How crazy is it that we're just days away from Thanksgiving? How even crazier is it that, at least most of us, are trying to figure out how to make this holiday happen when we're still—still, y'all—in the middle of a pandemic? Because let's be real. While when it comes to protecting our overall health and well-being, it would probably be best to sit this year out, since we've already made so many sacrifices, especially socially in 2020, I get that some of you may want to semi throw caution to the wind and share a meal with some of your loved ones anyway.
And that's just what we're gonna tackle today. If you're sick and tired of COVID-19 totally running your life and so you're gonna make Thanksgiving happen, one way or another, here are some things that can significantly decrease your chances of you or your people getting sick as a direct result.
1. Grocery Shop Carefully
Before we get into how to carefully handle the people who will be in your house, let's first get into the main reason they're coming over (other than to see you, of course)—the food! The last thing you want to do is have an awesome day with everyone, only for them to fall ill a few days later. So, have a clear shopping list (the less time that you're in the store, the better). Also, make sure that you try and go grocery shopping during a time when there is less "people traffic" (definitely not a couple of days before Thanksgiving or during the times when most people are off work). Always wear a mask and sanitize the handle of your grocery cart. Fresh produce vs. frozen or canned goods isn't that much of an issue (as far as which is safer when it comes to avoiding COVID-19); however, do make sure that when you get home that you wipe off cans, that you thoroughly rinse your produce and that the foods that needs to be refrigerated are put into a fridge that is set at 40 degrees (your freezer needs to be zero degrees) Fahrenheit. Doing this will decrease the chances of foodborne pathogens developing.
2. Prep Your Home
While you're cooking, clean all surfaces constantly (with soap and water; then follow that up with a disinfectant). Contamination can spread quicker than you might think, so wiping down counters and swapping out dishrags for different things (like using one for dishes and another for cleaning your stove) that you're preparing is important. Oh, and also be intentional about cleaning anything that folks will be touching a lot including door handles, tables, faucets, and light switches. While you won't have time to follow up behind everyone the entire time, wiping these things down right before company arrives, once during their visit, and again after everyone leaves is a good practice.
So that air can be well-ventilated throughout your house, crack open a few windows. You also might want to turn on a humidifier in the space where most people will be hanging out. Aside from the fact that indoor air pollution is automatically 3-5 times worse than anything that's happening outside, dry and poorly ventilated areas also make it easier for germs to spread. I actually read that using a humidifier in the wintertime can lower your risk of getting COVID-19. The more you know, chile.
3. Avoid Potlucking
Here's the thing about potluck. While, on one hand, it takes the burden off of you having to cook as much, the flip side is you don't always know if other people are as semi-OCD as you are when it comes to cleanliness. While this is great food for thought, no matter what, it's especially important to keep this in mind during this pandemic. So, unless you are absolutely at peace with someone bringing a homemade dish, request that your guests bring pre-packaged items like drinks, paper products—stuff like that.
Also, you might want to avoid going the takeout route this Thanksgiving as well. Although I actually wrote an article for the platform earlier this year entitled, "10 Safety Practices For Ordering Takeout (During A Pandemic)", restaurants tend to be slammed during the holiday season, and while it would be wonderful if they were all as cautious as we are with following COVID-19 cleaning protocols, assuming that they are is a risk that you might not wanna take. Because, after all, the only person you can ever truly be sure about is yourself. Right?
4. Go the Paper Products Route
As far as serving your meal to your guests, while properly washing (or dishwashing) dishes and utensils typically knocks out most germs, take extra precaution this year and consider going the paper and plastic products route. That way, people can throw away their plates, forks and cups once they are done. As a bonus, you won't have to do as much clean-up once everyone is gone.
If that is way too "low-end" for you, just make sure that you clean and disinfect every item that you and your guests use. By the way, running your pans, dishes and utensils through a dishwasher is considered to be the most effective for getting rid of germs while letting everything air dry is a fair follow-up alternative. Whatever you do, just make sure to avoid using the same towel for drying everything. Out of all of the drying options, that one basically sucks at preventing germs from spreading.
