When you’re hosting a Thanksgiving Day feast, many things can lead to stress. From the pressure of creating a mouthwatering meal to chatting with long-lost relatives, if you aren’t prepared, the day can drain you and the joy that should be shared.
“Stress can not only make the holidays less pleasant, it can have a toll on your health, too,” said Kim Tuck, President and Chief Executive Officer at NurseWise.
Here are five tips to keep Thanksgiving Day stress to a minimum and put gratitude at the maximum:
1. Get a game plan together. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your shopping. You run the risk of getting stuck in crowds and not being able to get the items you need. Because you’re planning ahead, you’ll probably purchase a frozen turkey. Remember that depending upon the weight, a turkey can take up to five days to thaw in the refrigerator. Give yourself and your bird enough time to reduce this possible stressor.
2. Prepare your space. When you’re cooking a meal to this magnitude, you’re going to need extra space in the fridge and on the counters. Take this opportunity to do a little “fall cleaning” and pitch old condiments, leftovers and other items you don’t need in the fridge. Tight on working space? Move some of the nonessentials out of the kitchen. For example, drinks, ice and glasses can be relocated to another gathering area. Be creative to keep your work area clear and your stress reduced.
3. Delegation is an art. A good head chef knows that a strong team is needed to achieve a good service. You’re no different. Assign duties to family members you know will want to help. Whether it be bringing a side dish, watching the little ones so they aren’t underfoot while you’re cooking, or simply setting the table, the list of ways others can bring relief to the day is endless.
4. Get your ZZZs. It might seem counterintuitive, but making sure you get enough sleep can help combat the additional stress you may be under. Don’t vary your sleeping schedule. Simply plan around it so your body remains in its natural rhythm. While you may have to get up a bit early on Thanksgiving Day to get the turkey in the oven, if you’re well-rested from the previous nights, it won’t take as much of a toll on you.