Stay safe at home, stick to your bubble, and visit virtually
A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer
'Tis the season to be … safe … and calm … and kind. As we all know, Christmas 2020 is going to be very different from years past. To keep as many of us as possible safe from COVID, all events and gatherings are suspended until at least January 8th. This includes gatherings of any size at our homes, even in our backyards or outside, with anyone other than our “core bubble," defined as our immediate household for those of us who live with others. (People who live alone are allowed a core bubble that includes the same one or two other people. Grandparents who provide regular childcare can visit their grandchildren's core bubble.)
COVID spreads through gatherings, and we are especially vulnerable during holidays, when we may be tempted to leave our core bubbles to visit others. We must resist this temptation, however, and instead stay safely at home this year.
Even though this holiday season will be different – and difficult for many – we can take comfort in the fact that the sacrifices we make now will protect us, our loved ones, and our communities. The goal is to make sure we are all here to celebrate in-person next year.
It is very important that we keep up-to-date on the latest public health orders and recommendations – and follow them. We will have to be creative and think of ways to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season despite not being able to gather in-person.
Following are some “COVID Christmas" ideas and tips:
1. Make good use of technology. Consider hosting virtual parties and religious services, unwrapping gifts over Zoom, or walking while chatting on your cell phone with people outside your bubble.
2. Help others. Prepare and drop off meals for Elders or sick people who may be alone for the holidays, while maintaining physical distancing and wearing a mask. Drop off a small bag of Christmas treats to your neighbours.
3. Christmas shop online. Avoid crowded malls! If you do go to the mall, remember that you are required to wear a mask and physically distance. Alternatively, use the curb-side pick-up option.
4. Don't overdo it! A few treats are fine, but too many holiday cocktails or treats – or too much Christmas shopping – will only feel good temporarily and cause further problems. Many people cope with stress by overindulging in not-so-healthy things, but it's best to be mindful and choose things that will make us look, feel and be better in the long run!
5. Identify positive ways of coping. These include preparing and eating nutritious foods, connecting with others in your bubble (or virtually connecting with those not in it), sleeping well, getting physical exercise, and building or creating something. Check out this handy infographic for more great ways to take care of yourself.
6. Count your gratitude moments. Even though this is a challenging time, and the 2020 holiday season may indeed be difficult, it's also an opportunity to think about what is good in our lives, and what good may have come out of this situation. For example, have we learned to appreciate the people closest to us and the small joys in life more, or have we become more resilient and better able to handle uncertainty and stress?
7. Reach out for help if you need it. If you're having a tough time, please seek help. It's not a sign of weakness to do so; it's actually a sign of courage. For comprehensive information about the resources and supports that are available to you, there's our COVID-19 supports for the seasonal holidays and/or our COVID-19 Mental health and cultural supports.