Published on December 17, 2020

Social interaction still important for well being even if it's virtual

By Melinda Cornell, Mind and Body, Messenger-Inquirer

Melinda Cornell It’s that time of year when, traditionally, we begin to think about holiday parties, family gatherings and fun social events.

However, with the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, our holidays may look a bit different this year as many of our usual activities have been canceled or are being offered virtually.

Many of us are probably looking at the things we may be missing out on. One of our volunteers has a bit of a different outlook on the holiday season and I wanted to share this with you.

Mae Leach, a long time Golden Partners member, says she is planning for a more “simple” Christmas and is “hoping this year I will have time to do some things that I say every year I want to do but end up never having the time (or making the time) to do.”

Mae plans to make a gingerbread house, complete a holiday puzzle (during the holidays, not AFTER the holidays),enjoy the Christmas lights in the parks and watch Christmas concerts from other cities online.

She plans to watch Owensboro’s Christmas Pops concert with her daughter while sipping hot chocolate and eating homemade Christmas cookies. Mae is going to reach out to family members that she does not talk with on a regular basis and maybe even sneak in a Hallmark Christmas movie or two.

Mae is right on target in saying she is planning to connect with family.

We know that the social isolation caused from this pandemic is affecting our mental health. Staying in touch with family and friends will be even more important.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, celebrating with those in your household is the only safe option and the best way to protect yourself and others this year.

Larger gatherings are on hold but it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on holiday fun together. We just need to find other creative ways to stay connected!

Start by being flexible by understanding and being “OK” with doing things a bit differently in order to protect the health of you and your loved ones. 

In this age of technology, why not set up a video call with family members and friends. You could eat your holiday dinner, watch a Christmas service, open gifts, listen to holiday music or even sing together, virtually.

One family I know plans to celebrate by having each family cook portions of their traditional Christmas meal and then divide and deliver to porches so in the end they all have the entire meal.

Another friend said she is going to decorate and enjoy the decorations, even if she is alone — she will find comfort in the beauty of the decorations.

No matter how you plan to celebrate — it’s important to know — you can be a part of creating something fun and endearing to end this crazy year of 2020. Who knows you might even create a new family tradition! Whatever you decide just find a way to stay connected. Melinda Cornell is the office supervisor for the Health Resource Center at the Owensboro Health Healthpark.

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.