Next week is Thanksgiving and that likely means at least three guarantees for you: traveling, eating, and shopping. Though maybe you just group them all under a fourth guarantee: stress.
I always appreciate the holidays; I love spending time with my family members who travel in from out of town, and I enjoy all the delicious food. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t stresses getting to and from my holiday festivities—not to mention the stress that may come during the event.
Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year. AAA is forecasting that 34.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles this week via planes, trains, and automobiles to be with their families. About 95 million will travel the same distance between now and New Year’s. That’s a lot of driving on busy streets, waiting in busy airports, or sitting on a crowded train.
So how can you cut down on the stress of traveling this Thanksgiving? Especially since we all know that stress can be a big factor in many physical health problems, including the dreaded flu we all want to avoid.
Tips for Avoiding Stress
First off, remember that you can’t control the traffic on the highways, the lineups at the airport, the departure delays, or the crowded seating. It’s out of your hands, so try not to stress about it. Pack the day before you leave—or earlier if possible (make sure to pack your patience!)—and give yourself plenty of extra time by leaving early. The more time you have, the less stress you’ll be subjected to, as you won’t be worrying about arriving late or missing your departure due to all those things you simply can’t control.
Another way to cut stress is to avoid the shopping frenzy. I know there are great prices on Black Friday, but I often wonder if it’s really worth it. This year, maybe try taking advantage of great online deals throughout the week and on Cyber Monday to avoid the swarming crowds (not to mention all those germs; yuck!). If you decide you want to go to the mall, just know what you’re getting into; it’s going to be chaos. Also remember to make an effort to not spend more money than you have! You don’t want to give yourself long-term financial stress.
Lastly, you’re probably going to eat more than usual or make less healthy diet choices over the holidays, so don’t get too stressed about blowing your diet. Allow yourself to enjoy holiday eating, but try to control portion sizes and eat healthy between your big family meals. As long as you’re making the right decisions most of the time, you can indulge a little bit during the holidays.
Limit your stress this holiday season by taking a smart approach to traveling, shopping, and eating. Take your time, appreciate your surroundings, and enjoy your turkey with all the trimmings.