As winter approaches and many of us are facing unprecedented levels of COVID-19 in our communities, how can we stay safe AND stay sane over the next few months?

Mental Health Socializing Staying Safe

A: The reality is that despite cooling temperatures outside we all need to be thinking about how to reduce the time we spend indoors with those not in our household. The good news is this won’t last forever and we know what steps to take.

Indeed, re-upping the strategies we know work to stop the spread of COVID-19 has probably never been more important and at the same time the prospects for getting to the other side of this pandemic have also probably never been so bright.

Some key strategies that we can hang our hat on for the next few months while we wait for the return of warmer weather, availability of one or more vaccines and other potential advancements in testing technology and/or treatment for COVID-19 are to:

1. Think now about how you might prolong you and your family’s ability to spend time outdoors during cooler temperatures. Can you and some neighbors go in on an outdoor space heater that you can rotate use of? Is it time to invest in some heavy duty boots so you can go hiking in the snow? Should a pair of cross-country skis be on your wish list?

2. Consider now where you can cut-down on time spent in indoor settings. Even though some of us may be working outside the home or have children in school or childcare, limiting time spent indoors outside of these settings can still help reduce risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Can you do curbside pick-up instead of in-store shopping? Can you get take-out instead of dining-in? Can you work out from home instead of the gym? Can you dye your hair at home instead of in the salon?

3. Decide now if you want to try to form a social bubble or pod with one other household (aka a group of people that you will interact with exclusively while eliminating or reducing all other close contacts outside that group) as a means for added social support. If you’ve been part of a bubble or pod, this is also a pivotal time to get realistic about how big your bubble actually is, shrink it before it bursts, and recommit to your group’s ground rules. See links below for past posts on forming bubbles and pods.

4. Brainstorm now about how you will stay connected to friends and family with whom you can’t safely get together over the next few months. By now many of us would gladly never participate in a zoom call ever again-fair enough. What are other ways we can share moments and build memories with loved ones during the next few months? Holiday cookie exchange by mail? Family Tiktok contest? Virtual book club?

As so eloquently stated by Nerdy Girl in spirit, Dr. Zenep Tufekci in the article linked below, “Time passes quickly if we can count the days until the end.” We aren’t to the end yet, but it is more in sight than it has been up until now.

#StaySMART and hang in there…the Nerdy Girls will be here every step of the way.

For our two most recent posts on forming a bubble or pod see here AND here.

Article by Dr. Tufekci on hunkering down over the winter

Another piece on pandemic survival over the next few months

Link to original FB post