Your 2020 Holiday Survival Guide for More Joy, Less Stress, During a Pandemic

Photo of a young woman wearing a scarf and gloves and enjoying the holiday lights

If you’re like most people, you’re both excited and frightened about the holidays this year. On the one hand, you can’t wait to get together with friends and relatives that you probably haven’t seen in over six months. On the other hand, how exactly do we DO Thanksgiving and Christmas during a global pandemic? Here are a few tips to help put your mind at ease.

Hosting Family Gatherings

Establish health and safety rules ahead of time. Smaller, more intimate family gatherings will be the new normal this holiday season, but if you’re hosting “outside” friends and relatives inside your home, you’ve got a few decisions to make.

To reduce stress around entertaining guests this year, establish some house rules up front — and make sure all potential visitors agree to abide by them. A recent Travelocity article shared a short list of questions that holiday hosts will need to ponder:

  • Is everyone going to quarantine for two weeks prior to coming together?
  • Do you expect everyone to get tested before they arrive at your house?
  • Will guests wear masks while they’re not eating?
  • What other rules do you need everyone to follow to feel comfortable?

Go virtual. With services like Facebook Messenger Room, Zoom and Google Meet, it’s entirely possible to skip all the stress associated with cooking and entertaining, and simply host your holiday gathering online this year. Instead of focusing purely on the traditional family dinner, the savvy 2020 holiday host will offer interactive games like online holiday bingo, a timed virtual scavenger hunt, cheery holiday music, and Christmas trivia questions.

Illustration showing an online holiday bingo board

Entertain your guests outdoors. The CDC has reported that gatherings are safer when held outdoors.

Depending on what part of the country you live in — and the weather, of course — consider hosting your holiday get-together in the backyard or on a large deck outside. Yes, guests will still need to come indoors to visit the restroom, but you’ll be able to relax and breathe a bit easier knowing that you’re doing everything you can to keep everyone safe.

Shopping and Gift Giving

Shop and ship early. Due to the pandemic, many families who would normally have traveled to a relative’s house for Christmas will be staying home and sending gifts by mail instead. Expect longer-than-usual shipping and delivery times from online retailers, the Post Office, FedEx and UPS this year.

Shop early and help to guarantee on-time delivery by:

  • Shipping all your gifts no later than three weeks ahead of time
  • Using the “ship to store” feature offered by many retailers, and have the gift item ready and waiting for curbside pickup at the store nearest to the gift recipient
  • Opting for digital gift cards, which can be delivered electronically, via email

Photo showing gift boxes with ribbons and bows

Be realistic about your budget. If 2020 has been tough on your finances, you’re not alone. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that half of Americans who say they lost a job due to the coronavirus outbreak were still unemployed six months later. In these uncertain times, reducing your holiday spending is probably the smart thing to do. Focus more on homemade gifts, in-home games and activities, and of course, being grateful for home, health, food and family.

Self Care

Try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is the ultimate reset button for body and mind. And during the holidays, you may need to sleep even more than usual to restore energy levels depleted by special activities and physical demands.

Be sure to carve out some “me” time. Whether it’s a yoga or tai chi class, a daily meditation routine, or a regular weekly massage at Apollo Chiropractic, having a space blocked out on your calendar that’s just for YOU can do wonders for your peace of mind.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. It’s tempting to over-indulge in alcohol or comfort foods loaded with sugar and carbs this time of year. The trouble is, once you come down off that sugar high, your mood can quickly go downhill. Try substituting healthier fruit- and nut-based treats in place of traditional cookies, pies and candy.

Photo of a cornucopia full of fruits and goards

Engage in low-impact exercise 20 to 30 minutes per day. Whether it’s walking, housework or shoveling snow, just get your body moving. Exercise not only stimulates the immune system, but also helps to stave off depression and stress.

Reduce stress by limiting screen time. Staying glued to the news or social media for hours every day often leads to increased anxiety. Try to offset screen time-induced stress by listening to calming music, reading a good fiction novel, writing in a gratitude journal, painting, or walking in nature.

Invest in high-quality, immune-boosting supplements. The stress of holiday deadlines can do a real number on our immune systems. Certain nutritional supplements can help give your immune system the extra support it needs to keep you strong and healthy.

Help out in your community. If you’re feeling sad or disheartened, helping a neighbor in need can uplift your mood, which in turn will bolster your immune system. Log onto Nextdoor.com or One Albuquerque Volunteers to find opportunities to help seniors and others in your area.

Through It All, We’re Here for You!

Since Apollo Chiropractic is classified as a New Mexico essential business, our offices will remain open and we will continue to serve Albuquerque residents with chiropractic care, deep tissue massage, and other pain relief therapies throughout the holiday season and beyond.Contact us today and let us know how we can help.