How American Families Are Navigating the Holidays Amidst COVID-19

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic first started to change things in March of 2020, it continued to change the way almost everyone in the country handled their spring, summer, and fall. Vacations were canceled. Thousands of people began working remotely. Yelp data has shown that 80,000 small businesses closed between March and July. 

If you’re one of those people who have started to work remotely or you’re starting a new home business, having your own office space with positive, productive, energy can help to alleviate stress and give you a safe space if tensions are high in your household. 

Many states across the country have started to re-open in some capacity. However, many still require social distancing and have mask mandates in place. Social gatherings are required to have limited numbers, and major events are still being canceled in an effort to keep people safe. 

With the holidays coming up, many Americans are wondering how things might look this year. Will we see typical crowds of eager shoppers lining up at stores for Black Friday deals? Will people be traveling across the country to spend time with friends and family for holiday get-togethers? What is the protocol for connecting with the people you love? 

In an effort to further look at how American families are navigating the holidays, there are a few questions we should focus on answering. First, what should you do to stay connected to your loved ones while keeping everyone safe? 

Second, will there be implications that follow? We can look at other large events or gatherings to determine some of the effects on healthcare and positive case numbers. Lastly, it’s important to look at the political side of COVID-19, as so much can change in that environment between now and the holiday season. 

Is It Safe to Stay With Family? 

It might be hard to fathom not being with your family this holiday season. But, it’s important to consider the health and wellbeing of everyone. Some adults are more at risk than others of contracting the disease. Those with the following conditions are highly susceptible, according to the CDC

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Smoking
  • Type II diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease

Those with a compromised immune system, for any reason, are also at a greater risk. What’s more, seniors have been found to have a harder time fighting off the virus, which makes it crucial for them to reduce their risk of contracting it as much as possible. 

The goal, at the onset of this virus, was to “flatten the curve.” But, as a country, it’s difficult to say if we have done that or not. At the writing of this article, the U.S. is still seeing thousands of new cases every day. Of course, that doesn’t mean each case is fatal. Many of those cases don’t even require hospitalization. But, the spread to those who are most vulnerable is what makes those numbers so problematic. If you are a healthy young adult who contracts the virus, you may not experience any severe symptoms. 

But, a holiday get-together with your grandmother could expose her and have grave consequences. More doctors and nurses are needed throughout the country than ever, so much so that even medical students are stepping in to help with the efforts. 

Healthcare professionals are being overworked, not getting enough rest, and are already facing severe mental health complications from dealing with this virus. So, while it may feel safe to get together with your family, understand that in doing so you are putting many people at risk, including the doctors who are supposed to help. 

The Political Environment of COVID-19

Because this is an election year, tensions are already high. You may not have the same political views as some members of your family. This can make getting together for the holidays even more of a stressful event. Some people are very quick to blame everyone from Barack Obama to Donald Trump to the Chinese for COVID-19. In reality, its origin could be the result of something like climate change or another environmental factor we aren’t yet aware of. 

Throughout this election season, both sides of the aisle have made claims about COVID. Donald Trump has been criticized for not taking the virus seriously enough, while those on the left have been criticized for trying to push a vaccine too quickly. One side seems to want to throw out mask mandates while the other wants to enforce them. Some pushed for schools to open this fall while others wanted them to stay closed and offer virtual learning. 

What does that mean for the holidays? Whether you’re able to get together in person or virtually, it may be best to avoid political talk this year. Keep the following in mind: 

  • Pick your battles
  • Avoid triggers
  • Allow someone to express themselves without making it political

While political talk is here to stay, the election will be over by the time the holiday season hits. There is no point in arguing over things like politics during an already stressful time. 

How to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Innovation has become a necessity during this pandemic, and the holiday season will be no different. One of the best things you can do to keep everyone safe while still staying connected is to set up family conference calls. Choosing a date and time for the call on Zoom or Skype will ensure everyone logs on at the same time and you can all see each other at once. This is probably the closest way to feel as though you’re together in person since you all can actively engage in conversation while seeing one another. 

You might be feeling a bit down about the idea of changing your holiday traditions this year. Why not continue those traditions on your own, even if you don’t have your family around? The comfort of that routine can help to reduce stress and make you feel better about the season. 

Staying healthy over the holidays this year likely means staying apart for most extended families. However, you can still find creative ways to stay connected. Keep in mind that by taking these precautions this year, your family members can stay healthy and safe, helping to ensure that you will indeed have many more holiday celebrations together for years to come.

Image Source: Pexels

Leave a Reply

x

*required

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.