COVIDsafe Xmas picnic image

It’s Christmas time again. Time for holidays and long-awaited catch-ups with family and friends. It’s been a tough year, and we’ve all worked hard to get to a place where we can see each other again. Here are a few tips on how to have a safe and happy festive season.

Shopping safely

Many of us will be making a trek to the shops for Christmas gifts and supplies. Here’s how to do it the COVIDSafe way.

Plan ahead

Reduce extra stops and limit your time at the shops by knowing where you’re going and checking whether items are in stock before you go.

Consider helping any vulnerable people you know by doing their holiday shopping when you do yours, or ordering for them.

Plan to grab food as takeaway rather than sitting in the food court.

Don’t forget your mask, sanitiser and keep your distance

Try to keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and people you don’t live with. Physical distancing won’t always be possible, so it is important to wear a face mask when shopping unless you have a valid exemption.

Remember to sanitise the handle of your trolley or basket before you shop and avoid touching high-touch surfaces like doors and rails. Sanitise your hands regularly.

Encourage your kids to stand 1.5 metres from other people and to avoid touching glass windows, display glass or store decorations.

Foot taps and elbow bumps

It’s important to remember that one of our weapons against coronavirus (COVID-19) is maintaining physical distance.

Substitute foot taps or elbow bumps when greeting and farewelling. Tell your loved ones how much you missed them, or say it with a card.

COVIDSafe hosting

Here’s how to be a COVIDSafe host.

Handwashing

The effectiveness of good handwashing in protecting yourself and your loved ones is hard to overstate. Hands are one of the most common ways we pick up and spread viruses and infections, including COVID-19.

Remember to use warm water and soap, and wash for at least 20 seconds. Consider providing single-use hand towels.

Clean high-touch surfaces regularly

Wipe down and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like door handles, bench tops and tables, taps, light switches and bathroom surfaces.

Ventilation is key

Increasing ventilation is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your party from COVID-19. When we’re out in the open, the concentration of potential viruses is drastically reduced, meaning that the chance of transmission is lower. Open windows and doors where you can or consider shifting the celebration outside, just don’t forget to be SunSmart.

Set up a sanitation station

Set up a sanitation station near your front door with hand sanitiser, disinfectant and cloth or wipes to clean phones, keys and wallets, and a container for used face masks. Have some disposable ones on hand.

Making a list (and checking it twice)

Santa doesn’t have the monopoly on lists. This year it is a good idea for us all to have one so we can help with contact tracing efforts if needed. Keep a list of who you’ve seen and where you’ve been.

Stay home if you are sick

Nothing is more important than this. We’ve all learnt this year just how fast illnesses spread when an infected person leaves home and goes to work, out in public, or to a family gathering.

Please think about the safety of your friends and family before you leave the house with any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms including fever, chills, sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, a runny nose or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.

Got symptoms? Get tested and join in virtually from home instead.

Everything in moderation

It may be the season to be jolly, but too much alcohol is harmful. Drink driving is a real danger and is illegal. Try to eat and drink in moderation.

Other tips for maintaining good health through the festive season include:

  • Get enough sleep – plan for as many early nights as you can.
  • Keep moving – keeping up your regular exercise routine can help you make it through the demands of the festive season.
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water every day, and when drinking alcohol, have a glass of water between drinks.
  • Remember the SunSmart mantra – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

Looking after yourself and your relationships

Stress and anxiety are common during the festive season, and 2020 will be no different, but there are things you can do to reduce stress:

  • Set your expectations realistically. If certain family members bicker all year long, they will probably do so at Christmas too.
  • Avoid known triggers. For example, if a sensitive topic comes up in conversation, do what you can to quickly move on to something else to talk about.
  • Family members involved in after-lunch activities (such as cricket on the back lawn) are less likely to get into arguments. Plan for something to do as a group after lunch if necessary.
  • 2020 has been tough. If you’re feeling down or have lost interest in your usual activities and have felt this way for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing depression. If you continue to feel this way – seek support. Depression is treatable, and the sooner you seek help the sooner you will start to feel better. Make an appointment with your GP or contact a mental health support service.

More information:

A group of red apples

BHC Team

BHC Team

Just like you, we live all things health. We're lucky enough it's also part of our work. Join us each week as we share ideas and new ways to enjoy even better health.