How to apply holiday family logic in the time of COVID-19

The kids are home from school, everyone’s hungry all the time, money’s tight and you’re trying to juggle the demands of work and family without letting anything fall through the cracks. Is it Christmas or quarantine?

Even though living through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not been a holiday for most people, there are some striking similarities between the past several weeks and the annual celebrations many of us observe. If you’ve been navigating family holidays successfully for a while, you’ve probably developed several strategies to help you handle an excess of family togetherness. Some of them could help you get through these challenging times as well.

If you’ve been navigating family holidays successfully for a while, you’ve probably developed several strategies to help you handle an excess of family togetherness. Some of them could help you get through these challenging times as well.

Here are five tips to turn your holiday family logic into a shelter in place strategy worth celebrating.

Remember your reasoning

The stress of the holiday season can often leave you wondering why you even bother to celebrate every year. And then you remember all the positive aspects of your yearly traditions and realize they’re worth the extra effort. Reminding yourself that sheltering in place is one of the best ways to protect your family and your community can make it easier to stay home. If you can keep a clear sense of purpose about why you’re doing what you’re doing it makes it easier to keep on doing it until it’s safe to stop.

Adapt your space

Whether it’s moving the kids into one room so Grandma and Grandpa can stay for a long Thanksgiving weekend or cleaning a closet to make room for hidden Christmas gifts, rearranging your home temporarily to better accommodate your current needs can be a regular part of holiday prep.

Set up zones that give everyone their own space for school work, office work, physical activity or just a place to chill out and decompress. 

You can do the same while self-quarantining. Set up zones that give everyone their own space for school work, office work, physical activity or just a place to chill out and decompress. The designated spaces don’t need to be large or elaborately outfitted to be functional. A corner of the living room can be an ad hoc classroom. Your bedroom may double as your office for a while. If you can involve everyone in the rearrangement plans, each member will feel heard and ultimately more comfortable with their designated space.

Maintain a routine

Everyone knows Santa can’t visit until everyone’s asleep for the night so it’s important to maintain a bedtime routine even when you’re too excited to rest. The same holds true of sheltering in place. Even though your regular routine has been thrown out of whack, you can still have some structure to your day. Set up a realistic schedule that combats the chaos with times set aside for important activities like work time, school time, screen time, exercise and free time. Maintaining your normal sleep schedule can help you function better during the day, keep your mood stable and boost your immunity during a time when staying healthy is important. 

Keep moving

Although it might be tempting to binge-watch the entire lineup of Hallmark Christmas movies—either now or during the actual holiday—large amounts of screen time combined with hours of inactivity can make you cranky, bored and irritable. Set aside time to be physically active each day even if it’s just doing jumping jacks in the hallway or a short socially distanced walk. It’ll help reduce your stress and give you a jolt of endorphins to improve your mood.

Schedule downtime

No matter what time of year it is, taking the time to rest and rejuvenate is always a good idea. Set up a family spa day. Have an in-home movie night. Take a nap. Give each family member the freedom to take scheduled “me” time for some peace and quiet.

After spending years honing your holiday survival skills, you’re well prepared to take advantage of all you’ve learned. If you can make it through a long Thanksgiving weekend, you can make it through self-quarantine.

How are you handling your family togetherness during #COVID-19? We’d love to hear your strategies and success stories @Providence on Twitter.

Get relevant, up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) from Providence

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Find a doctor

If you feel unwell and would like to consult your doctor, consider using telemedicine options. Providence Express Care Virtual connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow-up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory or search for one in your area.

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You can also learn how your state’s department of public health is responding to the situation:

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Related resources

Advice on how to talk to kids about coronavirus

Quarantined at home: How to cope with mental health challenges

Easy and creative workouts you can do at home

Embrace working from home as an opportunity

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

 

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