Living with Chronic Pain

Tips for Dealing With the Holidays During COVID-19


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many holiday celebrations will look different this year. Large gatherings, parties, and travel plans may need to be modified or even canceled.

Some tips to stay healthy and make the most of the holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic include the following:

Modify gatherings

Indoor gatherings with people who do not live in the same household pose a risk of spreading COVID-19. If the weather allows, consider hosting a small gathering outdoors. If an outdoor gathering is not possible, an indoor gathering in a well-ventilated area or an area with open windows and doors is the next safest option.

Alternatively, use technology to host a virtual dinner party. Consider a socially-distanced food exchange. Family members and friends can make a dish or treat and drop it off with other members of the exchange.

Travel safely

The holiday season is typically the busiest time of year for travel. However, travel increases the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. The safest option is to stay home this year; however, if travel is absolutely necessary, some travel modifications can be made to make the trip safer.

First, consider driving rather than flying. If driving, be sure to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and frequently sanitize or wash hands during all stops for gas, food or rest.

Being in an enclosed space with strangers for an extended period of time increases the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. If flying is necessary, filter systems on airplanes regularly provide fresh air to the cabin. Many airlines also require all passengers to wear masks throughout the flight. Remember to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and frequently sanitize or wash hands in the airport before and after the flight.

In order to limit exposure to others, consider staying in a hotel rather than staying in the homes of relatives. If possible, avoid exposure to others for at least 48 hours after arrival, and wear a mask in public and at social gatherings.

Shop smart

Stores and shopping malls are often crowded during the holiday season. To stay safe, avoid going to stores or malls during peak business hours. Many retailers are extending their special prices and deals for several days or weeks instead of only offering them on one day. Online shopping is also a good option. Have items shipped directly to the gift recipient or utilize curbside pickup if available.

Embrace celebration

Even though the holidays will look different this year, it is still important to celebrate. Celebrating and connecting with family and friends in virtual or safe ways is important for mental well-being. Listen to favorite holiday music while hanging out at home. Bake cookies or watch a holiday movie with people who live in the same household. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and drive around the neighborhood to look at lights or decorations. Look for virtual opportunities to participate in religious services or activities if desired.

Although the holidays may be celebrated differently this year, try to make the most of the season while being as safe and healthy as possible.

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