This post is sponsored by Olmsted County Public Health Services
published as part of Think Ahead Olmsted
Everyone has responded differently to COVID-19, and the balance of mitigating risk and maintaining social ties. I would consider my family’s level to be medium. We believe the science and research about COVID is factual and we realize that we could easily get the virus, so we take the necessary precautions to stay safe, while trying to be realistic. For us, worrying too much will do nothing but mess with our mental health. At times I struggle with overthinking, so I’m thankful for my husband’s go-with-the-flow attitude to keep me grounded. Stay-safe-at-home guidelines don’t bother us too much; we’re introverted homebodies. However, now that the holidays are approaching, we’ve had to make and break some plans.
A few months ago we reserved a hotel room in Iowa for Thanksgiving on my husband’s side. Thanks to a worldwide pandemic, we got a great deal and I was really excited because we don’t see that side of the family very often. However, the number of positive cases began rising, and it was happening quickly. As more people we knew were getting exposed and infected, I was becoming more and more uneasy about our plans. After a few days of thinking, we decided to cancel the trip. His family was really understanding. About a week after we made our decision, they called the get-together off for everyone. Instead, we’re planning on spending the holiday at my mom’s house, and we’ll stop by to see my mother-in-law too. Since May, we’ve been seeing both of them a few times a month.
My friends are like family, so we’ve hung out several times since the pandemic began. I will admit we haven’t always worn masks or done our best at social distancing, but luckily we’ve all remained healthy. We had planned to attend what would have been our 10th annual Friendsgiving the weekend after Thanksgiving. This time, we were all planning on masking and making it a short party. But again, as the positive cases started to rise and as more local schools moved to distance-learning, the hosts decided to cancel. All of our friends have been really understanding and agreed it was for the best. I guess we’ll have to get together via Zoom this year!
We usually celebrate Christmas with my extended family. And while we haven’t talked much about what the plans are for that yet, I’m assuming they’ll be canceled too. My mom follows safety precautions so she can go to see my 94-year-old grandma, even though when my grandma sees her in a mask she says “Take that thing off!” This pandemic has been so hard on those that are high-risk and the elderly. We’ve sent pictures and drawings to my grandma so she knows we’re thinking about her. There’s been a few babies born into our family this year too. Those families have been keeping their interactions between their immediate family only. Though I will miss seeing them this holiday season, I certainly understand. We’re being realistic. We know that this won’t be forever. We’re thankful for everyone’s health and for now, we’ll use technology to connect.
For our family, the holidays aren’t worth the risk of contracting or spreading the virus if we are unknowingly infected. There’s plenty of time for us to celebrate and be together when things are under control. I know that many families have strong traditions and are struggling. For my family, it’s helpful to remember that by simply adjusting or canceling plans, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 – and perhaps even save someone’s life.