As the holidays quickly approach, COVID-19 continues to cause chaos and delays to many people’s lives and holiday plans. The holidays not only usually bring people together across many social gatherings, but also usually lead to increased substance use. According to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, overdoses nationally jumped 18% in March of 2020. When compared to 2019, overdoses increased up to 42% per month during the pandemic. The stress and worry that COVID-19 has caused, directly increased the rate people are using substances to cope. 

Franklin County Caring Communities wants to promote a healthy and safe holiday by providing your family tips to stay healthy and free from COVID-19, as well as ideas to keep substance use in your family balanced and safe.  

How to stay safe and healthy this holiday season: 

  1. Limit large social gatherings. Instead have a Holiday party over zoom/skype/facetime etc… Pick names ahead of time and do a gift exchange by mailing gifts to each other. Then everyone can open them at the online Holiday party! 
  2. Holiday shop online! 
  3. Wear your mask and stay 6ft apart when you do need to attend any social gatherings or do holiday shopping. 
  4. Wash your hands in warm water and use hand sanitizer frequently! 
  5. Do a “Christmas Cookie Swap” party with friends/neighbors. Everyone makes cookies and then delivers them to each other’s mailboxes. Get online after and enjoy together! Bonus if you all get online while baking and decorating together! 
  6. Holiday Light Competition: Put together a list of addresses competing. Everyone drives around and judges which house has the best holiday display. 
  7. Stay home if you’re not feeling well!

How to keep substance use balanced and safe this holiday season: 

  1. Know your limits and stop before them. Have a plan in place for how much you plan on drinking and stick to it. 
  2. Talk to your teen about substance use over the holidays. This could be a great conversation to check in on their use if any. Ask them what they think is normal for your family. 
  3. Don’t use substances to cope if stressed or worried. Have a list of other coping mechanisms you can use. 
  4. Do not ever drink or use and drive you or your family. 

Franklin County Caring Communities wished you and your family a safe and healthy holiday season!