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Anxiety and Thanksgiving Dinner

By Eileen Bailey

As the holidays come upon us, the stress level increases. For those people with anxiety, the stress of Thanksgiving dinner can increase symptoms of anxiety and bring on anxiety or panic attacks. Whether you are cooking a dinner and responsible for all the preparations or simply attending a dinner and must deal with the stress of a family get-together, holidays can be difficult.

To help you get through Thanksgiving, here are some tips:

Prepare Ahead of Time

If you are cooking dinner, plan ahead. Decide what parts of the meal you are cooking and what items you are requesting your guests bring. Send a note, or an email, before the dinner to let everyone know what he or she should bring with them. The more items you are able to pass along to other guests, the less you need to worry about. Don’t worry about asking people, providing guests with the ability to bring a dish to the dinner helps them feel more involved in Thanksgiving.

For additional side dishes, such as cole slaw, purchase the item rather than taking the time to make it from scratch. Use paper napkins, throw away tins for holding food and other convenience items to make preparation and clean up easier.

Many supermarkets and restaurants offer a complete Thanksgiving dinner, already cooked. This can allow you to concentrate on entertaining relatives and friends rather than the stress of cooking.

Request a relative come over the day before to help set up dishes, tables or other decorative items to save from having to complete all of the preparation on Thanksgiving Day.

Take Time to Relax

If you are preparing and hosting Thanksgiving dinner, take some time before relatives arrive to relax. Plan fifteen minutes to meditate, listen to music or just sit down undisturbed to regenerate from preparations. This can help you to enjoy your guests more than if you are stressed.

If you are attending a Thanksgiving dinner and feel anxiety over family events or because of the number of people that may be attending, take time before the event to meditate or sit quietly while deep breathing. Taking a few minutes to relax your body and your mind can help you get through the dinner.

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