Extreme Self-Care for the Holidays During COVID

Posted on December 7, 2020 by

This holiday season is unlike any I have ever experienced.  At a time when we typically gather with our families, we are being advised not to because the risk of spreading COVID-19 is too high.  When we usually fill the stores to buy gifts, we are being asked to stay home, wear masks when we are in public, and wash our hands.  People we know and love have contracted the virus.  Most have recovered but way too many have not.  This is a scary time for most of us around the world.

So what can we do to take the best care of ourselves during this season while still getting the most enjoyment out of it?

Set Your Intention

Take a moment to calm your busy mind and deliberately set your intention to stay safe and healthy throughout the holiday season. Spend some time thinking about what that means and what it entails.  Then set your intention to find safe ways to stay connected with loved ones and with activities that feed your soul.

Protect Yourself

Keep yourself safe and healthy.  Although this season typically involves lots of shopping for gifts, stay out of the stores as much as possible.  If you must go to a store, plan to go early or at other times when the stores are least crowded.  Use hand sanitizer frequently while shopping and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before eating and when you get home.

Better yet, skip the stores and shop online for gifts for family and friends.  Pay for gift wrapping if available and have gifts delivered directly to the intended recipients.  If an online order can’t be gift wrapped alert a family member in the same household as the recipient when to expect it and ask them to wrap it for you. My daughter will wrap a gift for my grandson that is being delivered unwrapped.  My step-son will wrap a gift for my granddaughter that couldn’t be gift wrapped.

Enjoy your favorite holiday TV shows and specials that help you enjoy the season at home, without risking your health in large gatherings.  There are plenty to choose from. The Hallmark channel is overflowing with holiday movies…

Connect With Loved Ones

The Holidays are the perfect time to gather with friends and especially family. Plan to skip the family gatherings this year.  It makes me sad to even write this, but having had five family members get COVID-19 I know firsthand that the risk of spreading the virus is very real.

Instead of in-person gatherings, plan ahead to gather virtually.  Zoom allows many households to get together online and see each other, talk with each other, eat together and even watch each other open presents.  Be creative.  One family I know arranged for all the grandchildren to make a holiday craft in their respective homes while connected via Zoom.  It helped them feel like they were together and connected.  There was an abundance of laughter.

Use Facetime, Zoom or Skype to connect with family and especially elderly loved ones.  Visit outside, or arrange to see each other through a window. I know this is not ideal, but it is way better than not seeing each other at all.

Increase Self-Care

Make sure you are taking the best care of yourself to keep your immune system in tip top shape.  This includes getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet low in sugar and unhealthy fats.  Dr Galland, a renowned Integrative Medicine physician in New York City, recommends that you “supplement with vitamin D, 1000 to 6000 IU/day, consume polyphenol-rich fruits, vegetables and herbs, and avoid foods made with high fructose corn syrup”.  You can read more about his latest coronavirus protection protocol here https://drgalland.com/coronavirus-protection-protocol/  You can find the CDC guidelines for protecting yourself here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

Also, take time every day to destress.  We are constantly bombarded with scary statistics about the spread of COVID and it is easy to become anxious about getting sick or even dying. Stress decreases the effectiveness of our immune system and makes us more susceptible to illness. Search for a free meditation online that helps you clear your mind and calm your body.  The Mindful Movement on YouTube has many wonderful meditations that help you destress and stay healthy. Here’s one example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=217ensSqsTM  Learn to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.  Here’s a great tool to help you do so: https://thebrainlady.com/products/cds/mindfulness-toolkit-cd/

Plan to enjoy the holiday season as best you can.  Be flexible and look for alternative ways to celebrate that keep you and your family healthy and safe. Thankfully the vaccine for COVID is ready and will help stop its spread. And as I often remind myself, this too shall pass!

Debra Burdick, LCSW, BCN, also known as ‘The Brain Lady’, is an international expert on ADHD and Mindfulness. She is an award-winning, #1 best-selling author of: Mindfulness Skills Workbook, Mindfulness Skills for Kids and Teens, ADHD: Non-Medication Treatments and Skills for Children and Teens and Mindfulness for Teens with ADHD. She is an international speaker and retired psychotherapist and neurotherapist, who has been helping all ages thrive for over 30 years.

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Categories: Articles, Chronic Illness, Depression, Mindfulness, Stress
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