Tips to Stay Away from Turkey Day Stress

The start of the holiday season is always the most stressful and chaotic time of the year. We are supposed to have fun, make memories, and enjoy the time with family, not worry and stress the entire time. There are different tips to keep in mind when trying to have a stress free Thanksgiving.

Tip #1: Plan ahead. Brianna Graham, a junior communication major, said, “To have a stress free Thanksgiving, you need to be prepared ahead of time. This holiday is about coming together with loved ones, so why not all pitch in and show what dish you can make?”

Prepare ingredients ahead of time and then cook in the kitchen together as a family. This will deter stress so you are not trying to prepare an entire meal by yourself. You and family can spend time together in the kitchen while you all pitch in.

Plus, desserts and side dishes can be made a day or two ahead of time. This helps you not have as much on your plate when the big day comes. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, brownies, cakes, etc. can be made ahead of time and stored on the counter in containers or in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving Day. Not only will preparing certain menu items ahead of time cut stress down the day of, but it will force you to go to the food store early, before the crowds.

Tip #2: Thaw the turkey ahead of time. Don’t wait until last minute to thaw the turkey, especially if you have a big bird. Thawing the turkey last minute can throw off your whole day. The best way to defrost a turkey is in the refrigerator, even though this takes a little longer. Another way is to submerge the turkey in cold water, which tends to speed the process. We all want to have that perfect turkey turkey which can cause stress to this holiday, but if you remember to thaw the turkey ahead of time, you won’t have a problem.

Tip #3: Don’t overload your guests with food. Everyone wants to make sure there will be enough food. You don’t need to make 10 different sides, plus salads, plus appetizers, plus desserts. Cut down your menu. People get stressed over making sure everything will be cooked on time. One stove and ten different food items has panic written all over it. Just cook the essentials. Your family can only eat so much.

Tip #4: Take a breather. The holidays aren’t meant to be stressful, we just make it that way. Have some down time during your Thanksgiving week, especially on the big day. Don’t feel obligated to spend the ENTIRE morning in the kitchen. Go put your feet up, watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, read the newspaper.

Dr. Franca Mancini, Director of The Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, said, “Thanksgiving will be joyful for some and less so for others. The Holidays can often be bittersweet. While no formula will enable you to be totally stress free, my suggestion if you are feeling some stress is to quiet yourself for a moment and close your eyes… take a very deep breath, then another, then one more.  Open your eyes and appreciate what you have even if it isn’t perfect. Repeat as often as necessary.”

Tip #5: Put down the phone. Thanksgiving is about family, not about posting your turkey on Instagram or updating your status on Facebook. Lauren DeSantis, a senior business management major, said, “My family is big on technology. We’re all glued to our phones, checking the scores to our favorite teams or updating our status. But, put down the phone on Thanksgiving. That way, you’ll be more connected with your family and less stressed out about what’s going on outside the dinner table.”

If you want to have a stress free Thanksgiving, follow these tips. Remember: this holiday is about being thankful and enjoying the moments spent with your loved ones.