Family feasting season is on the horizon, and if you’re in Canada, it has already started. But if you reside in the United States, perhaps you’re thinking about who to invite and what they’re bringing for the holiday season.
Just thinking about it might stress you out. The cost, the planning, and the prep can all add to your stress load. Not to mention that you’ll be sharing the table with your irritating son-in-law and freeloading brother.
But guess what? Actually sitting down to eat the meal may make it all worthwhile. And I’m not just talking about the taste.
A new survey from the American Heart Association shows that people are less stressed when they sit around the table and break bread with family.
Ninety-one percent of the 1,000 respondents reported they are less stressed when they have a meal with family. Easing stress can also play an important role in overall health and longevity. Consistent chronic stress can boost the lifetime risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sharing meals with family and loved ones can boost self-esteem and social connectivity while helping to build, restore, or maintain social connections. All these things ease stress and anxiety and encourage better mental health.
The survey also found that:
- 84 percent of respondents wished they could share a meal together more often.
- 67 percent said sharing a meal reminds them of the importance of connecting.
- 54 percent said it reminds them to slow down a take a break.
Getting together with family this season might not be as stressful as it seems, especially when it’s happening.
If the work beforehand is getting you stressed out, then consider your options. Ask family or friends to take on different tasks to ease your individual workload, or inquire about somebody else taking the hosting duties this year.