Celebrating the Holiday Season Healthy and Safe.

With the current surge in coronavirus cases, it is imperative to take care of our health and stay safe during the holiday season.  Winter Holidays are a time when friends and families travel near and far to celebrate. This year is different as we remain in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Getting close with family and friends to spread holiday cheer is more complicated than ever.

While many desire to gather to celebrate the season, it will be different to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During family gatherings, it is imperative to protect our loved ones by making adjustments.  With some creativity and ingenuity, many can continue to enjoy their holiday traditions.

Holiday Health Chicago DefenderEven with Covid-19 trials and the impending release of a vaccine, racial and ethnic minority groups remain at an increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to grow across the United States, and death rates of Black and brown people are 2.8 times the rates of white non-Hispanics, the safest and healthy way to celebrate this holiday is to celebrate at home with those who live in the same household.

The pandemic is stressful, with many feeling isolated from relatives and friends. This can be more challenging during the holidays.  While it is strongly suggested to stay home if you do not live with your loved ones, some will inevitably host small gatherings. If you decide to gather or host a small gathering, take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks, remaining socially distant even in your home, and boosting ventilation by opening windows and doors to a safe and feasible extent based on the weather can all help slow the spread.  Using air purifiers for continuous air circulation or hosting an outdoor gathering instead also helps slow the spread of this deadly virus.  Staying home remains the best and safest way to protect yourself and others from spreading COVID-19.  Adjust your holiday plans by hosting something virtually or planning a fun outdoor group activity.  If you must travel, be aware of the risks involved and do what’s best for you and your family to stay safe and healthy this holiday season.

Get Active

Due to the physical demands and psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have struggled to remain physically active. Making exercise a daily priority is imperative to have a strong immune system.  Weather and safety permitting, consider a walk with family or friends in your neighborhood after your holiday meal.  Capture those memories with your smartphone camera.  It will make a great memory as you share stories of “Holidays 2020” in the future.   Check out the holiday lights at Lincoln Park or Brookfield Zoo or even on the Magnificent Mile or State Street.

As the weather gets colder and gyms struggle to remain open, it is a great time to consider creating a home gym this holiday season.  Taking better care of your body and staying active lessens fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.  Taking care of your body also includes eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep.

Pay Attention to your Mental Health

2020 burdened many with incredible challenges. The pandemic created significant health concerns and uncomfortable changes in how we live, work, attend school and socialize.  For the Black community, the burden is even heavier as many struggle with feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, and fear.  A worldwide pandemic, racial unrest, economic inequity, and fear of the vaccine’s safety weighs heavily on the black communities’ minds.

Taking care of our mental health is as important as our physical health, especially as many battle through difficult times.  While many cannot control situations occurring in their lives, they can control how they respond to them.  Practicing gratitude is a healthy way to acknowledge the good in one’s life. Studies show that those who practice gratitude experience fewer health issues, including headaches, sleep problems, and respiratory infections.

Appreciating what is valuable and meaningful to you is gratitude.

This holiday season, make decisions and choices to keep those you love and those around you safe and healthy. Practice gratitude, get active, and get creative.  The Holiday Season can still be a time of great memories and new traditions.

Shera Strange is a Certified Health Coach, Fitness Professional, and Writer. Find her at www.strangefitness.com.


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