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Ready to celebrate the holidays with friends and family? Experts explain how to do it safely and manage anxiety


If you’re nervous about celebrating the holiday weekend, experts say it’s okay. But they suggest looking at the holiday in a new light. (Photo: Getty Images)

Fourth of July weekend has historically been full of fun activities, but many of them were minimized or canceled last year because of the pandemic.

this year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated people can go back to doing what they did before the pandemic. That means Fourth of July BBQs, parties and parades are back again.

It is worth noting, however, that the Biden administration recently said That the goal of giving at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to 70 percent of American adults is unlikely to be reached by the Fourth of July. As of Wednesday, currently, 66.5 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. cdc data. A little over 57 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

Still, many people feel anxious about returning to normalcy.

If you’re one of them, just know this: It’s natural to feel a little uncomfortable after more than a year of avoiding these types of activities. “As the pandemic lifts restrictions and the demands of our daily routines are changing rapidly once again, it’s hard not to feel unsteady,” says clinical psychologist Alicia Clark, author hack your worries, tells Yahoo Life. “Even with reliable information, we are still tasked with making individual decisions about our health and safety once again, and we will not see everything the same way.”

It can be “particularly complicated” when it comes to navigating social situations, says Clark.

Family therapist David Clough, author of You’re Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist, Tells Yahoo Life that it’s important to be aware of your personal limitations going into the weekend. “Where are we pushing ourselves further than comfortable?” He says. “Being able to stick to your boundaries can go a long way toward having healthy relationships and finding balance while vacationing with others.” If you don’t feel comfortable attending a crowded gathering yet, he points out, it’s perfectly okay to decline an invitation or miss an event.

If you’re feeling anxious but aren’t quite ready to miss activities, Chloe suggests talking to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings. “Being able to talk with someone you trust about any uncertainty or worry can help you stay locked inside where it can be overwhelming.”

If you decide to go to a festival or gathering, Clark recommends being “gentle” with yourself. “For some, being allowed to be normal again will be like a cage,” she says. “To others, it will sound scary.”

Instead of judging your feelings, Clark tries to figure out what’s behind your feelings. This, she says, will allow you to have more compassion for yourself and others. “It’s been a long and scary time, and our virus anxiety has helped keep us safe,” she says. “It’s okay if it doesn’t just evaporate overnight. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, or that you need to feel ashamed. It just means you’re human and you took the virus exposure seriously.” is.”

At the same time, though, she recommends that you “push yourself to reclaim the things” that matter to you, whether it’s a BBQ with the family or a fireworks display.

As for exposures, the CDC states that fully vaccinated people “without wearing a mask or physically distancing themselves, except by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Can resume activities without The CDC says people who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

If you’re gathering with unvaccinated people — including children under 12 — it’s best to spend time outside “as much as possible,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. It’s also a good idea if you’re immunized, even if you’ve been vaccinated, he says. “Try to keep hugs and kisses to a minimum,” says Schaffner.

In fact, infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh A., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Adalja says it’s “very safe to gather indoors and out with full vaccinations.” He also noted that “outdoor transmission is not common, even to unvaccinated individuals,” adding, “I don’t think it’s a major risk.”

If you’re unvaccinated, “being around vaccinated people is the safest” option, Adalja says. And, if your kids haven’t been vaccinated, they say that deciding whether or not to do certain activities depends on a risk-taking decision that you feel comfortable with.

“In general, children are spared the dire consequences, not the major spreaders of the disease,” he says. “If you are vaccinated, unvaccinated children pose no risk to you.” Adalja also pointed out: “Kids have been participating in activities during this pandemic and the Fourth of July is no different.”

Of course, it can be difficult to know the vaccination status of all of you around this holiday weekend. According to Adalja, just know this: “If you’re fully vaccinated and not immune, other people don’t pose a COVID risk to you.” If you are immunosuppressed, however, he suggests taking extra precautions, such as wearing a mask when you are in crowded indoor situations around unvaccinated people.

Fortunately, Adalja says, “the Fourth of July covers outdoor activities where transmission is unlikely.”

The Fourth of July attracts some of the biggest crowds of summer, and it’s a good idea to take extra precautions if you’re joining them, says Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical. University, tells Yahoo Life. If you go to a parade, fireworks show, or other crowded events, “I would still try to maintain social distancing, especially with people who are not in your immediate household,” Watkins says.

Overall, experts say that you should be fine to enjoy the weekend safely if you are mentally prepared for it. “If you’ve been fully vaccinated, celebrate the Fourth of July as you would any other year,” Adalja says.

Then, if you’re nervous about celebrating this weekend, Clarke says it’s okay. But she suggests trying to see the holiday in a new light. “Rituals, and especially celebratory rituals, are important to keep us mentally healthy and resilient,” she says. “No matter how you celebrate the holiday weekend, positive momentum and recognizing the many reasons for celebration can help boost your spirits and resilience. It’s been a long time, and celebrating positive milestones Celebrating can help us return each progress to ‘normalcy’. The pace that matters to us.”

This story was originally published on May 24, 2021, Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET and for July 4.

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