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STAMFORD, CT, November 17, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Turkeys are the only ones who need to be stressed at Thanksgiving, says Millie Grenough, Clinical Instructor at Yale University School of Medicine and author of OASIS in the Overwhelm.
If you're one of the 91% of Americans who are traveling this weekend - or even if you're staying at home - here are some tips to make you happier and safer.
If you're traveling, remember that airports and highways will be extra crazy. And who knows what the weather will be like?
Grenough recommends trying the following to keep you stress free:
1. Pack this weekend. Then eliminate half of what's in your suitcase - you won't really need it.
2. Build leeway into your travel schedule. Leave earlier than you need to: it may prevent your blood pressure from escalating when you run into a snag on the highway or at the airport.
3. Pack snacks: a few sandwiches, some fruit and nuts. If they're in sealed packages, airline security will let them through. If you're in the car, they'll help keep you calm.
4. Bring crayons, books, games, puzzles for kids. For yourself, a good book you've been wanting to read or a couple of magazines. If you're not the designated driver or the designated responsible adult, bring an eye mask if you want to catch a few winks.
5. If you're traveling by car and bringing Thanksgiving dishes with you, prep them way ahead and package them so they'll travel safely.
6. Keep your wits about you. Don't be like my friend Donna. She spent all day Wednesday prepping her precious turkey. Then on Thursday morning, before she loaded her kids into the car, she carefully placed the turkey on top of the car. You guessed it. She drove off with the turkey on top.
Staying at home? Grenough suggests:
1. If people are staying over, prep your house this weekend. Be honest: if it's really better that folks stay elsewhere, give them info about best motels nearby. You'll feel better if your house looks the way you want it to - but it's more important to be a gracious happy host than to have House Beautiful.
2. Cook whatever food you can ahead of time. Pop it into the freezer so you can take it out when needed.
3. If you find yourself caught up in frenetic activity, chill. Exhale your anxiety, then take a fresh inhale to balance yourself, then another breath - let the spirit of the thanks-day feed you.
Whether you're traveling or staying at home, get plenty of rest ahead of time. That means good sleep. Balance that with good physical activity and no last-minute rushing.
On Thanksgiving Day Grenough wants you to try:
1. Above all, remember what this day is all about - giving thanks!
2. As you sit around the table, pause a minute to give thanks before you dig in to the goodies. Enjoy the feast! Today's not the day to worry about your diet. Savor each bite, eat with mindful pleasure.
3. During or after the meal, do a little ritual. Invite each person at the table to have a chance to say "What am I most thankful for - this year? this minute?" You'll be surprised at the stories that come from Grandma Anita and 5-year-old David. Don't miss this opportunity to honor your individual lives and strengthen your family connection.
4. When someone acts like a turkey - you know how Uncle Joe can rant on - instead of gobbling back at him, try "Uncle Joe, so great to see you. Want some more cranberries?"
5. After the meal, take a walk around the block to chat and knock off those extra calories.
Grenough concludes her recommendations with perhaps the most important one of all - Be happy! You're alive. You have food. You have the good fortune to be with others to celebrate the day. And keep your wits about you. Remember to take the turkey off the top of your car.
MILLIE GRENOUGH, Coach, Speaker, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, is the author of OASIS in the Overwhelm: 60-second strategies for balance in a busy world and OASIS in the Overwhelm 28 Day Guide: Rewire Your Brain from Chaos to Calm and OASIS: Como encontrar la paz en una vida agitada.
More information about Millie Grenough: www.milliegrenough.com
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