3 Tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Creativity | 10 comments

According to Charles Whitfield, author of “Healing the Child Within,” 80 to 95% of us grew up in dysfunctional families. Don’t worry, at least you know you’re not alone! You also have options.

stress free ThanksgivingThanksgiving can be a truly joyful time of year, but it can also be stressful for those of us with families who push our buttons. Many blogs offer tips for how to make room for extra food in the fridge and not undercook the turkey to curb anxiety.

Instead here are three creative ways to reduce stress and increase well-being by handling those pesky family dynamics that creep up during the holidays.

Stress Free Thanksgiving Strategies

1. Express yourself uniquely Instead of falling into an old family role at the holiday dinner table and holding your thoughts back, talk about something that excites you. This often breaks the mold and allows others around you to respond more authentically, too.

2. Unplug and recharge If you feel overwhelmed, take a walk around the block. You’ll renew your energy and make room for a great idea to pop into your mind out of nowhere for how to effectively tackle the challenge when you return to “the scene of the crime.”

3. Shake up your routines Do something different this year. I just moved to Atlanta and I’m taking my mother out to a posh restaurant. It’s our first time, and I know we’ll enjoy it.

stress free ThanksgivingThere’s no use in fighting it. So why not embrace it and make it a fun game? When you find yourself wanting to pass judgment, pass the cranberries instead. Happily extend that bowl of bright red goodies to your little brother with a big smile on your face, despite the fact that he’s been annoying the crap out of you for the past two hours.

stress free ThanksgivingThen take it up a notch by telling him why you’re grateful for his existence. Reach in. You’ll find a reason; I know you will. Maybe you like the shape of his head, the sound of his laughter, or his silly stories. It will increase the production of serotonin in your body and make you feel great. Best part? It will do the same for him. (Or your sister or mother… you get the idea.) You’ll all be high on kindness. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend the holidays, can you?


Have a happy, healthy and stress free Thanksgiving!






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  1. I like this blog. Especially the first tip. I have trouble being my true self around my family. They think its dumb I left a “good job” to be an artist. Holidays are the worst. But I keep talking about how much it excites me anyway and I think I wore them down. Now that I’m getting a piece shown in an exhibit they actually support me. So your right. Keep spouting your truth. Happy Thanksgiving Michele!

  2. Hi Ginny, I’m glad this spoke to you. My mother was never wild about my leaving academics to follow my heart to be a singer-songwriter, but I kept doing it anyway. Thankfully my father supported the decision at the Thanksgiving table. There’s always something we can find to love about our family members AND ourselves. As long as we come from a place of authenticity and kindness, we’re doing our best and likeliest to have a good outcome. Happy TG to you!

  3. ‘High on kindness’…..Great theme for the holidays and year around.
    Happy Thanksgiving, Michelle!

  4. Thanks Linda! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  5. I love this blog! Read it yesterday and tried the being nice angle, and damned if it didn’t work. My mom and I bonded in a whole new way. Thanks so much for giving me hope on a family that’s been crazy for so many years!

  6. Thanks so much. I’m glad it helped!

  7. I really enjoy reading your blog, and love how you share your insight on these valuable subjects, as well as making it available for many. You did a wonderful job on setting it up and it is very inviting. I want to thank you for sharing, and also want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Thank you Pat. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving as well!

  9. Love your Thanksgiving blog tips. Very wise and healthy!

  10. Thanks so much!

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