If you’re following CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving this year, you’re staying home and only spending the holiday with members of your household. Public health professionals say that’s a good way of reducing your risk of catching or spreading Covid-19. Here are 10 wellness design tips for celebrating Thanksgiving in your home this year.

Holiday Cleaning

Even if you’re only cooking for your own household this week, you’re probably also dealing with the extra stresses impacting everyone during the pandemic. If you have low maintenance surfaces in your home – like solid surface or quartz, for example – your cleaning chores are simpler.  

1.      If you don’t have low maintenance surfaces, focus only on cleaning those areas that are necessary to making and serving a safe, healthy meal. These include your countertops, table, sink, faucet and appliances. Deep cleaning the whole house can wait for a calmer time in your life.

Holiday Cooking

2.      Add a multi cooker or slow cooker, portable induction burner and/or countertop convection-steam oven to your kitchen arsenal. Each can make sides or desserts while your oven is handling the turkey or roast. These will ease your time management challenges at this hectic time of year.

3.      Since you still might be spending hours on your feet getting your Thanksgiving feast ready, consider adding an anti-fatigue mat to your kitchen floor to ease the stress on your back, hips, legs and feet. You’re likely to feel less tired and achy after dinner if you treat yourself to this kitchen addition.

Outdoor Entertaining

4.      If you live in a warm climate and have private outdoor space, consider taking your holiday meal outside this year. You can’t eat or drink with masks on, so this is an easy way of reducing your family’s risk of getting sick while enjoying your feast.

You’re less likely to be infected outdoors than inside, according to health experts, and the plants and trees outside can provide emotional benefits.

5.      If you’ve been considering enhancing your patio, deck, yard or balcony, you might find some good sales right now on low maintenance comfortable pieces, patio heaters, fire pits, umbrellas with lights and other decorative items.

Indoor Air Quality

6.      Regardless of where you’re eating your turkey and sides, it’s worth looking at ways to reduce indoor transmission in your home this season. You want as much fresh air circulating through your living space as possible, so keeping the windows and patio doors open a much as you can will be helpful in reducing airborne contagions.

7.      Replacing a standard filter for your HVAC system with a MERV 13 or HEPA model, (depending on the system’s capacity), can also help reduce airborne transmission of Covid and other virus-borne illnesses.

8.      Adding ozone-free air purifiers and cleaners can also help reduce airborne transmission if you don’t have an HVAC system that will accept high performance filters.

Weekend DIY Projects

If you or a household member are handy, there are ways to reduce your chance of spreading surface-transmitted viruses among family members.

9.      These include replacing standard faucets and light switches in high traffic areas with hands-free models.  

Quiet Space

This is always a high stress time of year for the person in charge of organizing a holiday get-together. The fact that this year’s celebration will include fewer people doesn’t lessen the stress, especially with worries about keeping loved ones safe in a pandemic. It’s important to prioritize self-care when life’s stresses mount.

In a wellness design context, this means carving out a space at home for relaxation, decompressing, meditation or prayer. That could be tougher right now with your living space multitasking as classroom, workplace, nursing home and/or fitness studio. These additional demands increase the need for creating your own self-care zone, even if space and silence are harder to come by.

10.  Look for a room where you can create an area for sitting comfortably and quietly. That can be indoors with a view to nature outdoors, or outdoors (climate allowing). Natural elements can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormones and muscle tension, according to scientists. Escape there at least once a day for 10 or 20 minutes to clear your mind, according to mental health professionals.

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