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Thanksgiving can be a massive undertaking. Maybe this is your first year hosting and you've painstakingly researched menus (used our menu genie perhaps?), planned the timing of every dish to a T, and ordered extra dining room chairs. Maybe you're showing up at a dinner someone else is cooking tomorrow with your designated dish in tow—but you're anticipating an awkward dinner conversation or a few too many hours with your family. And maybe whipping up Thanksgiving dinner is an old hat for you—but you still get the jitters wondering if your white meat is going to dry out or if your pie crust will be at its flakiest.
But it's time to let go. What happens tomorrow... happens. Take a moment today. Breathe.
To find more of that "breathe in, breathe out" feeling, read on for 10 things you can do today to keep stress at bay (and we promise, they've nothing to do with the turkey).
- Pre-grind your coffee for tomorrow morning. You’re going to want to press "start" (or get pouring on that pour over) as soon as you hit the kitchen running. Bonus: Assign a Coffee Captain that'll keep the fresh joe coming all day long.
- Brush up on a non-controversial, crowd-pleasing, participatory game. (We're here to announce that charades is making a comeback!)
- Read Keat's "Ode to Autumn" out loud. ("Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun...") Sigh happily.
- Loop in the family and friends who couldn’t make it to the festivities. Dial up Aunt Sara and tell her 3 funny things that happened during your T-day prep. Text some turkey GIFs to your teenage cousin.
- (Hey, real quick: Did you defrost the pie dough? Are you sure? Go open the freezer, we’ll wait. Ok, good. Hold on, did you take out BOTH pie doughs?)
- Now's the time to get outside and breathe some fresh air. Walk to the nearest park. No park? Take a walk around the block. Take 8 laps around the block. Heck, take 8 laps around your front lawn. And leave your phone behind.
- Listen to a podcast that'll make you laugh. Or one that's nostaglic and romantic. Or one that'll help you take that nap you so desparately need.
- I know you're not supposed to be thinking about tomorrow, but if you're the type who just can't sit still, here's a prep activity that's simultaneously a stress reliever: Pre-batch a cocktail for the festivities (how about this one?) and then be taste tester. Because someone has to make sure they're drinkable, right?
- Put on a song that makes you feel good. My go-tos for (1) a dance-able classic, (2) a soul-stirring choral piece, and (3) a sweet, folky love song. But play whatever makes you smile.
- You know that moment where everyone has to go around the table and say what they're thankful for? This year, really give it some thought—a day early. Revel in those thoughts, find comfort in holding them close, and then share them with everyone tomorrow.
Enjoy your peace of mind, and don't forget to have fun tomorrow!
How do you relieve stress before hosting a big feast? Share your methods with us in the comments below!