Christmas and COVID: Therapist on how to manage holiday stress and decisions amid the pandemic

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 02: People walk through the Oculus transportation hub and mall on December 02, 2020 in New York City. New York City, and much of the nation, is bracing for a surge of COVID-19 cases following the Thanksgiving holiday which saw millions of Americans travel to see family and friends. According to the COVID Tracking Project, a record-high of 96,039 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the US as of Monday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, holiday gatherings this year are changing because of the risk of community spread, government rules and families worried about the future. 

In November, overall vehicle travel was down 20 percent compared to last year, but around the Thanksgiving holiday those travel numbers went up.  

This trend was similar for air traffic as airports reported some of the busiest days since the pandemic.

“If only a small percentage of those travelers were asymptomatically infected, this can translate into hundreds of thousands of additional infections moving from one community to another,” Dr. Cindy Friedman of the CDC said.

These concerns to travel or not, to see family or not, led Chicago-based psychotherapist, Adam Ouanes, to make a list of tips for families during the pandemic. ​

“This holiday season is unlike any before, and it leaves many people feeling unsure about how to get into the holiday spirit,” ​Ouanes wrote. “It’s not unusual for many people to find this time of year overwhelming, but this year has a whole new flavor of strange.”

In the opinion piece, Ouanes mentioned topics that could help out including: having uncomfortable conversations, taking your mental health temperature, acceptance, and tweaking traditions.

“Strange as it may be, this is probably the most historic holiday season you’ve ever lived through,” Ouanes said. “Make some good stories for future generations.”

Ouanes joined NewsNation for a interview about the topic. You can watch it in the player above or on NewsNation’s Facebook page.

To read Ouanes’ entire article, click here.

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