Some folks see Thanksgiving as a time to be grateful for getting together with loved ones, but for others? Gathering with relatives brings on a whole lot of anxiety and stress. The “Today” show asked 950 people about what they consider the most stressful parts of the holiday and believe it or not, it’s not cooking.
According to the survey, cleaning is the most stressful part of Thanksgiving, with cooking coming in second. Somewhat surprisingly, 21% of respondents said nothing about Thanksgiving is stressful at all and that it’s just something they’re grateful for. But other anxiety-inducing holiday situations include political conversations, kids’ behavior, travel and the expectations of relatives.
So what’s the best way to deal with these stressors?
- All that cleaning - If the idea of having to get the house spick and span before guests arrive has you stressed out, clinical psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry advises making a list and delegating as many tasks as you can.
- All the cooking - With so much preparation and cooking that goes into a Thanksgiving dinner, it’s not surprising it’s stressful to so many. Curry recommends asking for help in this area as well, getting family and friends to grocery shop, prep and cook to take tasks off your plate.
- Arguing over politics - For 7% of those polled, bickering with loved ones about politics is a stress point and after the recent midterm elections, these disagreements could get especially heated this year. To avoid that, Curry says it’s perfectly fine not to engage in conversations about the issue and steering talks to less divisive topics.
- Awkward social interactions - Holiday gatherings bring together people who may not see each other often, which can make for tricky social situations. When you feel yourself tensing up, try to remember to take a deep breath and let it go, because even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, this too shall pass.