Family Health Holidays

A Covid Christmas

We had a feeling this Christmas was going to be different, but we all were hoping for a better outcome. Things will be better soon, but in the meantime, with one of the most celebrated holidays we have to think outside of the box when it comes to our safety and gatherings.

As we so desperately want to spend the holidays with our family and friends, Which I get, we have to remain mindful about not only our health, but the health of our children, parents, and extended families. Not everyone has underlying conditions, but that still does not mean that they are safe from this virus and cannot suffer tremendously if contracted.

There are some ways to prioritize your safety and well being during this holiday season. Here, I am going to help you figure out how to accomplish this, if you cannot absolutely go without being around others.

3 Ways to Set the Tone During a Covid Christmas

1. Communicate clear boundaries
Remind your guests that they are welcome, but things will be different this time around. Now, I know not everyone accepts CDC guidelines and what-not, but you as a human should want to make a difference in people’s lives in a non-selfish, positive way. This means, masks aren’t a bad idea. I would also suggest making them wash their hands as they come into your house. This should be a part of good hygiene, anyway, especially during flu season. Staying 6 ft. from one another is another wise choice to make. Shoe covers are another barrier against inviting covid inside your house into your rooms/kitchen/ restrooms/ etc., that you will eventually step on and spread onto your bed. And NO SHARING DRINKS. You are probably looking forward to taking shots with your company, but I highly doubt you will be keeping track of who’s shot glass belongs to who and if you’re taking shots, chances are you won’t think clearly and could care less. That is up until you begin feeling symptoms a few days later…. One important thing to remember, after everyone leaves, sanitize every part of your house. Doorknobs, light fixtures, restrooms, sinks, toilets, floors, couches, tables, chairs…. basically – EVERYTHING.

2. Set the standards
Not only do you all have to think about yourselves, but also about the other guests that will be around everyone else as well. There is no telling who they can possibly come in contact with for the next 14 days after leaving your house and who’s body cannot fight a virus such as covid. Let’s keep an open mind and remember those who have a weak immunity and even those who don’t know that they do actually have an underlying condition. This applies to you as well. Safety begins with you and your household rules. Right now, your choices may affect someone’s life, even someone who you don’t personally know. Be responsible and caring.

3. Skip gifts and enjoy the time instead
This couldn’t be a better idea for many reasons. This year has been hard on a lot of people, not only in a health perspective, but financial situations have been shaken. Some have to save their every penny they can as jobs aren’t as secure as before. Jobs that are open today may shut down tomorrow. Layoff’s may be a companies only resort to stay afloat. Not to mention, exchanging gifts may also include exchanging covid. Skip gifts this year and instead focus on the guests that are able to attend and cherish making those memories. As we may have figured out, this year was the year of being grateful for those we do have in our lives and appreciate the moments spent in togetherness.

Remembering Those Who Choose To Stay Home

Christmas is a time to be with those you appreciate and love the most. Though, this may not be an option for many that does not mean they cannot be a part of the memories. Visit virtually with those who cannot join you during this time. Set time aside to make phone calls to them and send them Merry Blessings.

Stay safe. Protect yourself and the little ones who depend on you to protect them. Keep the peace. Laugh, Love, Make memories, and maintain a safe distance from everyone else. Merry Christmas and may this be the last Christmas that’s been pandemic-tized!

Covid Parenting

Finding Safe Childcare During COVID-19

Covid-19 has challenged so many aspects of our lives. We have lost time with our closest relatives and friends along with jobs that gave us financial freedom and stability. Things have certainly changed and a new normal has emerged from all of this. As we know, life has to continue on, but with extra precautions than before.

It is already difficult for a mother to return to work on a regular basis now add a life threatening pandemic on top of that. Not, only do we have to consider who is responsible enough to care for our child(ren) while we are away, but also what are their activities when they are not working for us?

I chose to write on this topic, because I, like many other parents, am currently having to deal with making this important decision in the coming days. I will be returning to work soon and need to find someone whom I feel is safe enough to come into my home and be in close contact with my son on a daily basis.

