Important Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays
This year has been challenging! We’re all trying hard to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy from the COVID-19 virus. Though visions of sugar plums and brightly wrapped packages may be starting to fill your mind, it’s still important to be safe to ensure healthy holidays. This can be difficult during the time of year you usually want to spend with family and friends. But that doesn’t mean your holidays can’t be merry.
First, it’s important to have an understanding of what is and isn’t considered safe, and then you can adjust your plans so they’re bursting at the seams with holiday cheer!
How to stay healthy during the holidays
In past years, holiday health simply meant avoiding a cold or the flu. But this year, it’s so much more. Just remember, we’re all in this together! And by taking precautions, you can help those you love, as well as those in your surrounding community, to all stay healthy during the holidays. Consider following these tips from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Celebrate within your own household. This means not blending households, including (unfortunately) college kids who are away at school. The safest way to celebrate healthy holidays is by only spending them with the people you live with, and connecting with other households virtually, rather than in person.
- Avoid travel. Exposure to COVID-19 can happen in common travel hubs, such as airports, bus stations, train stations and rest stops. So to limit your chances of picking up the virus, it’s safest to stay home for healthy holidays.
- Consider gathering outdoors. If you do decide to host or attend a gathering, the safest place to have it is outside. This may be an option if you live in a warmer climate, or if you enjoy wintertime bonfires or other outdoor gatherings. Outdoors can help limit the spread of germs since fresh air provides more ventilation than indoors. If you do decide to celebrate like this, it’s recommended by the CDC that you limit the number of people who attend, keep a distance of six feet apart, wear masks, wash hands and follow any other state or local rules. If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, exposed to COVID-19 or are at increased risk for getting COVID-19, you should not attend in-person gatherings. You can learn more by visiting the CDC online.
Other ways to celebrate and maintain holiday health
So…now what? If this is what you’re thinking, try not to let it get you down. This year will be different, but that doesn’t have to make it any less merry. If you’re wondering how to stay healthy during the holidays but still want to have fun, try any of the following ideas:
- Keep your surroundings festive. Ok, so you’re home—no big deal! You can still decorate both inside and out, and with reduced travel you may find yourself with more time to do it up right. You can turn up the music, put on a holiday movie and deck those halls. Up the competition by holding a contest and sharing photos with friends and family—whose decorations are the most over-the-top, fanciest, most nostalgic, most colorful, etc.? Have a little fun getting into the holiday spirit.
- Drive around to see the lights. Take an evening or two, pile your family into the car and take a drive to check out the colorful lights on homes in your neighborhood. Pack up some cookies and hot chocolate to take along for the ride. Play holiday music and sing along as you take in the sights and sounds of the season.
- Hand-deliver special packages. Ho ho ho! Santa doesn’t have to be the only one making deliveries. If you have gifts for loved ones who live nearby, make a “package drop” on their doorstep. Care packages with treats and homemade gifts can be a great way to celebrate and up the holiday cheer.
- Hold movie nights—both near and far. Hello, streaming services! The holiday movies are going strong right now, with plenty to choose from. Add some classics or new releases to your must-watch list and dim the lights for a family movie night. Invite others to watch and join into the conversation by using a phone or video app—because we all know commentary is half the fun!
- Have a virtual happy hour. Speaking of video apps, if you’re not yet familiar with Zoom, FaceTime or House Party—now is the time. Clink glasses with friends, catch up and laugh about your favorite memories as you sip and chat virtually. You can add more than one person to the conversation and raise a toast to staying healthy during the holidays!
- Spend some time in nature. Never underestimate the calming influence of trees, green space and fresh air. Bundle up (if you live in a cold climate) and take a stroll around a local park, bike path or walking trail. Just remember to maintain a safe social distance from those you come into contact with. Take pictures, breathe in the wintery air and let yourself enjoy the surroundings.
- Support local retail businesses online. Small, local businesses are being hit hard by shutdowns and limited traffic. Many of these stores offer online sales just like other big-box stores. As you check items off your holiday shopping list, check out some local businesses to help them keep their revenue up (and their doors open).
- Enjoy takeout from your favorites. Like local shops, restaurants near you may also be limited in terms of service capacity. Why not skip cooking for a night, and celebrate in style with takeout from a local restaurant? The holidays are a great time to treat yourself, and you can feel good that you helped a local business keep their lights on.
- Pull up a virtual seat at the table. Holiday meals this year will have fewer people in attendance as we observe tips for staying healthy during the holidays. But you can still see familiar faces. As you enjoy your holiday meal, video chat with your family and friends while you eat together remotely.
Celebrate and stay safe for a healthy holiday
One of the best ways to keep your spirits up this holiday season is by preserving your peace of mind. And you can do that by taking steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Embrace the season as a chance to refresh your traditions and maybe start something new.
If you have any questions or need more information, please visit the CDC online.
To learn more about staying safe and healthy during COVID-19, check out our COVID-19 Resources Page. This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.