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7 Tips for a Stress‑Free Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is supposed to be about food, family, and togetherness, but for a lot of us, it can sometimes feel like it’s about stress, stress, and more stress. Getting that darn turkey into the oven in time, cooking all the sides, making sure every single family member is happy, and dealing with the aftermath of a big meal are all things that can increase tension and stress.

Luckily, there are ways to keep Thanksgiving-induced tension to a minimum and to truly experience the day as it was intended: to enjoy good food with people you love. Take a look at the seven stress-easing strategies below, and just in case you need a little bit of extra help, keep a bottle of Excedrin® Tension Headache on hand to quickly shoo away even the toughest stress-induced headache.

Carve Out a Quiet Moment

Before everyone arrives, take a few minutes to sit in a quiet place. Focus on your breathing, close your eyes, and really think about how you want to feel at the end of the day. Imagine yourself experiencing those feelings, and then open your eyes. Being clear on how you want to feel at the end of the day will help direct your actions and your words in an amazing way.

Make a Super Detailed To-Do List

Plan your day like a pro! Create a detailed to-do list that includes the timing of certain dishes, guest arrivals, which tasks others can help you with, and any traditional family activities. Bonus points for taping it to the fridge so everyone can be awed by your organizational prowess.

Find Time to Connect With Every Guest

Even though you may feel pulled in a million directions, try to find a few minutes or more to connect with every guest. If your connection time happens while they help you peel potatoes or set the table, well then, it’s a win-win!

Avoid Hot-Button Topics at the Dinner Table

If your family dynamics are just a wee bit dramatic (and really, whose aren’t?), consider steering clear of hot-button topics. Yes, healthy debate is good, but if you know for a fact that “debates” with Great Uncle Bob always turn into screaming matches, it’s probably best to sidestep those in favor of topics that won’t ruin everyone’s good time.

Keep Drinking to a Minimum

Not only can an overabundance of alcohol cause hangover headaches the next day, but it can also increase the possibilities of saying or doing things you may not feel good about later (including getting into a “debate” with Great Uncle Bob).

Go For a Walk

Engaging in physical activity after a big meal feels great, but a light walk can also do wonders for clearing your head. (Additionally, it’s a great way to avoid telling your cousin what you really think about her opinion of your pie recipe.)

Celebrate the Little Things You’re Grateful For

Actually taking time to notice things you’re grateful for throughout the day will considerably increase your happiness quotient. Is your sister’s baby just the cutest? Did your preteen nephew actually say “thank you” when you handed him the mashed potatoes? Small or large, the moments that fill your heart with love are truly what Thanksgiving is all about!