Before 2020’s epidemic became a nightmare to our country, I was already picky when it came to finding the perfect sitter for my toddler. I worried about how he was treated, if he was comfortable, if he ate well. You know, typical parental worries. Now, though, I cannot help but worry about what the potential candidate is doing while not at work. Is she/he hanging around in big crowds? Is he/she wearing masks or wandering carelessly out in public? This certainly has brought on a new type of anxiety for parents, including myself.

I have put together a compilation of things you should think about before interviewing your next potential sitter for your child(ren) and some questions that could help in your decision making.

Before the Interview

It is important to be prepared before having someone come into your house, yours and your family’s safe zone. Where has this stranger that you are inviting into your home been prior to being here?

First thing First:
Shoe covers: Shoe covers will help protect you from any thing the candidate may be carrying on the bottom of their shoes. I should have been doing this long before covid, but of course didn’t think of it until after. People go into public restrooms, step into public parking lots where others spit, vomit, and some even urinate on. So, yes shoe covers are a great idea.

Masks: Nothing different or out of the ordinary with this one. Masks are important and necessary to keep them from spreading their germs while they speak, laugh, and breathe.

Social Distance: When I am interviewing someone I usually like to shake their hands, but of course with covid being a part of the world for now, that won’t be an option. Stay 6-8 feet apart when interviewing the individual. If the day is good, then interview outside. You don’t know if this person or the next, for that matter, is going to be the perfect fit for your child and there is no need to have different individuals coming in and out of your house. Unless you know for sure you are wanting to give this candidate a shot, then you can invite them and show them around.

Be Prepared: And lastly, the obvious- have your interview questions and expectations in hand. You don’t waste time thinking about details you may have left out or want to know about them. As mentioned earlier, these questions have to be a little different than before due to how times have changed rather quickly.

Interview Questions

  1. How are you trying to reduce the risk of contracting covid?

2. Do you use masks and gloves when you leave the house?

3. Do you still gather with family and friends?

4. Do you have siblings or anyone in the household who physically go to school or go to work? If so, how are you all being careful there?

5. Do you visit relatives? If so, do you all wear masks while in their presence?

6. Have any of you had covid in the past?

7. Have you been around anyone who has recently had covid?

8. Do the people you live with practice social distancing?

9. Are you okay with wearing a mask while interacting with the child(ren)?

10. Are you okay with checking your temperature every morning?

11. Are you okay wearing a face shield in addition to the mask?

12. Do you have the flu shot?

13. Will you help with disinfecting frequently while working?

Being Safe is #1 Priority

Not only do these questions give you information for your protection, but for theirs as well. They are probably just as nervous as you are, to come into another’s home during this time. Some questions may be a little personal, but if this has to do with your family’s health, then you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to ask the questions necessary to make sure you are making the right choice. This may be a little extreme in other people’s eyes and that is okay.

Your family’s health should always be your number one concern and you shouldn’t have to walk on egg shells on that matter. We shouldn’t look for perfection, but for safety as much as possible during these trying times. If you are as cautious as I am, but still need to go to work, these are some questions you might want to consider when interviewing your child’s next potential nanny. Wouldn’t you rather have a hard conversation and ask hard questions than to assume, be wrong and contaminate those you love, possibly causing permanent damage to their health or even worse, death?


Anxiety and COVID

I have become so homesick while being at home. It’s like everything I’ve ever known about life and living is changing right before my eyes and I don’t know what to do with it. As a child, I always went to my mom to feel better, to feel safe. She was what helped me in times of uncertainty as any mother would for her child. But who do I run to now? I’m a grown woman who has to figure this out and be strong. I cannot be around my elderly parents during this time of crisis, for their own health is at stake. And to be around my siblings is just as bad. I, too, am a mother and I know my own child is clinging onto me for support and consistency. But what do you do when that consistency your child is longing for is no longer possible?

Weekends were always a good time. Holidays were a sure thing to be spent with family and friends. Birthdays were celebrated with those we loved. Work was a safe place. And on other days just hanging out with friends and going shopping or to the movies was never a bad idea. The world as we know it has been changed and it’s something that is hard for all of us to wrap our heads around. For some, it is even harder for our minds to accept. Dealing with anxiety, change is already a challenge. Add chaos to the world and not seeing your family, now that’s just a disastrous feeling.

