Tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving

Making your kids feel extra special on Thanksgiving shows them its a special meal.
You can have a holiday as happy as this.
Credit: Metro File

Crowded shopping centers, visits from out-of-town relatives and the pressure of preparing holiday meals can all summon one universal reaction: stress. The holidays may be the season of love and celebration, but sometimes festivities can become overwhelming.

“During the holidays, our lives become even more stressful as we try to juggle our usual responsibilities with extra holiday preparation and complicated family dynamics,” says Dr. Maria A. Oquendo, a psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

“Let the gift-giving start with yourself — treat yourself to healthy boundaries, such as a schedule that includes plenty of time for nourishing food, rest and relaxation,” says Dr. Mallay Occhiogrosso, a psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Whether by taking 15 minutes to meditate or being gracious about relatives’ inevitable differences, prioritize wellness and keep the focus on the things about the holiday that really matter.”

Occhiogrosso and Oquendo suggest that you try to keep your holiday stress to a minimum this year with the following advice:

  • Seek out emotional support. If you have family difficulties, try to plan some time with friends. If you feel isolated, you may want to seek out the support of your community, religious or social services. If you feel lonely, you might consider volunteering your time at an organization you support.
  • Take a 15-minute break. Fifteen minutes of alone time may be just what you need to refresh yourself. Try taking a brisk walk around the block. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and a daily dose of winter sunlight can dramatically improve your mood. Meditation is another quick way to sneak in healthy downtime. Free lessons are offered at many local hospitals and community centers.
  • Prioritize your time. Understand that you can’t do everything, so choose the things that you can accomplish and enjoy. Get input from your family and friends about what it is they would really enjoy doing this holiday.
  • Shop without anxiety. Remember that it’s the thought that counts. Don’t let competitiveness, guilt and perfectionism send you on too many shopping trips. Create a holiday shopping budget and stick to it, so the holiday bills don’t linger after the tinsel is gone. Shopping online can also help alleviate stress for those who find the crowded malls exhausting.
  • Ask for help. Getting your family and friends involved in the holiday preparations may alleviate the stress of doing it all on your own.
  • Set realistic expectations. Sometimes, expectations for family get-togethers are too high and result in disappointment and frustration. Accept your family members and friends as they are and set aside grievances for a more appropriate time.
  • Celebrate the memories of loved ones no longer here. Holidays can also be stressful as we confront the memories of those who have died. This can be a normal part of the holiday experience and should be openly discussed and celebrated.
  • Plan ahead. You will have more time to spend doing the things that you really want to do if you set aside specific days for shopping, cooking and visiting friends. You may also want to plan your menu in advance and make one big shopping trip.
  • Put it all in perspective. Think about what the holiday really means to you and your family: time together, religious observance, reflection on your life and future goals — let these aspects of the holidays keep things in perspective.

If you find that your depressed mood lingers, consider getting input from a mental health professional. Rates of anxiety and depression peak during the holidays; you don’t have to suffer unnecessarily. Help is available.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…