Have a healthy holiday seasonposted by Brent Brown on November 23, 2020
The 2020 holiday season is bound to look a little different than years past.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to canceled or revamped plans for families around the world. ActiveHealth has created the following lists to help you keep wellness and safety top of mind this holiday season.
There’s no place like home for the holidays
Usually, around this time of year, we start planning to spend time with family and friends. We might not see some of them much of the rest of the year. For most of us, this year is pretty different. You may not be traveling like you usually would, or you may not be going to gatherings like you usually do. Some people have a higher risk for serious illness with COVID-19. That includes people with conditions like diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some guidance. Remember to check with your local health department to understand your community spread.
- The safest course is to stick to events with people who live in your household.
- If you decide to go to events with people who aren’t, look for lower-risk options.
The idea of not seeing family and friends that you’d usually see can be upsetting for you and for them, but it’s not selfish to weigh your health risks and theirs when you decide how to celebrate.
- To go, or not to go, that is the question.
There are some things to keep in mind if you decide to go to holiday gatherings that you’re not hosting.
- Time matters. The longer you stay the more chance you have of being exposed to any germs in the environment.
- Distance matters. The closer you are to the people that are there the more likely you are to pick up or spread any germs.
- Be prepared. Make sure you have a mask and hand sanitizer with you. Keep some tissues handy for touching surfaces you can’t avoid, like door handles.
- Not every gathering is the same risk level.
- Lowest risk – Virtual gatherings and ones that just include people in your household
- More risk – Small, in-person gatherings that are outside, socially distant and include only people from your local community
- Higher risk – Medium-sized, in-person gatherings that may include people who have traveled into the area, but you can still keep your distance
- Highest risk – Large, in-person gatherings with people from outside the area where it’s difficult to keep your distance
When you’re making plans, be sure to check your state and local rules about event sizes.
Be our guest
Inviting people into our homes is one way we show and strengthen our social connections. If you make the decision to see family or friends this holiday, here are some ways to try to lower the risks for yourself and your guests.
- Try to limit how many people you see in the 14 days before the event. Ask your guests to do the same.
- Limit the number of people you invite.
- Remind people to stay home if they’re sick.
- Plan to be outside if you can.
- Arrange the furniture to allow for social distancing.
- Ask guests to wear masks when they’re inside.
- Put out hand sanitizer.
- Think about using paper towels and paper napkins instead of linens.
- Limit the number of people handling and serving food.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces before and after the event. (R: 5.9)
Keep your distance.
If you’re going to see family and friends over the holidays, plan for it. Try to limit how many people you see in the 14 days before the event. If you’ve been around anyone who’s sick, stay home. It’s frustrating to miss something you’re looking forward to. But it’s safest to stay away instead of spreading germs. Try to stay at least six feet away from other people when you’re out or hosting at home. It’s tempting to give hugs or shake hands with people you’re happy to see. But it’s safest not to touch people outside your household – not even fist or elbow bumps.
Take a holiday from stress
Feeling a little like Scrooge for the holidays? If so, you’re not alone. For some, seasonal celebrations are the happiest time of year. They’re a time to relax with loved ones and friends. But, for others, holidays can be stressful, sad or difficult. If you are feeling a little down this holiday season, here are some tips you can use to help you ditch that “bah humbug” mentality and lift your spirits.
Prioritize the “ME” in Merry. The holiday season is filled with plenty of hustle, bustle, and excitement. For many, a lot of time is spent planning and taking care of others. However, this leaves little time for taking care of oneself. Self-care matters. Take time to read or listen to music. Get a massage or a manicure. No one will mind if you take some all-important “Me” time this MErry holiday season.
Make sure that you’re fully present. Try practicing mindfulness and meditation this holiday season. Soak in each moment. Whether it’s with your loved ones or by yourself. Notice the smells, sounds, and sights around you. You’ll enjoy the celebrations more and they’ll be more memorable, too.
Make your holidays merry and bright! Connect with positive pals. Spending time with those you care about can help you feel connected to others. Reach out to the people with whom you can be yourself for some virtual holiday parties. Schedule some time for a video call. Just seeing a loved one’s smiling face can make a big difference in your mood.
Aim for fun, not perfection. Resist the urge to want to do everything to make the holiday season perfect. Accept that things might be different than they used to be.
Not a picture-perfect holiday? Try reframing your thoughts. Like it or not, change is a constant in life. Rather than fighting it, try to expect it. Then be ready to respond. Open yourself to new opportunities instead of dwelling on what seems lost and accept change as it comes.
Got a serious case of the holiday blues? Don’t hide it or be embarrassed by it. The holiday season can bring feelings of love and cheer. But it can also be the beginning of holiday stress. Sometimes the hardest part of the holiday season is thinking you should feel a certain way. Even when you don’t. Remember you don’t have to force it. Be honest about your feelings when friends and family ask how you’re doing. There’s nothing like having the support of your loved ones behind you. They can help fend off feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression and keep you prepared for even the most daunting challenges ahead.
Stay active during the holiday season
Stay active to avoid holiday weight gain.
The average holiday weight gain for adults is less than one pound. That’s not much. But people don’t generally lose it during the rest of the year. Activity can help you keep your weight steady. Most adults should get Being active is a must if you’re going to maintain your weight. Aim for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn. Burning calories and reducing the number of calories you eat creates a calorie deficit. That deficit results in weight loss.
Walking in a winter wonderland
Like any physical activity, walking is a good for your heart. It increases your heart rate, builds heart muscle and gets the blood flowing through your body. It also lowers blood pressure and helps reduce body fat and cholesterol. Here are some ways to add more walking to your routine.
- Get some extra steps by parking farther away from your destination.
- Take extra laps around the mall or grocery store when you shop.
You can also try these other tips.
- Stop for frequent stretch and physical activity breaks throughout the day.
- Do yard work, like raking leaves or chopping wood.
- Add a little extra effort when you’re doing housework, like mopping, sweeping or vacuuming.
- Put some music on and walk briskly around the house our up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes. Do this 2-3 times per day.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Jump rope.
- Do an exercise video.
- Use home cardio equipment if you have it.
Don’t sleep on the importance of adequate rest
Have a restful holiday
- Keep your sleep schedule. The holiday season may mean time off for many adults. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning. Don’t spend your day off from work in bed or you won’t feel rested the next day.
- Eat with a purpose. Did you know that what you eat can affect your sleep? Eating heavy, greasy food can decrease the amount of deep sleep you get during the night. Eating too much sugar could result in more midnight wakeups.
- Take it easy with holiday spirits. Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. It’s a depressant. But it can cause you to wake up more often during the night.
- Get some sunlight. Spending time in the sun during daylight hours helps to reset your body’s sleep and wake cycles.