Thanksgiving brings it’s own unique stresses,
whether you are cooking at home or traveling as a guest.
Preparing for a feast with dozens of traditional dishes and a houseful of guests requires major planning and hours of work.
Being stuck in traffic for hours, or delayed/overbooked flights is no fun either.
And Thanksgiving can be a major triggering event if you have eating issues or insecurities about your body.

Here are 3 one-word coping strategies for dealing with Thanksgiving stress:

1. For Thanksgiving hosts: Delegate!

Who says you have to do everything all by yourself?

Let everyone involved help you out!
Assign jobs and request that guests bring part of the meal.
Chop, stir, set the table, load the dishwasher, run out for more butter or wine.
Even children love to feel useful!
And giving your guests something to do can help smooth over family tension and/or boredom.
(BTW there is no shame in buying prepared food either!)

2. For Thanksgiving travelers: Patience!

If you can’t change the situation, you can change your reaction to it.

Becoming angry, resentful or frustrated
will not make the traffic flow faster or the plane take off sooner.
Millions of people are traveling for the holidays.
Millions of people are tired and cranky.
Remain calm and practice patience.

3. For Thanksgiving body/food issues: Prepare!

You don’t have to explain or justify anything about your body or your eating habits!

More than likely, someone will make remarks about who’s gained and/or lost weight.
Someone will probably urge you to eat more than you really want or suggest you skip that second helping.
And of course,  someone might question your choice to avoid or favor certain foods:
It’s so unhealthy to be vegan!
You’re not really gluten sensitive.
You would be healthier if you went on the ______ diet.

Prepare a simple statement to change the subject:

  • Please don’t talk about diets today, it’s a celebration!
  • Please don’t talk about my weight or my body (or someone else’s weight or body).
  • No thank you, it was delicious but I’m full.
  • No thank you, I don’t eat __________.

If you are the host and have a tendency to binge on leftovers,
prepare to send leftovers home with your guests.
If you are a guest , prepare a reason to politely refuse anything that you might binge on later.

Meet the abundance of food with full awareness while you eat.
Thanksgiving is a special feast.
You are entitled to truly enjoy the food, as much or as little as you wish!

And finally, no matter what happens:
keep a sense of humor!
Almost anything stressful about Thanksgiving can become a funny story when you talk about it next year…

I am truly thankful for all of my blog readers and Facebook fans!
Even if we never have the good fortune to meet in person, I am grateful for each and every one of you.