Home for the Holidays During a Global Pandemic

How to Main­tain Your Well-Being and Enjoy the Most Joy­ous Time of the Year

Home – a place where many of us have been spend­ing our time these last few months. With infec­tions spread­ing, many of us will not attend tra­di­tion­al hol­i­day gath­er­ings or bond with extend­ed fam­i­ly or friends. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, with cas­es ris­ing through­out Illi­nois and the coun­try, it’s cru­cial that we lim­it small gath­er­ings as these are a con­trib­u­tor to the rise in COVID-19 cas­es. While cel­e­brat­ing vir­tu­al­ly or with mem­bers of your own house­hold is an option, it may not cov­er the long days after you’ve logged off with your loved ones. 

Here are steps you can take to man­age your well-being while at home dur­ing the holidays:

Prac­tice Mind­ful Eating

Win­ter­time is noto­ri­ous for home­made cook­ies, baked goods, pop­corn buck­ets and oth­er treats. Though snack­ing may be com­fort­ing, these sug­ar-filled and car­bo­hy­drate-heavy foods can cre­ate a spike in blood sug­ar, decreas­ing your ener­gy lev­els and poten­tial­ly lead to weight gain. Instead, enjoy your favorite recipes in mod­er­a­tion and reach for foods rich in fiber, whole-grain and pro­tein as well as fruits and veg­eta­bles. Hol­i­day treats are a great way to cel­e­brate, but bal­ance those with healthy foods so you stay alert and have phys­i­cal strength dur­ing cold, dark days. 

Take a Multivitamin 

A mul­ti­vi­t­a­min con­tains key min­er­als that improve your well­ness. This can pro­vide you nec­es­sary nutri­ents that you oth­er­wise may not receive from your dai­ly food and drink intake while also reduc­ing your chances of get­ting sick. How­ev­er, remem­ber a mul­ti­vi­t­a­min is not a sub­sti­tute but rather acts as a help­ing agent. To deter­mine which mul­ti­vi­t­a­min is best for you, con­nect with your pri­ma­ry care provider. 

Hydrate Your­self

Just because warm weath­er is behind us doesn’t mean you should stop drink­ing water. Hydra­tion improves dry skin, aids your body in diges­tion and strength­ens your immune sys­tem. To stay hydrat­ed, aim to car­ry around a water bot­tle, brew a cup of hot tea or eat foods that are water-heavy, includ­ing apples and home­made veg­etable soup. 

Move Your Body 

    It may be freez­ing out­side, but phys­i­cal exer­cise is one of the best ways to boost your mood dur­ing the cold­est months of the year. Even if it’s just for 30 min­utes, mov­ing your body can turn your mood around and keep your body feel­ing refreshed and strong. There’s also proven evi­dence that exer­cise can reduce your chance for devel­op­ing heart dis­ease, dia­betes and depres­sion. From walk­ing, climb­ing stairs, danc­ing in the kitchen to jump­ing rope, try stay­ing active to boost endor­phins in your brain and build strength. 

    While tak­ing care of your phys­i­cal health is imper­a­tive, it’s also impor­tant to rec­og­nize how you are feel­ing emo­tion­al­ly and pri­or­i­tize your men­tal health. Here are a few ways you can enjoy the mag­ic of the hol­i­day sea­son at home: 

    Sched­ule Vir­tu­al Fam­i­ly Meals 

    To unite fam­i­ly togeth­er, while stay­ing apart, con­sid­er set­ting up a vir­tu­al hol­i­day meal. Social­iza­tion allows you to stay con­nect­ed, vent your feel­ings and helps with prac­tic­ing active lis­ten­ing skills. 

    Embrace Your Cre­ative Side

    Sev­er­al research stud­ies have not­ed a cor­re­la­tion between par­tic­i­pat­ing in art-relat­ed activ­i­ties and pos­i­tive men­tal health out­comes. Art can pro­vide a tem­po­rary space to cre­ate your own world and use your imag­i­na­tion. Whether you draw chalk pic­tures on the side­walk, cre­ate sea­son­al crafts or sing your favorite hol­i­day tunes, there are end­less forms of artis­tic explo­ration, help­ing you heal from uncer­tain­ty and nav­i­gate the world’s unprece­dent­ed events. 

    Enjoy the Cool­er Weather 

      The upcom­ing snowy sea­son offers count­less oppor­tu­ni­ties to lift your emo­tion­al health and stay active; build­ing a snow­man, hik­ing, sled­ding and ski­ing are activ­i­ties to con­sid­er – all with­in your own back­yard or com­mu­ni­ty. Con­tin­ue to prac­tice safe-dis­tanc­ing and mask wear­ing while enjoy­ing the local win­ter wonderland. 

      Even though the hol­i­days need to look a dif­fer­ent this year, there is still joy to be had. Con­sid­er the many fun alter­na­tive activ­i­ties that pose a low­er risk of spread­ing COVID-19 and check in on your friends and fam­i­ly that may be on their own this hol­i­day season. 

      If you or a fam­i­ly mem­ber aren’t feel­ing well, it’s best to stay home. Please vis­it our COVID-19 page for more infor­ma­tion on the virus and its symp­toms. You can also sched­ule an in-clin­ic or video vis­it with your pri­ma­ry care provider online.

      If you or a loved one need men­tal health sup­port, please reach out to our Behav­ioral and Men­tal Health team.