Here are our seven strategies to have a successful Thanksgiving feast:
Don’t work through the holiday. It can be tempting to keep working during the holidays but don’t fall into that trap. Tell people you’ll be gone, sign out of collaboration tools, and don’t respond to email. You are in control—be the example and set boundaries so others will do the same. Taking time off work will help you feel rested and refreshed when you return.
Take the high road with passive-aggressive family members. Family dynamics can be difficult, but we’ve found the best way to address passive-aggressive people is to simply step around their comments. Don’t get sucked into their negativity or judgment. Simply take a breath, let the comment hang in the air, and then ignore it. Calling it out can only make the situation worse and more awkward.
Set boundaries. Good fences make great neighbors. It can be easy to get pulled into someone else’s emotional mess, but you have to set boundaries and take care of yourself first. Don’t feel the need to get involved in every situation or help every person who is having a hard time. Listen to yourself and what you need.
Remove yourself from difficult situations. When situations get heated or uncomfortable, the best thing you can do is walk away. Go to the bathroom, let the dogs out, or check on something in the kitchen—whatever it takes to get you out of the room. Take a moment to breathe and calmly change the subject when you return.
Be true to yourself when dealing with COVID concerns. COVID concerns can be tricky to navigate, especially with people traveling and gathering for the holidays. Be as healthy as you can, but also be true to yourself. You don’t have to change your holiday plans to appease someone else’s nervousness about the pandemic. Be loving but firm.
Don’t make everything homemade. The perfect Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be homemade. Making everything from scratch can be stressful and time-consuming, which leaves you stressed out and unable to enjoy the holiday. Take some of the pressure off by ordering part or all of your dinner from a restaurant or grocery store.
Redirect negative conversations. There are a lot of difficult things happening in the world, and some people tend to focus on the negative. Don’t let the complainers bring down your Thanksgiving meal. When people are negative, redirect the conversation towards something more positive or less controversial. Like a boxer, you have to know how to dodge strange conversations and pivot them in a better direction.
Following our seven strategies can help you have an enjoyable and stress-free Thanksgiving feast. Happy holidays!
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