Just in time for the holidays. Here are a few tips that will help you and your family survive and enjoy this holiday season.

1. Walk off the stress and cravings

Family-induced stress can lead to cravings. Polishing off a pumpkin pie goes from tempting to irresistible after an argument with your opinionated cousin. Instead of heading for the refrigerator, go for a 15-minute walk.

2. Put your phone away

A visible phone undermines the quality of conversation. Don’t even think about putting it on the dinner table.

3. Avoid hot button topics 

Politics, money, religion, sex and health are dinner party “no-nos” for obvious reasons. These topics tend to bring out the worst in people, even typically unemotional ones. 

4. Sit at a round table

If you are concerned about conflict, you may want to consider a scientifically proven strategy for keeping the peace: use a round table. People seated at a round table – as opposed to a rectangular or square one – get along better and are less likely to bicker.

5. Beware of what you miss when you snap a pic

Snapping pictures influences what we remember. This phenomenon is called the ‘photo-taking impairment effect.’ If you are busy taking photos, you may miss the moment. 

6. Turkey tastes better when shared

Food and wine taste better when shared. We are social creatures and our wellbeing—both physical and mental—depends on our connections. Reach out to someone who may be on their own, don’t assume everyone has plans. Extend an invitation and be a bright spot in someone else’s life. 

7. Be kind

Studies show that kindness breeds kindness. It’s contagious, so pass it on. Research illustrates the numerous health benefits of being kind: increased happiness, closer relationships, greater life satisfaction, decreased stress, a stronger immune system including greater cardiovascular health, and decreased physical pain.

8. Gain time by giving it away

If the holiday season leaves you feeling pressed for time, try giving it away. Volunteering and doing things for others, rather than focusing on ourselves expands our sense of time. On that note, if you are interested in volunteering or making a charitable contribution this year, City-Meals-on-Wheels is a great organization that delivers nutritious meals to New York’s elder population.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” ~W.J. Cameron