The holiday season is here, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting one this year. While many people feel comfortable reconnecting and gathering with family and friends, it’s clear that we’re not out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic.
On top of that, it’s flu season.
Need more reasons to think about your safety? Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, traffic will be worse this year than last, and inflation is causing a lot of financial issues for families across the country this year.
Okay, now take a deep breath.
While things aren’t perfect this holiday season, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate. By preparing yourself and your family and taking a few more precautions, you can make your season merry and bright while staying safe and healthy.
Look After Your Health
With the rising threat from the Omicron variant, COVID-19 is still on everyone’s mind, and it may impact your holiday plans. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself and the people you love is to make your physical and mental health a priority. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in public, get vaccinated, and be sure to quarantine if you test positive for COVID.
Even though the pandemic has been a hot health topic over the last couple of years, there are still other health risks that are often greater around the holidays, including:
- Flu viruses
- Food poisoning
- Seasonal depression
Taking care of your mind and body will not only keep you healthier, overall, but it will boost your energy, improve your focus, and make you more aware of potential health risks or dangers within your home. The last thing you want is to forget to clean your fireplace before starting up a cozy blaze for the first time or to forget electrical safety rules when hanging up holiday lights.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and exercising frequently. By taking a few small steps to boost your immunity and avoid passing along illnesses to others, you’ll be able to enjoy the season without sniffling coughing your way through it.
Deal With Digital Dangers
With more people spending a lot of time at home and working remotely, holiday shopping online will likely be on the rise this year.
Unfortunately, cybersecurity threats are also on the rise.
In 2019, data breaches increased by over 50% compared to the previous four years. Major corporations have become victims of these breaches, and they have some of the top tech security in the world. Imagine how much easier it is for cybercriminals to attack individuals – especially those who don’t understand the serious threats out there or know how to keep their information safe.
In a time when your financial situation might already be tight, what can you do to protect yourself from fraud, scams, or viruses when you’re shopping for loved ones online? Use these tips to keep yourself and your computer/phone protected from cybercriminals:
- Only shop from secure/trusted sites
- Create unique usernames and passwords for each account you have
- Don’t use free public Wi-Fi when shopping online
- Don’t store your credit card information on sites
Make sure your family members and those living with you/using your Wi-Fi understand how to keep themselves safe, too. If a criminal can access your Wi-Fi, they might also be able to access your information – including your finances. It doesn’t take much for a skilled hacker to steal your information, which could turn your happy holiday season into a Christmas nightmare.
Take Your Time When Traveling
It’s estimated that over 60% of American adults will travel throughout the holiday season this year. With more people on the road than last year, take the time to prepare for potential hazards.
Depending on where you live, your visit to see family or friends could be met with:
- Traffic jams
- Freezing rain
- Unfamiliar detours
Planning ahead for your trip – no matter how far it is – will help to keep you and your family safe. But, it’s also imperative to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to winter weather. Make sure your car is well-maintained throughout the season, and carry a few essentials with you in the trunk. You should have a blanket, water, road flares, a first aid kit, and a flashlight to help you out in emergencies. A portable phone charger, or one that plugs into your vehicle, will also ensure you can communicate and call for help if you get stuck or you’re in an accident.
This year might look a little different. You might have to take a few extra precautions. But, by planning, preparing, and making your health a priority, you can keep yourself and the people you love safe and sound this season.
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