5. Cut the “Body Count” Down
One of the reasons why a lot of kids continually get sick in daycares is because there are so many of them in a tight space. Five children in a big room is very different than 20 in a smaller one. This line of thinking brings us to my next point. If you have a small gathering of 5-7 people (especially if you live in an apartment or a smaller house), that makes it so much easier for everyone to socially distance than if you've got a houseful. Listen, already opting to host Thanksgiving, in your home, during a pandemic, is a pretty bold feat. Don't you dare feel bad or guilty that you can't invite as many folks as usual. You've still gotta go to work on Monday. The lower your body count is, the better—for all parties involved.
6. Avoid Folks Who Haven’t Been “Acting Right”
I can count on one hand, the amount of people who've been in my home ever (chalk it up to the ambivert in me). Anyway, there is one person, in particular, I had to "put on punishment" because when I tell you that they are out here in these streets, like there isn't a pandemic happening, right at this very moment? Whew. My point? People who aren't wearing masks. Folks who haven't been social distancing. Anyone who even hints at having a fever or cold symptoms. Someone who has recently traveled and hasn't quarantined at all. These are the kinds of people who should skip out on Thanksgiving at your house this year. One workaround is to have them check in on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangout. While it won't be exactly the same, it's safer which ultimately makes it all good.
7. Establish a Strong Hygiene Protocol
Once people step into your house, consider having them take their shoes off and leaving them at the door (so that germs aren't tracked throughout your home). Have some hand sanitizer waiting at the door and/or ask them to wash their hands before actually getting comfortable. When it comes to sneezing and coughing, a minimal amount of that is natural, even when someone is well. That said, make sure that there are tissues on tap and maybe even cough drops or warm tea and honey so that your guests' coughing reflex can be calmed down; the less sneezing and coughing, the less particles of spit that ends up flying around. If there are kids who are coming, make sure that someone sees that they wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, and definitely have no problem with encouraging social distancing, especially if you are hosting indoors.
8. Consider Having Thanksgiving Outdoors
In many cases across the country, global warming has been showing all the way out. A silver lining in this is it's been proven that being around people outdoors (when you're social distancing, of course) is exponentially safer than when you're spending time with them while being inside of a space. So, if the weather permits, why not host Thanksgiving outdoors? Put a picnic table in your backyard (if you've got a backyard) and spread the seats apart. If you like this idea but you're worried that it will be way too cold come the end of November, you can always move Thanksgiving up a bit. Hey, nothing about this year has been conventional. I don't think folks will trip too much about having Thanksgiving dinner with you a week early and then being able to chill at their home on actual Thanksgiving Day.
9. Limit the Time Spent
Here's the thing about COVID-19—the longer that you spend time around an infected individual, the more you significantly increase your chances of them transmitting the virus onto you. According to the CDC, if you spend more than 15 minutes, in close proximity to someone who has COVID-19, you significantly increase your chances of them passing the virus on to you.
Look, we all know that none of us are interested in doing a drive-by Thanksgiving. However, this is a good enough reason to again implement social distancing and not having folks at your crib from noon until midnight.
10. If You’re Flying, Follow CDC Guidelines
So, what if you're not the one who is hosting Thanksgiving but instead, you're traveling to be with relatives or friends this year? Definitely keep your immune system up in the days leading up to your fly-out date (check out "Ready To Try 10 Quick & Easy Immune-Boosting Hacks?" and "10 All-Natural Ways To Avoid Catching A Cold"). If you want to take a test before you leave, many Walgreens and CVS stores offer the service (although it's not the cheapest; CVS is around $140, I believe). Be sure to wear a mask at the airport as well as during the flight. Don't forget to have some hand sanitizer (one that contains around 60 percent alcohol) on tap. While traveling, try and socially distance (remain two arm lengths apart) as much as you can, that you avoid touching others and that you keep your hands off of your eyes, nose, and mouth. (For more info on CDC travel guidelines, click here.)
Oh, if you decide to take a road trip instead, have some disinfecting wipes so that you can wipe down any ATMs or gas pumps that you may come into contact with.
