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Home for the holidays? Experts give tips for a healthy and safe holiday season

holiday health
Posted at 6:23 AM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 08:23:25-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As more holidays roll around, people are trying to get back to normal with more get togethers with friends and family. But in the midst of all the holiday cheer — whether it's the COVID-19 pandemic or butting heads with family members — the season can bring some concerns.

A psychologist from Syracuse University, Dr. Afton Kapuscinski, said in a recent paper that it's okay to feel the anxieties of the holiday season but there are ways to manage them. From deep breaths to preparing responses to potential problematic conversations, she said it's important to be present and focus on the things you can control.

Local counselor from Thriveworksin Tucson Linda O'Keefe said it even helps to take a moment for yourself and understand your triggers.

"Many times a trigger involves from something from the past," she said. "So the level that you get triggered comes from something before."

And in the moment, it's hard to not let the trigger get in the way, O'Keefe said.

"It's a old hurt from that situation but let me just be here right now but also what do I need to do right now," O'Keefe said. "Do I say I'm sorry I need to go outside and take a deep breath."

And the COVID-19 pandemic continues with a new variant on the rise. The Omicron variant is declared "a variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. And while the spreading variant isn't something we can control, O'Keefe said it helps to be on the same page with your family and do what feels best to you when it comes to family gatherings.

Pima County Health Department director Dr. Theresa Cullen said it's still important to mask up, social distance and sanitize everything whenever possible, even at the big Thanksgiving dinner.

"The three w’s wear wash wait still apply as much as you can," she said. "We haven’t focused as much on hand washing but we want to emphasize to keep washing your hands and have a bottle of hand sanitizer when you’re in crowded places.”

If you're feeling stressed out or anxious, experts say it may help to talk to someone. Here are some resources in Tucson: