The way to celebrate Thanksgiving healthfully is not just by cooking nutritious dishes, or making sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. This holiday gathers friends, family, and neighbors together for food as well as connection.
The gathering of people to share a meal is a tradition that is often overlooked in our culture. We’re always running to the next activity, rarely making time to sit and enjoy our meals with the people we love. Especially around this time of year, we begin feeling the holiday stress and can lose sight of what’s truly important.
This holiday is a wonderful opportunity to reignite that tradition. Here is how to make your Thanksgiving day a way to create real connections with those you care about the most.
How to Beat Holiday Stress This Thanksgiving
Make a “no screen” rule for the day.
Everybody can go without their smartphones for a day! Encourage friends and family to put away their phones and tablets, turn off the TV, and enjoy living in the present moment. Especially ask for no devices at the dinner table. Our only exception to this rule is for watching the Macy’s Day Parade or a football game!
A wonderful way to bond with others is through playing games together. Dust off your favorite board games or even play cards! Do it the old-fashioned way, without using an app. It’s a fun way to connect and laugh, especially with a big group of different people.
An easy and fun game: have everyone write 5 different celebrity names or historical figures on separate slips of paper and fold them in half. Put all the names into a bowl and divide the group into two teams. Team one has 1-minute to get their team to guess as many names as possible in the bowl, drawing one name at a time, using any means possible (without saying the actual name). They get one point for each correct name guessed. Repeat with team two, until all the slips run out.
Then replace all the slips back into the bowl, and repeat the process with team one, but in this round people can only use one word and pantomiming to get their team to guess each name. Repeat with team two until the slips run out, then replace the slips into the bowl.
Round three, repeat the process, but only using pantomiming to get your team to guess each name. This game is so simple and fun, and is sure to have everyone in stitches!
Get some exercise.
Some families have a Thanksgiving tradition of going for a walk together after the big meal, so that no one is tempted to nap. A touch football game before dinner is also a great way to work up an appetite! This will keep everyone’s energy up throughout the day, and facilitate an atmosphere for even more socializing.
It can be difficult to get the ball rolling with meaningful discussions if new guests are meeting a group of old friends. Open the door to discussion with these conversation starters:
- Name three things you’re especially thankful for.
- Share something that we may not know about you.
- What is your absolute favorite traditional Thanksgiving side dish?
- Have you started thinking about New Year’s Resolutions yet? If so, what are they?
- What was the most disastrous recipe you’ve ever tried making from scratch?
Take care of yourself.
Hosting or even attending a big gathering can feel overwhelming. Be mindful of your emotions, and don’t let holiday stress negatively impact a joyous occasion. If you feel the need to step outside and take some deep breaths on your own, then do so. Yes, it’s great to connect with others, but it is better to present yourself as calm and collected rather than frazzled.
This Thanksgiving, quell the holiday stress by using this time to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with the people you love. Foster new connections with strangers through interactive games and fun conversation starters. And most of all, remember to breathe!