COVID and Halloween
Whether we're ready or not, the 2020 holiday season is upon us. Usually, this is a stressful time of year—except this year…we are also contending with a worldwide pandemic. During the height of the tri-state lockdown, we could have never imagined that we'd still be contending with such a formidable, contagious, devastating threat. Yet, here we are, trying our best to find a balance that reclaims some semblance of normalcy while also protecting our community and loved ones.
We're tired, frustrated, worried, and stressed out. As adults, we struggle to understand and accept our "new normal." So, what must our children be thinking and feeling? As parents, we want nothing more than to give our children back what has been stolen from them. So, with Halloween around the corner, it's tempting to want to throw your hands up in the air and say, "go, do, be, have fun."
If you're feeling this way, you're not alone—in fact, there's now a name for it. It's called "COVID Fatigue." UW Health, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's integrated health system, explains that "COVID Fatigue" is the shorthand way of talking about an overall sense of exhaustion based on the combination of challenges people are facing during the pandemic. Feelings of defeat, burn out, and even engaging in risky behaviors that can increase the coronavirus spread are symptoms of this new phenomenon (University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority, 2020).
Regardless of the fatigue we're all rightfully feeling, science tells us we have no business easing up on any COVID precautions and safety measures. As of October 29, 2020, there were 1,682 new cases in New Jersey…today. Not only are we trending in the wrong direction in the middle of fall, but we're heading into a long winter where the projected models are even grimmer. Dishearteningly, now is more important than ever to remain vigilant in order to protect our families and communities.
So, where does that leave us with upcoming holidays like Halloween? It's normal and natural for us to want to attend or host a party– partake in some fun, socialization, and tradition. It's an opportunity for both you and your children to forget the difficulties we're all facing. However, it's also an opportunity for the coronavirus to do what it does best.
Instead of getting down about what our lives have become, purposely change your perspective. When something becomes too overwhelming, it's human nature to become paralyzed by fear, ignore what's going on, or even completely rebel. However, when we break things down into bite-size pieces, a difficult situation becomes much easier to manage. Though we don't know when or how this will all come to an end, our lives will not remain this way forever. Things will go back to normal and life will resume as we once knew it.
In conclusion, no one is saying not to enjoy Halloween—holidays just need to be creatively modified for a while longer. Need some tips for ways to keep everyone safe?
The New Jersey Health Department suggests that "groups trick-or-treating should be limited to current household members, stay local, and limit the number of homes visited. Trick-or-treaters should wear a face mask: costume masks are not a substitute. If trick-or-treating with non-household members, individuals should social distance."
The guidance also provides several options for handing out treats, noting the best option is to arrange individually packaged candy to avoid having trick-or-treaters dip into a shared bowl. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable.
Hellenic Therapy Center is located at 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey. We are currently offering sessions via Zoom, FaceTime or phone. You may visit us at www.hellenictherapy.com or call us at 908-322-0112.
University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. (n.d.). Managing COVID Fatigue is Crucial to Our Health and Wellbeing During the Pandemic. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://www.uwhealth.org/news/managing-covid-fatigue-is-crucial-to-our-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-pandemic/53530