAMP, you won’t even need to look at your task list. You’ll have all of your Thanksgiving duties in your head and ready to carry out!
This all-natural supplement also contains forskolin. Forskolin is a botanical that has been shown to boost cAMP levels in the brain naturally. With Focusene, you’ll be managing holiday stress before you even realize stress was a possibility!
Focusene also helps clear some of the mind chatter that comes with Thanksgiving stress. Another active ingredient in this all-natural supplement is phenylalanine. This amino acid is the building block for dopamine.
Dopamine is our body’s reward center. That’s what Thanksgiving should be about! You should associate your family with a rewarding feeling, not holiday stress. When you perceive Thanksgiving hosting duties as rewarding, your holiday anxiety will naturally cease.
To further enhance your brainpower, Focusene is rounded out with L-Theanine. This amino acid is the precursor for GABA. GABA is a brain chemical that promotes a calm mind. Instead of worrying about hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you will host Thanksgiving dinner.
Notice the difference there? Instead of living a stressed-out holiday experience, it will become an immersive one that’s full of love, good food, and great company!
How to Get Out of Hosting Thanksgiving
After all of this, are you still not sold on hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Then, don’t. The power of “no” is very therapeutic for the brain. Don’t be afraid to put boundaries up if these holiday stress tips don’t help. Your mental well-being comes before anything else! Here are a couple of quick tips to help get out of hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
The most difficult thing about Thanksgiving dinner is the Thanksgiving dinner. That’s a lot of work. Plus, not all of us have the kitchen space, time, money, and resources to pull it all off. So, don’t!
Order out for Thanksgiving dinner. Your family would much rather spend quality time with you than watch you stress over cooking. Besides, many businesses can use the support this holiday season.
Use COVID As an Excuse
Sometimes saying “no” to your family doesn’t go over well. I hate to use a global pandemic as an excuse, but it’s a harsh reality. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some concerns over a traditional Thanksgiving get-together.
Taking a year off might be the best for everyone’s physical health. Your mental health just might also benefit.
Also, this downtime around the holidays can lend itself as a time for reflection. You might actually miss hosting Thanksgiving dinner and might perceive it less stressful next year.
Sometimes honesty is truly the best policy. If you’re burnt out from these hosting Thanksgiving tips, then maybe hosting isn’t for you. Let your loved ones know.
One, they might be willing to help. As I mentioned earlier, accept their help. Without saying that you don’t want to host, the offers to pick up slack might not happen!
Who knows? Maybe someone else in the family wanted to host? However, they’re used to Thanksgiving dinner being at your house. Saying “no” allows someone else to entertain. Maybe this year, you can dine and ditch like the rest of them!
Stop Thanksgiving Stress Before It Starts
The key to managing holiday stress is to put an end to it before it consumes you. You can do that by being proactive with your planning.
See what needs to be done to host Thanksgiving dinner successfully. Then, create subtasks to get a broader picture of what you need. With that information, you can find ways to multitask and ways to delegate chores.
Also, don’t forget what the holidays are about. Take a moment to volunteer. Give back to the community to put these cherished times into perspective.
Lastly, use all-natural supplements like Tranquility Labs’ Focusene. Focusene helps you perform tasks with mental clarity. It helps alleviate Thanksgiving stress and boosts your cognitive performance. With Focusene, you will manage holiday stress and cook the best Thanksgiving Day dinner your family ever had!
- Thanksgiving stress is easily managed with adequate planning
- Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help while hosting Thanksgiving dinner
- Tend to your holiday stress by volunteering, spending time with loved ones, and using Focusene