Millions of people may be experiencing mental instability right now with this virus hovering over the world. It is especially wearisome for those whose family are battling the virus and maybe even themselves. The stress is overwhelming and the unpredictability of our tomorrow only intensifies this feeling of uneasiness and discomfort. As much as we would love to be in control, we must remember that we simply can’t. The only thing we can do is remind ourselves that right now we are breathing. Right now we are alive and we will make it out of this.

Finding Ourselves Amidst COVID
We have to try to live life in such a way that doesn’t remind us of our everyday struggle with the virus. I am not saying don’t wear your mask and go out into crowds and visit people! No,no,no don’t be doing all of that, WE ARE TRYING TO FLATTEN THE CURVE, PEOPLE. Stay at home and do things that will help keep your mind off of the craziness. Wake up in the morning, make your bed (a made up bed gives such a serene feeling) and drink your water and coffee. If you never were one to work out, start! Do a few jumping jacks, a couple push ups, some high knees and maybe a couple squats. Take your bath while listening to some crunk music that really gets you motivated and moving. Dress to impress, yes even if you aren’t going anywhere…. You better do your make-up, do your hair and put that “feel good” outfit on. If you look good, you will feel good even if its just a little bit. Anything counts when dealing with anxiety. I’ve done it for years and this works most times. Open up your blinds and doors to let that beautiful sunshine beam into your home. The brighter your space, the better you feel. Sit down and scribble out what you would like to accomplish today whether its clearing out that closet, re-arranging your spice cabinet, or just jotting down what you need to make it a relaxing day for yourself. Whatever you do, avoid the news. That just causes more anxiety. Figure out what you are going to cook and do it with some music on whether its gospel or rap, just anything that gets those hips moving and back to your happy place. Dance while spicing up those ribs! Once the sun goes down a bit go outside for some fresh air. Even if it’s to sit on your porch steps, just take some deep breaths and find yourself back in peace. Water your plants and grass. Go for a little walk around the block. After a day of keeping your head as clear as can be there is no better way of bringing it to an end, but with a steaming hot shower and some calming music to heal the soul. Massage your scalp as you shampoo and condition, massage your neck, shoulders, and feet as you soap up.

The Reality of this Disorder
I know that anxiety is hard to deal with. I, myself, have dealt with it for years and still continue to struggle with it almost everyday. There is no way to make this awful, gut-wrenching feeling go away completely, but the above could help. Even if it is just for a day, it helps. I know our heads seem to want to explode with emotions and thoughts. Anyone can say, “Try this, it helps” and it won’t mean a thing, but it is really up to us, ourselves to make us feel okay. There are days I find myself lost and all I can do is pray and pray, all day. That is what helps me. It may not help 100% of the time and when it doesn’t I have to figure out another way to crawl out of that black hole that anxiety tends to pull us into. Do not do things that will drown you further. As bad as you want to dwell in your bed and let it sink you in, get up. As bad as you want to curl up on the floor and cry all day, do it for a few minutes, instead. Though you may not have an appetite, food will help, try one bite. Your headache won’t go away and you don’t want to move, take an Advil or Tylenol and lay on your couch and watch some Netflix (nothing depressing, please!). There are things we can do to help ourselves, nothing is too small or too big to help manage our mindsets. You are not alone, we are all in this together even though it seems as though everyone you know and love is 100 miles away from you.

If you have not dealt with anxiety before in your life and have not been feeling like yourself, perhaps you are feeling off and just out of focus, then you may be experiencing some form of anxiety.

Here are the list of common symptoms that you or someone you know may be experiencing with anxiety:
• Nervousness
• Feeling of being in danger
• Feeling of uneasiness
• Palpitations
• Rapid breathing or hyperventilating
• Chest pain or tightness
• Sudden sweating
• Trembling or twitching
• Feeling weak or faint
• Unable to focus or think clearly about anything other than the problem
• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Feeling of losing control
• Feeling like you are going crazy

If you cannot control this on your own that is okay. It is always okay to not be okay. Consult with your doctor if you feel like this is out of your hands and you can’t find your way out. Never be scared or ashamed to ask for help.