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The holiday season is a busy, joyful, and often stressful time for most of us.  In a world that is still impacted by uncertainty, the holidays we usually look forward to may not feel the same.  As this year comes to a close and a new one is around the corner, it may help to maintain a sense of balance by using a couple of these tips.

Adjust expectations.  A healthy approach to setting holiday boundaries is to identify what you need or desire most: is it connection, solitude, rest, or an opportunity to have some fun or physical activity?  Based on your priorities place boundaries around your time and energy – and then communicate those boundaries openly and honestly.  There’s no “right” way to walk through the holiday season, and a “No, thank you” is always okay.

Make decisions about the traditions you want to continue – and the ones you feel okay letting go of this year.  Traditions and rituals anchor us to a sense of order and meaning, and this is particularly true when life gets up-ended.  Scale back a bit and focus on the activities, relationships, and rituals that foster comfort and connection.

If you’re missing loved ones, take time to remember.  During holiday time, it may be good to think about how we can include missing loved ones in our celebrations in a way that does not require their physical presence.  For example, including a loved one’s favorite food on the holiday menu can honoring them in a loving way.

Ask for support.  When everyone around you is celebrating – and you just aren’t in the holiday mood, or you are afraid the holidays will trigger bigger challenges. This is actually the perfect time to make use of resources like

Take care of your body so your body can support your needs.  Minds and bodies that are rested, nourished, and moving are optimally situated to proceed into the new year with energy and balance.  Make sure you are prioritizing self-care and think twice before indulging when you’re HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired).​​​​​​​

5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Gatherings

The holiday season is upon us. To help ensure your time together is happy and healthy, follow these tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones.

Know before you go

Planning on gathering with multiple households? Consider taking a COVID test so you know before you go.

Take precautions

Consider wearing a mask or practicing distancing if spending time with someone who is immunocompromised or at high risk for contracting COVID.

Wash up

Maintain good hand hygiene by frequently washing with soap and warm water or using hand sanitizer.

Get vaccinated

In addition to COVID concerns, it’s also flu season. Consider getting vaccinated against both viruses this year.

Better to be safe than sorry

Though it’s hard to pass up in-person time together, when in doubt, it’s best to stay home if you’re feeling ill.