With the holidays almost here, it’s important you take time to care for yourself and your loved ones. Stay healthy and happy together, and use the below resources to support yourself and your family through the holiday season.
Stay healthy with COVID-19 precautions
As we continue to persevere the ongoing pandemic, Steven Lawrence, MD, infectious disease doctor at WashU, offers some advice to keep you and your loved ones healthy this holiday season.
- Get vaccinated. The vaccine is now available to children ages 5 and older as well as adults.
- Stay home if you’re sick and get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Wear a mask when you’re indoors.
- Avoid crowds, such as buffet lines.
- Invite less people to your event and allow for social distancing.
- Plan for outdoor activities when possible, or in a space with good ventilation.
- If you plan to host or attend a holiday gather, get tested to reduce the risk of an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic person at the event.
- Many other illnesses, like the cold and flu, are also prevalent this time of year. Make sure to maintain good hygiene practices – washing your hands, disinfecting high-touch services, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze – are all good ways to reduce your risk of developing an infection. Make sure you and your family get the flu vaccine, too.
Combining multiple safety tactics can also help reduce the likelihood of transmission, especially around vulnerable populations like older adults or immunocompromised people. It’s also a good idea to be more cautious if you plan to travel or have visitors coming from areas with high levels of transmission.
WashU’s Medical School offers additional safety tips and the CDC also has recommendations to stay healthy this holiday season.
Remember, if you’re coming to campus, you must follow the on-campus public health and safety guidelines. This includes submitting a health self-screening prior to your arrival at work.
Help yourself: find a self-care practice
Keep your mental and physical health in shape this season by finding a self-care routine that you enjoy. Whether you carve time out for your favorite hobby, engage in a meditation practice or exercise, or find peace helping others, find something that brings you joy. If you need inspiration, find some self-care ideas (and why it’s so important) here.
Help the ones you love
Children: Find ways to engage kids during the holidays. Ask them to be your helper, find crafts you can do together, or read books that help them remember the importance of each holiday. The Child Mind Institute provides some additional ways you can help them thrive in the holiday routine.
Adults with Alzheimer’s: The holidays can be difficult for some who may feel sad or a sense of loss during this time of year. It can also be overwhelming for caregivers. GuidanceResources shares some tips for helping your loved ones cope and adjusting expectations. Note: you will need to login to view this article.
Back-up family care: Regular care arrangements for children and adults can often change during the holidays. Don’t forget you have access to back-up family care as a WashU employee. Learn more and register on the Family Care Hub.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP): WashU employees and family members can access our EAP program, Work-Life Solutions, for free and confidential support from trained clinicians. Employees receive five free sessions per year for one issue. Learn more, including how to be connected with a clinician, online.
Additional well-being resources, including mental health, family care and financial well-being support, can be found on the Well-being Hub.