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Have a Happy and Stress-free Thanksgiving

Date: 11/02/21

Many of us look forward to Thanksgiving as a time for fun, feasting, and getting together with friends and family. But, especially as we start our second holiday season with COVID-19 as an uninvited guest, it can also be a stressful time. Because your plate may be full (in more ways than one), we have put together a few tips to help you celebrate a stress-free, gratitude-filled, and healthy Thanksgiving this year.

Tips for a Lower-Stress Thanksgiving

It’s important to recognize that the situation around COVID-19 is constantly changing, and can be different in different regions, states, even neighborhoods. You should follow the most recent guidance offered by federal, state, and local officials, and recognize that your comfort level or individual situation may mean you make different choices. Some suggestions for protecting your mental health during a pandemic holiday might include these as suggested by Mental Health America Houston and the Mayo Clinic:

Acknowledge your feelings. Many of us feel like we should only be happy at the holidays. But it’s normal to feel sadness and grief if someone has died, or if you can’t get together with people you care about. Understand that being sad is ok, and take the time to express your feelings.

Be realistic. The holidays do not have to be perfect. As we change, so do our traditions. If there are some things that are especially important to you, hold on to them if you can, while letting some others go or creating new ones. 

Plan ahead. Set aside time for shopping, baking, and socializing. By planning ahead, you can avoid the stress that comes with rushing around at the last minute.

Learn to say no. Know your limits when it comes to gathering. You might not feel comfortable getting together in person, and that’s ok. Consider getting together virtually if that is the best way for you to connect. You are entitled to think about your needs, too.

Maintain your healthy habits. Taking care of yourself is important. Remember that overindulging can lead to stress and guilt. Be sure to continue your healthy habits, like getting plenty of sleep and exercising, and avoid too much alcohol, tobacco, or drug use. Your body will thank you for it later.

Stick to a budget. Be aware of your financial situation. Decide how much you can afford to spend, then stick to your budget. Don’t add financial stress to holiday stress.

Written by Cindy Maxim


This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Please always follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Programs and services are subject to change. Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, LLC. The MHN companies include Managed Health Network and MHN Services, LLC. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, LLC or its affiliates. All rights reserved.