Celebrating Holidays Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

'Tis the season for holiday planning. Yet, gatherings of families and friends, crowded parties and travel may put Americans at an increased risk for COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you carefully consider the spread risk of in-person holiday celebrations.

Several factors contribute to COVID-19 spreading in group settings. These include community spread of the coronavirus, event location, event duration, quantity of attendees, and the locations where attendees are coming from. It’s also important to consider attendees’ behavior both prior to the gathering and during the celebration.

Before a Gathering

If you choose to attend an in-person event, consider the following tips prior to the gathering:

  • Check whether the host has steps in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
  • Bring along supplies like extra masks, tissues, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid contact with people outside of your household for 14 days before the gathering

Also, it’s important to stay home if you do not feel well or are at a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

During a Gathering

Consider the following tips from the CDC to reduce your risk of being exposed to, contracting or spreading COVID-19 during an in-person event:

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with—and be mindful in areas where it may be harder to do so, such as restrooms and eating areas.
  • Wear a mask at all times when around people who don’t live in your household.
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you want to celebrate the holidays as safely as possible this year, consider celebrating virtually or with members of your own household.

COVID Stress and the Holidays – Tapping into Resilience and Adapting to Crisis

By: Marianne Smith, NJMEBF Health and Wellness Consultant

Let’s face it…it’s not going to be a “normal” holiday season – so here are a few tips to try and navigate a COVID holiday season and relatively cloistered winter ahead:

  1. Be intentional to take care of yourself
  2. Create space to reflect
  3. Find purpose in what you do each day
  4. Step outside of your comfort zone – some traditions may need to be adapted to be safe – its ok
  5. Allow yourself to feel – being emotionally expressive can be freeing when stress is heavy – let it go
  6. Be a good listener – the gift of listening with empathy is priceless
  7. Be supportive – avoid harsh criticism of yourself, others and your situation – we all need a hug, even if it is imaginary or virtual
  8. Identify something in your life that is consistent, and be grateful for it – we are all feeling like we are out of control – what is within your control?
  9. embrace it and build on it
  10. Self-replenish your soul – what fills your tank? Music, a hobby, reading, sports, outdoors, a chat (even a virtual one) with a loved one? Make a point to give yourself the gift of time
  11. Stay connected – be aware of your mental and emotional balance and that of those you love
  12. Keep your expectations in line with reality – being realistic, aware, calm and grateful for what you do have – it may be the best gift that we give ourselves and others this very odd holiday season 2020

For more information check out our webinar at:

Are You Getting Enough Water?

To prevent dehydration, you need to consume adequate amounts of fluid. Dehydration can increase your risk of illnesses and cause health problems, such as fatigue and muscle weakness. According to new guidelines, men should get about 3.7 liters (15 ½ cups) of fluids each day, and women need about 7 liters (11 ½ cups). Remember that the water content of the foods you eat counts as well.

You need to get enough water for your body to operate at its best. Make water your beverage of choice, and consider these simple tips to help achieve your daily water intake:

  • Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
  • Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you for easy access during the day.
  • Choose sparkling water instead of alcoholic drinks or soft drinks.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice*

An introduction to our NJMEBF Health and Wellness Consultant 

As 2021 nears, we are finally starting to see glimmers of a hopeful post-COVID world. In keeping with the theme of progress and innovation, 2021 will mark a new beginning for the NJMEBF’s Health and Wellness Program. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Marianne Smith and I am a life coach specializing in the field of health and wellness and I was recently appointed as the Fund’s Health and Wellness Consultant. I, and our firm, Civitas New Jersey, bring an interesting basket of experience, knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion for helping people improve their lives and health through awareness, action and understanding.

Having retired from a multi-decade career in local government service, I understand the unique environments and structures within which public servants work. Having had led a community whose employees were insured by the NJMEBF for many years, I have a strong understanding of the

Fund’s values and objectives.

I am excited about bringing my experience, enthusiasm and energy to assist the Fund in furthering their vision. I look forward to helping to enhance the health and wellness initiative, motivating even higher levels of participation and working together with member agencies to further energize the program and bring new and exciting opportunities to

the Program’s membership. Stay safe and well through the holidays –see you in 2021😊

Dave Vozza is ready to work with you and help you navigate the program.
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