6 Tips for Resolving Your Thanksgiving Hassles Avoid stress this holiday season by using these tips to curb your hassles. BY SHARON RIVKIN, M.A., M.F.T.
Remember, Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks, not stressing out and arguing.
He says noÖ she says yes. She wants to go to her best friendís for Thanksgiving dinner, heís firm about going to his parents. She wants a changeÖ he wants the same. Suddenly youíre not feeling thankful for anything at all. Sound familiar? So, how do you put the thankful back into Thanksgiving? How do you come to a middle ground with your partner, your family and yourself?
Thanksgiving can be anything but peaceful if holiday disagreements escalate into yearly battles. Itís easy to forget what youíre thankful for if the hassles of planning Thanksgiving begin to outweigh the meaning of this important occasion.
Find thanks by using these six tips:
1. Negotiate with your partner about how to spend the day. Start by each of you writing down your ideal Thanksgiving. Compare notes and see whatís negotiable and whatís not. Then talk about how to structure Thanksgiving with both of you getting what you want. It may not look like your original ideal list, but it will be workable nevertheless and you both can feel satisfied that you heard each other, listened to each other and came to a middle ground.
2. Delegate. If youíre hosting Thanksgiving, donít be a martyr and do it all alone. Make a list of what you want to do, comfortably, given your work schedule, etc. Then begin to delegate tasks to the invited guests. We often take on too much and feel so hassled on Thanksgiving Day that we simply donít enjoy ourselves.
3. Take care of yourself and just say "No" if you really canít do something. At busy times of the year, we tend to forget about ourselves. Donít stop exercising or getting your weekly massage during the holidays. In fact, try to schedule or do something extra for yourself at these times to compensate for the extra stress. Remember, if youíre stressed and not taking care of yourself, it will be difficult to take care of your loved ones and enjoy the holiday activities.
4. Make it easy on yourself. Create a list of the things you must do to make it a good holiday. Then make a list of things you donít really have to do. For instance, you might have to clean your house before the guests come, but maybe you donít have to cook. You could buy a whole Thanksgiving meal and save yourself a lot of time energy, and hassle. Think about it!
5. Create a new tradition. In advance of the holiday, gather your loved ones and talk about doing something different this year that has meaning for the entire family. It could be a special walk together or sitting down and allowing each member to express their appreciation.
6. Gratitude. The most important way to put the thanks back into Thanksgiving is to be grateful. Writing down a list of things youíre grateful for and your gratitude; this is an immediate and powerful way to negate depression, envy and stress. Write one per day from now until Thanksgiving, and suddenly youíll feel grateful instead of hassled. We tend to emphasize what we donít have or whatís not working, so turn that around and see what you do have and what is working.
Sharon M. Rivkin, Marriage and Family Therapist, and author of "The First Argument: Cutting to the Root of Intimate Conflict," (www.thefirstargument.com) has worked with couples for 25-plus years. Her unique insight into the first argument was featured in "O: The Oprah Magazine" and "Readerís Digest," and has attracted people throughout the U.S. and abroad for consultation, workshops, and courses. For more information on Sharon Rivkin visit www.sharonrivkin.com.