Sitting down for a traditional dinner is a rare activity in our fast paced lives. Busy families often don't have the time to sit down to eat together, and if you're single it is even easier to find yourself eating on the run or in front of the television. Stress and time management expert Mimi Donaldson says:
We're hurried, we're harried, we've turned up the volume of our lives to such a high number that we often can't even see how stressed we are. And we almost never see how we bring that stress to the dinner table, a place where traditionally we sought relaxation and comfort.
Dinner doesn't have to be an extinct or stressful moment in your day, however. WebMD offers tips on how to de-stress the dinner hour.
Turn Down the Volume.
Nothing brings down the stress level like turning down the volume of your environment.
"That means no cell phones, no TV, and no radios blaring in the background, and it means not answering the phone during mealtime," says Ekroth.
What should be in the background? Soft, soothing music is an instant stress buster.
Ekroth suggests letting each family member contribute suggestions about what to play, or letting a different person pick the music for each meal. If you have a CD burner, a good family project is creating an hour of dinner music that includes everyone's favourite relaxing tunes.
If you're at a loss for relaxing music to play at dinner and you're pretty sure your best of Motörhead isn't going to cut it, check out The Most Relaxing Jazz Music In The Universe. If you're still stressed listening to A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square by the Marian McPartland Trio you might want to consider consulting your doctor about your stress levels.
Control the Conversation
Too often, say experts, we see dinner with our partner or family as an opportunity to air grievances. This can be particularly true for parents, who may turn the dinner hour into a discipline hour, often because they feel it's the only time they have their child's attention. [...]
Further, experts say, don't use mealtime to discuss the "honey-do" list, your medical problems, or why you hate your boss, or your mother. Instead, prompt engaging conversation by discussing the highlights of your day.
Everyone needs time to vent, but not unleashing the beast at the dinner table is sound advice. Chances are your regular dinner partner is already aware that you think your boss is a direct bloodline descendant of Napoleon.
Further dinner table de-stressing tips offered at WebMD include using soft ambient light to calm mood at the table, setting the table demarcate dinner as a special time, and streamlining your meal preparation to cut down on stress leading up to the meal itself. What tips or tricks do you have for creating a stress free meal time? We want to hear from you whether you dine solo or at a table of twelve. Photo by uberculture.