For some, this is the most wonderful time of year- the sights, the sounds, time with family and friends, and don’t forget the food and drinks! Thanksgiving through December is deemed the time to splurge right before the new year, when you try to erase all of your guilty pleasures away. But as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S., how do you celebrate Christmas while remaining safe?
1. Get a Plan and Stick With It
The best way to be prepared is to have a list and a plan. When you go to the grocery store without a list, you may go astray and probably buy things you don’t need. It is the same way with your health. Conversely, if you have a plan and rules to follow it’s a lot easier to not get caught up.
Set a plan for the week of how you are going to keep everyone safe and remember to fill your family in. For some, this may be requiring family members to quarantine or show a negative COVID test before coming over. For others, it may be eating outside, practicing social distancing, wearing masks or choosing to meet via Zoom.
“When you see a loved one, even from a distance, it can be easy to let your guard down. So set a time limit and stick to it,” Dr. Olusinmi Bamgbose, a psychiatrist at Cedars-Sinai in Southern California advises.
2. Avoid Peer Pressure
Among the reasons people are making riskier choices during the pandemic is peer pressure, Bamgbose shares.
“You might be faced with people around you who are pressuring you to push your boundaries, like a mother who wants you to come over for a holiday dinner where several people are coming over and getting together inside,” Bamgbose notes. “It can be very difficult to stick to your guns and say, ‘I don’t feel comfortable doing that.'”
Assess your personal risks and decide where your boundaries are. Your reasons for following safety measures might include that you don’t want to get yourself or your family sick, or that you also don’t want to sicken someone you may not even know. If you are surrounded by people that are pressuring you to practice unsafe measures, Bamgbroses suggests trying to connect with a community of like-minded people to keep yourself in a “good-behavior echo chamber.”