Chapter from “The Superwoman Complex: A Follow-Up Visit”–How to Avoid Holiday Stress!

familyhavingthanksgivingThe holidays are here! Yay! Enjoy this free chapter from my new best selling book on how we all can avoid stress till the New Year.——-(rest of book available on bit.ly/docswinersstore and Amazon)

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How to Avoid Holiday Stress

Cheers to my favorite time of the year! This time is filled with Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas cheer, but it can also be a time of stress and overdoing. Let’s get into the habit of planning ahead to make things a little easier for all of us. Here are some ideas:

  • Divide and conquer—If you’re planning to get together with a large group, why not potluck it? Have a couple of key folks, the best cooks of course, bring their favorite dish to the dinner. That way, all of the pressure isn’t on one particular person. Give up some of the control and share the load.
  • Delegate the duties—After the food and fellowship, divvy up household duties. Don’t wait for someone to ask if you need help! Assign someone the task of bringing dishes to the kitchen, another loading the dishwasher, the trash taker-outer…you get the drift. This is especially important if you’re hosting at your house and did most of the cooking. It’s only fair the others help clean up. Even little ones can help by picking up crumbs or wiping the kids’ table!
  • Clean as you go—While cooking and serving, go ahead and bring out the Tupperware and plastic wrap and start putting things in storage containers early. Don’t wait until you have postprandial drowsiness (there’s another common term for this I won’t mention here 😉 ).
  • Why cook at all?—Unless you’re ultra-traditional and must have the classic layout, consider going out or ordering in. Places like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and other stores already have holiday foods prepared. Many enjoy buffet-style dinners or four- or five course meals at their local country club where they’re served like kings and queens. Spend quality time with your friends and family instead of time cooking and cleaning!
  • A holiday “holiday”—Some of my friends are opting to spend the holidays at the beach or in a beautiful mountain cabin and eating out instead of staying home. I think it’s a nice alternative. It’s a change of scenery and there’s less work involved.
  • Plan ahead—If you decide to cook for a large group, plan ahead and start making your recipe and grocery lists several days beforehand. Stock up on the nonperishables and get the perishable items closer to the actual event. Utilizing grocery pick-up services is an even better idea. I pay an extra $5 for someone to grocery shop for me, schedule a pick-up time and voila, one of my biggest tasks is done! Eliminate stress by eliminating procrastination.
  • Keep it light—Was last year’s holiday meal a mess because of family tension or discord? One of my patients had a major falling out with her brother at the last family gathering, the two hadn’t really hadn’t spoken since, and she was fearful of what the next gathering would bring. I encouraged her to call him and attempt to address it beforehand, just the two of them, so there’s less of an audience, less drama and hopefully more reconciliation, resulting in a peaceful meal. Don’t wait to bring up a 10-year-old argument while the turkey is being carved. It’s inappropriate and highly uncomfortable for everyone else.
  • Take some “me” time—If you’re hosting a family gathering, I suggest setting aside time for yourself two or three days beforehand. Get a massage, a mani/pedi or whatever relaxes you. You may not be able to afford the fanciest spa in town, but there are plenty of affordable Groupon or Living Social deals. You’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle that turkey!
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