And finally, if you feel, even a little bit under the weather, within 48 hours before traveling, strongly consider not going. Again, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
I know this all might be a bit "much" compared to years past. Yet I'm confident that if you stick to these 10 tips, you can have a pretty normal Thanksgiving. And after all that 2020 brought our way…"normal" is outstanding.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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Waiting For The Perfect Moment Is Holding You Back, This Author And Recovering Perfectionist Explains Why
If you’re reading this, you’re probably guilty of waiting for the perfect moment to do something, and that’s okay. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. No one’s shaming you, and there’s no need to be ashamed. In fact, this article may help you overcome some of your perfectionist traits or, at the very least, get them under control. Award-winning journalist and author L’Oreal Thompson Payton’s new book, Stop Waiting For Perfect, is a love letter to all the people out there who put pressure on themselves to always perform at a high level, procrastinate (yes, procrastination is a form of perfectionism. More about that later) or have fear of failure/ success. As a recovering perfectionist, L’Oreal dives into perfectionism and where it stems from, particularly for Black women. In our interview, she references the classic scene in Scandal with Olivia Pope and her dad, Eli Pope, where he reminds her that she has to be twice as good to get half of what they have. Iykyk. For a lot of Black people, that way of thinking has been ingrained in us since childhood, and it can be one of the beginnings of perfectionism within many of us.
“I remember vividly and also describe this scene in the book of when I was interviewing for a summer camp, and I had my portfolio, and I was wearing my Sunday best and practicing interview questions with my mom in the fifth grade, right? Like granted, it was an academic summer camp, but it was still this notion of we have to show up perfect,” she tells xoNecole. “We have to be the best in order to be valued and accepted in this society. And that's been passed down from generation to generation for Black people and especially Black women in America because we're getting it from both sides. So there's that expectation of perfection.”
The mother of one reached her breaking point after failing to continue her 685-day blue-dot streak on Peleton due to having a busy day with her daughter. Achieving the beloved blue dot was like receiving a gold star for her hard work, and it meant everything to her. So, once she lost it, she literally lost it, breaking down into tears. However, that vulnerable moment helped her to reexamine her life and inspired her to write Stop Waiting For Perfect. While writing the book, she had to face another perfectionist trait: procrastination. As a fellow journalist, I can relate. The term deadline junkie didn’t come from anywhere. L’Oreal explains how procrastination relates to perfectionism.
“I think there were seven different types of perfectionism I read about (you can take a quiz to see what type of perfectionist you are here), and when I found out that procrastination was one of them because, I never thought of myself as a procrastinator. I would just sometimes wait until the last minute, right before the deadline,” she says. “So, I was like, okay, that's not that, but then when I started to think about okay, like, because when you're procrastinating, at least for me, and for a lot of perfectionists, it's like, well, when I sit down in front of this Google Doc like for all the writers out there, I have to know exactly what I'm going to say and I have to say it perfectly. There's no room for error. There's no room for experimentation, and what that does, though, is it prevents us from just putting words on paper.”
Photo courtesy of L'Oreal Thompson Payton
She continues her explanation by sharing a tweet that became her aha moment in her writing process. “There was a tweet that came across as I was writing the first draft of the book that said, ‘you're, or you can edit bad, but you can't edit enough,’ and that really unlocked for me like, okay, my job is to put words on a paper.”
In other words, waiting for the perfect moment is holding you back, but as I mentioned earlier, we are here to help. L’Oreal provides a few tips on letting go of perfectionism while still maintaining success in your life. you can set mini goals and have people you can trust hold you accountable. “If our dream is to launch the podcast in January 2024, what then can you do right now in September 2023, and then October and November, etc., to set yourself up for success because I think that a lot of times we go into it– it has to be perfect on the first one,” she explains.
“I have to come out the gate with this, you know, like masterpiece, and that is just unrealistic, and it's not even holding yourself to a high standard. It's holding yourself to an impossible standard and so giving yourself some grace along the way, allowing for experimentation to try something, and then pivoting when it doesn't work. But first, you have to put it out there, and finding people that you know and trust and who are going to support you along the way is really important.”
What’s on the other side of managing perfectionism? Freedom. Thanks to what she refers to as her “wake-up call,” she now prioritizes rest and no longer beats herself up for not meeting certain standards, and yes, that pertains to receiving a blue dot on Peleton.
“It's been a process and very much progress over perfection because there are moments where I slip, but forgiving myself and then trying again, I think, is like the whole point and purpose of it,” she says. And in the midst of unlearning these unhealthy habits, she’s having healthy conversations with her daughter about boundaries, self-love, and listening to her body.
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Feature image courtesy of Chuck Olu-Alabi