5 Ways to Prevent a Thanksgiving Meltdown

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I’ve been writing about meltdowns a lot lately. And for good reason. Meltdowns seem to be a part of life we rarely talk about. Whether it’s a public meltdown over something your kids did or a behind closed doors career meltdown because you’re stuck in the worst job ever, these “hiccups” are inevitable. They can happen at anytime and without any warning at all.

Aside from kids and careers, holidays are the perfect storm for meltdowns. There’s typically a lot of stress surrounding what should be a happy, carefree time. There’s the planning, which can take weeks or months of work. The cooking, baking, decorating, crossing things off the list, and so on. And, of course, the family. Although we love them, at least most of them, our family members are a primary trigger of meltdowns. Add a platter of turkey and big bowl of mashed potatoes to the mix, and hoo boy, Thanksgiving can produce a whopper of a freak out.

Rather than throwing a turkey leg at your Uncle Bob, here are 5 ways to prevent a Thanksgiving meltdown:

  • Buy all of your veggies pre-chopped! Seriously! Give in to the urge of having to chop, bake, and prepare everything from scratch. Or let one of your older kids chop the produce. Surely they’ve done something recently to deserve the punishment.
  • Sit the trouble makers at the furthest end of the table. Or stick them at the kid’s table. If they are known to say or do things that stir problems with others, don’t be afraid to isolate them or, better yet, say something to them immediately. Pull them aside and let them know there is now a zero tolerance policy on Thanksgiving.
  • Play music during Thanksgiving dinner. If chatty cousin Mary keeps talking and talking and talking, turn up the volume. If Great Aunt Barbara and brother Don start to go at it, turn it up a little more! Drain them all out until all you can hear is the sweet sound of AC/DC in the background.
  • Serve Thanksgiving dinner on high-end plastic or paper products. Stop rolling your eyes! If you’re typically the one stuck with clean-up, opt for the easy way out.
  • Stop trying to be Wonder Woman and let someone else host the festivities.

There are other things you can do to prevent life’s little adult tantrums. Some are pretty straigtforward…take deep breaths, walk away from the “trigger”, pour yourself a tall glass of wine. Others are highlighted in my book The Mother of All Meltdowns.  If you haven’t picked up a copy, pre-Thanksgiving is the perfect time! It just might save a life! Or turkey leg.

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