Welcome to my annual holiday survival guide! This version is one I hope I never have to write again!
Holidays usually provide a chance for us to reflect and spend time with our loved ones, but for many people, “home for the holidays” doesn’t have quite the same ring when we’ve been stuck looking at each other for nine months with no escape hatch. Ironically, “any place but home” is the Christmas wish for some. For others, the holidays are the only time during the year where the whole family gets together and it’s an event that everyone looks forward to. With COVID-19 in the mix, there are new challenges to navigate in planning.
If you’re wondering what to do this year, here are a few things to begin thinking about:
- Start planning now. Family members may not agree on plans, so it’s best to have those conversations now. The CDC is thinking ahead, too, as they’ve recently added comprehensive holiday guidelines, offering general information about celebrations during the fall and winter as well as assessments on potential activities based on risk-level.
- Assess your risk. Some of the big things to consider are where you’re traveling from and where you’re traveling to. Local COVID-19 guidelines vary by state, county, and even cities so it’s important to be fully aware of the differences. It’s also important to know caseloads in both your location of origin and destination because of extra precautions that might be needed. There are other concerns to consider such as at-risk members of your family (both the ones you’re traveling with and ones you’re planning on visiting) to the mode of transportation to what your plans are when you arrive. It’s important to think about where you’ll stay and, then, what the details of your family gatherings will actually be.
- Follow the rules. Stay outside if you can. If you can’t do that or socially distance, wear a mask. And of course…wash your hands!
- Keep your immune system supercharged. You can read more about that here.
- Check-in on your neighbors. Social isolation has been a huge challenge for many people since March. Spending the holidays alone may exacerbate depression that people around you may be experiencing. Reach out to say hello and let others know you are thinking about them. Consider delivering a meal to your high-risk friends.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you’re uncomfortable. While COVID-19 is hijacking our holiday gatherings, there’s one hidden benefit. If your Thanksgiving plans typically require you to smile and politely chat with acquaintances or relatives who drive you crazy or pontificate endlessly about politics, you’re off the hook this year. You can simply cite COVID-19 health guidelines as your excuse to skip holiday gatherings this year. Just tell those you’d rather avoid that health experts are advising you to stay home and celebrate with members of your household this year.
- Practice gratitude. Be grateful for what you DO have. No one likes the current situation, but remember, people have endured far worse. Inconvenient? Yes. Catastrophic? No. And it may just offer you the chance to experiment with a different kind of holiday experience.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.
Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultations. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-