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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

13 Tips for a Safe, Healthy & Happy Holiday

Have we been drilling holiday safety precautions into our readers’ minds?

Maybe—but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is on to something. Their science-backed recommendations are designed to keep us, and our most-at-risk loved ones, safe during the public health crisis.

Now, that isn’t to say the holidays are canceled altogether. People should still, if they so choose, take the time to reconnect with friends and family and reflect on the year.

Safety, of course, is paramount. And with these 13 tips for a healthy and happy holiday, it’s well within reach.

1. Be understanding of others’ comfort levels.

Planning a gathering that your relatives don’t feel comfortable attending? Wondering why your aunt or cousin prefers to keep their mask on during a socially-distant outdoor walk?

The truth is that people’s pandemic comfort levels vary. The CDC is encouraging people to limit gatherings with those from outside their household, and to ensure a happy holiday season, it’s important to respect others’ boundaries—even if they’re different from your own.

2. Revisit your fire safety plan.

People are spending more time at home than ever. This doesn’t make fire safety any less important, though.

Since most house fires occur in the winter months, now is the time to practice fire safety. Check in with your family; touch base on your fire safety plan; and avoid leaving fireplaces, space heaters, and candles unattended. You’ll want to be mindful when cooking as well.

3. Prioritize sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise.

Self-care is a buzzword, but there’s a reason for that. With the combined stress of the pandemic, the looming new year, and the holidays, it can be easy to let our personal needs slip.

Why not avoid letting that happen by taking care of yourself? Shoot for eight hours of nightly rest, aim to eat a wholesome diet rich in produce, and try to exercise regularly. Even a 20-minute jog around the neighborhood, or a virtual yoga class, can keep your mind and body in check.

4. Indulge in moderation.

We just discussed healthy eating—but you should still give yourself permission to down a few glasses of eggnog, and have a slice or two of pie, to make the holidays a little more bearable this year.

Just be sure to indulge in moderation, and to savor the richness of the food you eat. A little mindfulness can go a long way in eating what you want without going overboard. Be sure the treats you afford yourself make you feel better, not worse.

5. Reconnect with loved ones virtually.

Not gathering in person with friends and family this year? You don’t have to isolate entirely. To give yourself the gift of a fulfilling holiday season, aim to schedule a Zoom call or two to catch up with your extended family.

You might also choose to play online trivia or other games together. And if you’re missing events and parties—say, that cookie bake you used to love—why not send some treats in the mail to loved ones?

6. Take some time to yourself.

We’re not just talking about isolating at home, but really taking the time to do the things you love. Rather than feeling you have to go, go, go, allow yourself to curl up with a book or watch a movie solo.

Journal, soak in the tub, entertain your cat with a laser-pointer—whatever floats your proverbial boat. Simply do what you need to do to recharge, taking time for yourself so you can be more present for others.

7. Learn to say no.

This tip goes back to setting healthy boundaries—and not just where the pandemic is concerned. If you’re feeling pressure from people in your circle (pressure to network, date, or travel—whatever it may be), say no if it doesn’t sit right with you.

In essence, remember that you’re in control of your own life. You don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to discuss, and you certainly don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do (so long as you aren’t harming others).

8. Stick to your budget.

In these times of economic uncertainty, gift-giving season may be a little more stressful than usual. No matter your financial situation, try to plan a holiday budget and stick to it. You can always DIY gifts, send meals, or focus on other gestures that are meaningful yet cost-effective.

Here’s an idea: We’re all wearing cloth face coverings. Why not sew your own patterned face masks and distribute them to friends and family?

9. Gathering with non-household loved ones? Proceed with caution.

People are ultimately in charge of their own lives. If you are going to spend the holidays with loved ones from outside your household, plan carefully to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Get tested for COVID-19 before the gathering, self-quarantine to the extent possible leading up to the event, and wear a mask when possible. You’ll also want to wash your hands frequently and crack a window to increase ventilation if you’re inside. (Dress for the weather!)

10. Don’t be afraid to deviate from tradition.

Feeling depressed or uneasy about the current climate? That makes perfect sense—but the right mindset can help you shift your perspective.

Ultimately, deviating from tradition can lead to beautiful new traditions. Watch a movie, or play charades or Scrabble, with your immediately family. Cook a meal together, and truly enjoy one another’s company. You may even build new traditions you can pass down post-pandemic.

11. Look past your differences with friends and family.

Frustrated about the uncle who joined Parler or the sister who stayed on Facebook? No matter your political beliefs—or your take on how to best handle the public health crisis—there’s no better time than the holidays to forgive the people who drive you mad.

Note: This doesn’t mean you need to talk to them constantly or let them tread all over your boundaries. Letting go of anger, however, can truly make a difference in your and others’ lives.

12. Check in with the kids.

They say to put your own oxygen mask on first. That isn’t to say you should forget about the kids, though!

Depending on how old your children are, they’re likely reeling from all the change that have taken place this past year. Remote learning, cancelled extracurriculars, isolation from friends—these things take a toll. So definitely check in with your kids this holiday season.

13. Accept your feelings.

Are you anxious or depressed? Rather than fighting your feelings, focus on accepting them. Easier said than done, we know—but you’re not in the wrong for feeling what you feel. And embracing your emotions, experts point out, can actually help you cope more effectively.

With that said, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed. And with these tips in your arsenal, we hope you’ll have all the tools and resources you need to have a safe and fulfilling holiday season. Take care (and thanks for tuning in)!

Have questions about Umbrella Security Services? Please contact us for more information, or to schedule your free consultation. In the meantime, please have a safe and happy holiday.

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