Six Ways to Stay Safe and Enjoy Yourself This Holiday Season

Turn on the radio or television or log in to your social media accounts and you’ll likely see messages about the holidays being “the most wonderful time of the year”.  While that may be the case for many of us, we may also find this time of year to be one of the most stressful.  We’re feeling the pinch of having to wrap up year-end projects at work.  We’re overwhelmed with our finances and the supply chain crisis and how this will impact our holiday shopping.  We’ve been indulging in holiday goodies and our waistbands are feeling a too tight for comfort.  On top of all of that we’ve got Covid and the worry about new variants and how this will impact us and our loved ones.  Despite these challenges, it is possible to enjoy the holidays and do it safely.  Here are five strategies to help you stay safe and well this holiday season.

  1. Keep an eye on the CDC’s travel notices and get tested for Covid before and after you travel.  Self-kits are convenient and inexpensive and can be purchased at most pharmacies or online.  If you do fly or take public transport, wear a high-quality, snug-fitting mask even if you are fully vaccinated.
  2. If you’re holding a holiday gathering, make sure everyone present has been vaccinated and boosted against Covid.  For unvaccinated guests, request that they get tested the day before or of day of the event and ask that they wear a mask.  Keep gatherings to numbers that will still enable you to social distance.
  3. Allocate time for self-care.  Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup so make sure to fill your cup first.  Self-care can be whatever makes you feel well and cared for and it’s okay if it feels indulgent.  Treat yourself to some quiet time with a good book, lunch with an old friend, time to work on that crochet project you’ve been meaning to get to…you deserve a little pampering.
  4. Make physical activity a priority.  Physical activity is one of the best ways to enhance our mental well-being and the good news is that to get the benefits the activity doesn’t have to be long or strenuous.  Pop in that old Jane Fonda tape for ten minutes, crank up some disco and let the music move you or enjoy a short walk after dinner.  Physical activity can be fun so don’t be afraid to experiment or revisit an activity you enjoyed as a kid.
  5. Say no.  Not everything can be a priority so don’t be afraid to say no to the things that don’t add value to your life.  The trick to saying no is to be polite but also clear.  Check out these tips to help you say no like a pro.  Also, keep in mind that it’s much easier to say no in an email or a text than it is in person.  If you’re asked face to face and you’d like to say no but you’re uncomfortable, let the person know you’ll get back to them when you’ve had a chance to think it over.  Then you can text or email them your no. 
  6. Take advantage of resources to support your well-being.  Your school’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Cigna have a host of resources to support your well-being.  Reaching out for help early is one the best ways to stay well. 

With a little planning and some creativity, the holidays can be one of the most wonderful times of year.  From the GMHEC family to you and yours, we hope that you have a wonderful holiday season, that you stay well and that you move into the new year feeling a renewed sense of optimism and energy.