Celebrate the Holidays in a Safe and Healthy Way
New twists on holiday traditions to help keep the “happy” in your holiday – even during a pandemic.
December is typically one of the best times of the year to get together to celebrate our traditions, culture and family ties, and share special moments that turn into wonderful memories.
But this year, COVID-19 is threatening the holiday spirit. It’s almost a guarantee that this Christmas and New Year’s will not be like years before. But we cannot let COVID-19 ruin our holiday spirit.
During the holidays this year, we can be physically far from each other, but closer than ever in our hearts.
With this idea in mind, the guest speakers at the virtual “Cafecito Time con Equality Health” in November discussed the topic of how to keep ourselves safe and healthy throughout the holiday season and still have some fun.
It’s good to remember that Equality Health’s “Cafecitos” have truly become a community dialogue where participants from different regions of our community have benefitted from useful information, without leaving their home.
As always, the gracious María Rebozo-LaPine, Cultural Care Product Manager for Equality Health, moderated the virtual seminar, which provided valuable information from important guest speakers, regarding the celebration of holidays in a safe way.
The first guest of “Cafecito Time con Equality Health” was Nydia Montijo, who is the Coordinator of Community Outreach for the Senior Living Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping people of all ages to remain active and independent in our community.
Montijo commented that Hispanics are one of the groups most affected by COVID-19 because of the high level of chronic conditions present in this population. This is precisely why it is so important to evaluate personal risk when planning how to celebrate the holidays this year.
“We need to seriously evaluate our situation. If we have diabetes or obesity, for example, these are conditions that put us at higher risk due to the virus,” Montijo said. “The CDC’s recommendation is to not travel, but if we are, make sure to use your facemask and maintain social distancing practices, as well as washing our hands frequently.”
“For family reunions, it’s important that we get together only with the people that we live with,” Montijo commented. “We know that for us Hispanics, our family is made up of uncles, aunts, cousins, spouses, but we must maintain reunions to fewer than ten people.”
Another recommendation is to hold get-togethers outdoors and if possible, multiple people prepare individual dishes for dinner, so that people aren’t in the kitchen at the same time. Montijo also reminded viewers about the 20-second rule when washing our hands and that our facemask should always be covering our nose and mouth.
Maria Valenzuela and Jazmin Hernández, who work for Esperanza in Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of people through education, also participated in the virtual seminar.
Valenzuela is the program director for the organization, while Hernández is in-charge of community education in terms of health topics. Both stressed that it’s also very important to take care of what we eat during this holiday season. On average, a person can gain 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years’.
“It’s important to maintain our weight during this season, and not starting a diet after the holidays. The word “diet” implies a start and end, which is why we need to watch what we eat and not increase the amount of food we consume,” said Valenzuela.
“I think we should maintain a healthy routine. It’s crucial to engage in daily physical activities for at least 30 minutes at least 5 times a week. It can be something as simple as walking our pets. Also, we must get a good night’s sleep. With the holidays, a lot of the time we stay up at night and don’t give our bodies enough time to regain energy,” said Hernández.
Another recommendation, much like watching what you eat, is to not consume excess alcohol and be sure to stay hydrated.
Watch the latest “Cafecito” where we discussed the topic ‘How to Manage Stress During the Holiday Season’.
It’s Good to Know…
We invite you to follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional ways to safely celebrate the holidays.
Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest option during this year’s holiday season. If you will be receiving guests in your home, be sure people take these safety precautions including:
- Organize a small, outdoor gathering
- Limit the number of guests
- Clean and disinfect surfaces most frequently touched
- Provide masks for guest and social distance
Published in Prensa Arizona, 12/17/2020