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Stress is never a fun thing to have to endure, even if the resulting scenario is a table full of perfect, delicious, home-cooked food. This Thanksgiving, we’ve got a few tips on how to handle your stress without going crazy, because we believe that the holidays should be thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

  1. Get your exercise in (duh)— and get it in early. Your Thanksgiving day is going to be chaotic, but if you’re already committed to a workout schedule, missing out in “favor” of the preparations will cause you more stress than it will solve. Plus, the endorphins released during and after your workout will help you to better cope with the day’s craziness as it progresses. It doesn’t have to be a long workout, just something to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing!
  2. Curate your meal, but allow yourself to indulge. You can have your Thanksgiving and eat it, too. Curate your Thanksgiving menu with a mix of dishes. You’ll realize that many of your favorites (think: squash, turkey, cranberry sauce) are already healthy. But don’t feel like you should hold yourself back— the holidays are here, and you deserve to enjoy them the way you want to. A slice (or even two) of pumpkin pie isn’t going to kill you, but if you do find yourself concerned, just be sure to walk a little bit extra during your Black Friday shopping spree.
  3. Surround yourself with those you’re thankful for. Too often, our holiday stress stems from trying to please people that we might not be very close with (or even LIKE). The holidays have a way of pushing us towards family members that we may not see very often, and while sometimes that’s a great thing, other times, it causes conflict. Chances are you already have the guest list made for your Thanksgiving feast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make it a point to spend most of your time with those you truly love being around— after all, this season is about being thankful.
  4. Plan ahead—and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s never too late to start planning— and when you realize how much you’ve got on your plate (no pun intended!), you might get a little overwhelmed. If you’re hosting a get-together, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Too often, a sense of pride gets to us before help does, and by that point, we’ve already made up our mind to be the sole proprietor of the project— but this doesn’t have to be the case. If someone asks you if you need help, say yes! Even if it’s just a small task, at least you’ll have one less thing to do (and a few more minutes to unwind).

These tips help, regardless of whether you’re the host or the guest (read: if you’re the guest, ask the host if he/she needs help!!). Thanksgiving is a holiday that we look forward to year-round, so don’t let it be a holiday with a lot of hype and no real meaning, as so often seems to happen. This Thanksgiving, take your sanity back and remember what the season is really about— gratitude, love, and family.