How to Manage Holiday Stress
Over the next few weeks, the majority of families will have several major get-togethers with their friends and loved ones. While we enjoy seeing them, it doesn’t take long for tension and stress to come up. Here are a few ideas how to manage holiday stress and enjoy the time together.
1. If you’re hosting the meal, plan ahead! This includes everything from the menu, to the seating chart, napkins, you name it! It will help keep you on track and organized, as well as being able to assign tasks to others as they need to be done. This can be as simple as notes on pieces of lined paper to spreadsheets you make on the computer. If you’re cooking for a large group of people, write up a schedule for what goes in the oven at what time, so you don’t end up trying to shove too many dishes in at once!
2. Consider keeping the menu low-key. Talk to your family who will be attending and find out what few special dishes are important and which wouldn’t be missed much. So what if there are fewer dishes if everyone is in a better mood, and able to spend more time together?
3. Plan an activity together. Whether this is decorating the house, going for a walk, or having a flag football game in the yard. A little light hearted competition or at least a reason to get away from the table is a great way to get folks to lighten up (plus a little exercise never hurt anyone). Check into local races, parades, or other events, especially if there are folks from out of town that are visiting.
4. Have overnight guests stay at a nearby resort or hotel, that way they can have their “own” space to relax without you having to wait on them while you get your home ready for the holiday. This also works if you have little to no room for sleeping arrangements and don’t want to be thought of selecting favorites. And, who knows, there may be amenities that other family members would take advantage of? Hot tub anyone?
5. Decide if any topics need to be off limits. This may be an issue for some gatherings; or if you have trouble with the group engaging with each other, have a few conversation starters on hand. Trivia, current events, “I remember when” stories or even what each person’s favorite holiday memory might be! You could even make a game and have something under each guest’s place setting or napkin.
6. Finally, remember to breathe. We tend to forget holidays are about family, friends and loved ones and instead focus on the food, activities, and whether everyone is 100% happy with every detail. It’s okay to take a step away (or out back) to breathe and remember why your home is bustling for the holiday season.
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