8 things to do, safely, on your long holiday

New Mexico coloring book developed to address COVID-19 in tribal communities. (Photo courtesy of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, New Mexico Human Services Department)

Dalton Walker

No holiday plans? No problem

Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today

Even a turkey is no match for 2020.

Little has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, and health officials are asking people to take precautions during the long holiday weekend known for its family gatherings, travel and of course, food.

Still, there’s plenty of fun activities to do social distance wise, safely, and some can be done from the comfort of your living room couch.

If you decide to venture out, remember to wear a face mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, wash your hands with soap often and avoid hugs and handshakes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has additional information on protecting yourself and others from getting and spreading the coronavirus.

Here’s a list of how to make the most of the holiday weekend during the pandemic:

  1. Hi mom! Call your family and friends. Better yet, give them a Zoom call. The popular video conferencing platform is temporarily lifting its 40-minute limit for video chats all day Thursday. Usually, only a paid subscription allows for unlimited meeting minutes. Can’t do it Thursday? Zoom anytime with its free version for 40 minutes at a time. Other free video chat options worth trying are Houseparty, Facebook Messenger and Skype.
  2. Download a new book, or dust off a book that is on your ever-growing to-read list. IllumiNative recommended five books to read recently on its Instagram by five Indigenous authors. Need something for the kids? There are new books that literary lovers can add to their Native collections. Or, if you want to take your reading up a notch, the New York Times recently released its selections of 10 best books of the year. Check your local library before purchasing. You might be able to check one out virtually to read, or even temporarily download the audiobook.
  3. Learn more about the real history of Thursday’s holiday. Visit Indian Country Today’s archives for “6 myths and the Wampanoag side of the story.” Another great option is “Unreserved,” a CBC Radio show that focuses on Indigenous issues. The show recently talked with Native experts on the holiday’s history. To listen, click here.
  4. Go for a walk or step outside for some fresh air. Depending on where you live, there could be snow on the ground, temperatures in the 70s or somewhere in between. Dress accordingly. It’s true, fresh air does a body good, health experts say. Plus, Vitamin D from the sunshine is beneficial. Up for a hike? AllTrails is a good start to find a new favorite trail in your area. Also, take a trash bag; Mother Earth will thank you.
  5. Get inspired. Listen to a Ted talk online. Ted speakers share knowledge on a variety of topics and issues that affect the world. Here’s an easy to way search for specific speakers or topics. Indigenous voices featured include Tara Houska, Ojibwe, and Tashka and Laura Yawanawa, of the Yaminawa people in Brazil, among others.
  6. Stay in the know with Indigenous podcasters. Podcasts continue to remain popular, especially with listeners social distancing and staying at home. Here’s a list from the archives on podcasts by Indigenous people worth bookmarking that include popular shows like Toasted Sister Podcast and All My Relations.
  7. Get a jump on holiday shopping while supporting Indigenous businesses. Yes, the big holiday in December will be here soon, so now might be the time to get all the shopping crossed off your list. Here’s a great list of Native-owned food companies to purchase goods, including bison jerky, wild rice and coffee. If you’re looking for something beyond food, here’s a nice list that includes soap, books, cosmetics, jewelry and clothing. Beyond Buckskin is another go-to place to shop online.
  8. Relax. Slow down. Get some rest. Pandemic fatigue can affect anyone. Here are a few tips on how to handle it. The list includes ways to reduce stress by meditation. Another way to relax is by hiding or even temporarily deleting your social media apps. (Eeek!) Bye, Facebook!

Related:
 New Mexico develops coloring book to address COVID-19 in tribal communities
 Natives help Natives in online marketplace

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Dalton Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, is a national correspondent at Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter: @daltonwalker Walker is based in Phoenix and enjoys Arizona winters.

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