DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Wellness Wednesday: Staying well this holiday season

Wellness Wednesday: Staying safe and well this holiday season

Wellness Wednesday

With the end of fall quarter in sight and the holidays right around the corner, DePaul students, faculty and staff are turning their thoughts towards the upcoming holidays, their favorite foods and family traditions.

​However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the holidays may look different. While this may be upsetting, there are ways to still have a great holiday season. Here are a few ways to stay well:

  • As outlined on Nov. 17 by Illinois Governor Pritzker, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 you must limit indoor holiday celebrations to the people in your immediate household and outside venues may not host gatherings.

  • Chicago residents should only leave their homes to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as medical care, grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy or picking up take-out food. 
  • If you do plan to travel and meet up with others, do so safely. Be sure to visit Chicago's Emergency Travel Order website if you live in Chicago, or your state and county's public health websites for more information on potential steps you will need to take prior to, during and after your travel.  

Furthermore, seriously consider all the following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines to ensure a safe in-person event:  

    • Face coverings: Wear a face covering with two or more layers over your nose and mouth and under your chin at all times during the gathering, except when you're eating and drinking.
    • Physical distance: Stay at least 6-feet away, or about two arm lengths, from others who don't live with you, even while you're eating your holiday meal.
    • Wash your hands often: Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
    • Stay out of the kitchen: Avoid areas where food is being prepared or handled.
    • Single-use options: Consider bringing your own cups, plates and utensils, and use single-serve options like condiment packets and salad dressings. Also avoid serving and eating shareable foods like chips and dip, veggie trays, and charcuterie boards.
    • Keep the windows open: Even though November and December can be cold, if you are having an indoor event consider opening the windows and doors. It will help increase air circulation.
  • If possible, find new ways to connect with others. A silver lining of this time is it allows us to come up with new and creative ways to connect with others. This could be sending cards to your friends and family to tell them why you are thankful for them on Thanksgiving or having a virtual celebration over Zoom for New Year's Eve.

  • Look for joy and excitement in the little things. Maybe you are going to try a new Christmas cookie recipe. Perhaps you are excited to see holiday lights and decorations around your neighborhood. Looking for joy in the little things can help you focus on what is going well, as opposed to focusing on what may not be. It is okay to feel however you are feeling about the changes that come along with celebrating holidays during a pandemic, showing gratitude for the little things may help cope with these feelings and boost your mood.

  • Create boundaries to protect yourself and your health. It may be uncomfortable or seem to be against “the holiday spirit," but having a conversation about COVID-19 precautions beforehand with everyone attending a gathering is critical to a safe holiday event. Establish ground rules, like those listed above, and manage guests' expectations to ensure everyone feels comfortable and safe.
  • You may also be struggling with your relationship with food and need a little help coping during food-focused holidays. If this is the case, set clear boundaries, both with yourself and others, to ensure you are protecting your health. If you need help coming up with appropriate boundaries to set speak to a friend, family member or therapist to help you brainstorm.

  • Take time for self-care. While this is supposed to be "the most wonderful time of the year," even without a pandemic it can be stressful. It is okay to take time for yourself to ensure you are able to cope and re-energize as well as possible. Be sure to schedule in time for rest and self-care activities, especially if you know you will be busy and less likely to prioritize self-care.

For even more information about how to safely celebrate the upcoming holidays, please visit the CDC website, and regularly check back on your city, county and state websites for the most up-to-date guidance and/or mandates.   

With these tips in mind, everyone in Health Promotion and Wellness hopes you have a wonderful holiday season and winter break. Be sure to take care of yourself for a successful finals week so you can push through to a nice, long break. If you need any one-on-one  help, always feel free to contact us via email  or through social media  -- @HealthyDePaul on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.