Reducing the Thanksgiving Stress

Reducing the Thanksgiving Stress

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Hosting can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you’re planning a holiday meal for just your household or a big bunch of friends and family, we’ve got some tips and tricks to reduce the Thanksgiving stress while still hosting an event to remember.

Prepare as much as possible

Plan your dishes ahead of time, and remember that you can prepare and freeze many dishes in the days before Thanksgiving. Desserts are a great element of your dinner that can be made and stored days in advance. Don’t be afraid to pick up certain dishes (or your whole meal) from the store or a local restaurant, rather than cooking from scratch. Supporting the local economy is just as important as a meal made in your own kitchen. 

You can also prepare for hosting duties by getting out your serving ware, glasses and silverware ahead of time and setting the table as much as possible the night before. One less thing to think about the day of will give you more time to prepare for cooking and/or hosting. 

Healthy meal planning

When you’re choosing the dishes in your Thanksgiving dinner, traditional family foods can bring everyone comfort. But if you are concerned about your health and wellness, it may feel difficult to decide which to include. Feeling like you’re on a diet at a big holiday meal can just add to the stress, so keep in mind that it’s okay to treat yourself on occasion. 

A few ideas to help: eat breakfast that morning so that you’re not starving and overstuffing yourself when the big meal comes around. You can also try to “eat the rainbow” to get the most nutrients out of your dinner, such as red cranberries, green beans, orange carrots, white turkey and more!

Accept help from others

As you plan your meal, ask others if they’d like to contribute a side dish, drink or decorations. There’s nothing in the “Thanksgiving hosting guide” that says you have to provide every single item on the menu. Incorporating items from your friends and family is also a great way to help cater to picky eaters or those with special dietary/allergy needs. When your guests start to arrive, allow them to help set the final pieces of the table, put the finishing touches on dishes and get their own drinks. Most guests will be looking for ways to help reduce your Thanksgiving stress as the host, so let them!

Get the kids involved

Accepting help from others also includes the kids! Handprint turkeys and homemade place cards are the perfect projects to keep children busy and away from the hot stove as you’re cooking. Children can also help with food shopping, setting the table, taking coats for guests and cleaning up after the meal. Age appropriate tasks are a great way to let your kids take more ownership over your family’s hosting duties and reduce the Thanksgiving stress overall.

Focus on the gratitude

Our final tip is to remember the real reason for the holiday. Getting together safely with family, especially after the chaos of the past almost two years, is something that so many of us are thankful for. It may seem like a cliche, but going around the dinner table to tell others why you are thankful is the perfect way to focus on gratitude. Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” is the ultimate act of self-care and stress reduction this holiday season. 

If you are feeling the Thanksgiving stress this year… or your overall mental health needs a little extra support, contact Healthy365 today. We would love to connect you with local resources and programs that can best serve your or your loved one’s mental well-being.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

November is here and that makes it the perfect time to celebrate what you’re thankful for! Many of us spend at least part of Thanksgiving thinking about and sharing with others a few things we are thankful for. But an attitude of gratitude doesn’t just have to be something we cultivate during the holiday season. The benefits of being grateful are numerous, and Healthy365 is here to help you improve your mental and physical health with a little extra gratitude. 

What are the benefits of gratitude?

There are a number of benefits to cultivating gratitude, including some you may not expect. According to Psychology Today, being grateful will improve your overall contentment in your own life, and also encourages your sense of generosity toward others. It can strengthen the relationships you form with others, including friends, family and partners. Grateful people tend to sleep better, falling asleep more easily and feeling rested when they awaken for the day. Studies have also shown that feeling gratitude can help “lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, reduce symptoms of illness, and make us less bothered by aches and pains.”

Write down your reasons to be thankful

One great way to focus on gratitude is by journaling. You can start with committing to a short time period, like two weeks or a month, and make it a goal to write down what you are thankful for each day. Maybe end your night with this practice, or start each day out on the right foot by recording what you were grateful for the day before. And be specific! Your journaling may develop more over time from a simple list to longer stories, but no matter how long your entry, consistency is the real key to unlocking that attitude of gratitude. 

Meditate by focusing on gratitude

Journaling can be a form of mindfulness, but so can meditation. If you already meditate regularly, try to add a focus on gratitude into your practice. If you have never meditated before, it can be a powerful tool to incorporate into your day. Take just a couple minutes once or twice a day to find a quiet space, close your eyes and focus on breathing. If you are new to meditating, you might enjoy a guided meditation on an app like Insight Timer or Calm. You can grow your spirit of gratitude by focusing on being thankful for not just the good things in your life, but the difficult things too.

Share your gratefulness with others

Telling your family or friends what you are grateful for at Thanksgiving dinner is a great practice. But you don’t have to limit that sharing to just one day. Make it a new habit to talk about the things you are thankful for more often! Saying these thoughts out loud will reinforce what you are feeling inside. You can also show your gratitude for others by writing them a special note or giving them a little pick-me-up like a favorite drink or candy. Before you know it, your attitude of gratitude will spread like wildfire to the people around you!

Seek out others with an attitude of gratitude

In addition to sharing gratitude with others, you can also seek out the company of people who already display thankfulness in their everyday life. You know the ones… those people who just have a real zest for life and love to share it with others. We think that our Healthy365 staff and Support Navigators have that special attitude of gratitude, since they are so thankful for the opportunity to help others in the Hancock County community live a healthier life. 

If you are in a season where it’s hard to find gratitude, Healthy365 can help. We focus on the health and wellness of individuals who live, work, learn, play, and pray in Hancock Countyby addressing the most pressing health issues of our community. Contact our Support Navigators online or at 317-468-4231 to learn more today.