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FrankTalks offers tips for fun, safe, stress-free holiday season

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Mindy Tate December 2020 virtual FrankTalks

Mindy Tate, the executive director of Franklin Tomorrow, hosted the final virtual FrankTalks event of 2020.

Franklin Tomorrow held its final FrankTalks virtual event of the year on Monday, focusing on the Christmas season — fun things to do, ways to manage holiday stress and fire safety tips as residents sit around their fireplaces.

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore was the first guest during the program, and he said though this has been such a difficult year, he is thankful for his hard-working team. He's also excited for the COVID-19 vaccine. Tennessee expects about 56,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and over 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this month, which will be administered first to health care workers and nursing home residents and staff.

“[2021] will be better than ’20,” Moore said.

While the holidays are meant to be a time of rest and relaxation, sometimes the hustle and bustle of the season can instead bring stress. Pike Williams, a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Refuge Center for Counseling in Franklin, shared some tools to help relieve tension during this time.

Williams said people should focus on four key areas — physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. This year, he said, people may realize their “emotional wagon” is full, and they can’t handle as much right now.

“It’s so important as we go into the Christmas season to consider your emotional wagon — is it full, and should you say yes or no?” he said. “Before you just check your calendar only, please consider the rest of you, which includes your emotions.”

Promoting physical wellbeing could include exercising, yoga, walking or deep breathing. People might consider talking about their emotions with a trusted and sympathetic friend, counselor or family member or start journaling to promote emotional wellness. He also said while social distancing is important right now, finding opportunities to tend to your social needs is important as well, whether it’s spending intentional time with one or two friends or family members or finding volunteer opportunities. Finally, people might engage in prayer, meditation, worship or music to give some attention to their spiritual needs.

One method of relaxation might include baking or sitting around the fire, and Jamie Melton, the fire and life safety educator for the Franklin Fire Department, said extra safety precautions should be taken during the holidays.

“This time of year, you have an increased risk of all kinds of fires because we’ve got home heating, we’ve got more cooking going on, we’ve got decorations. People might overload their electrical outlets. They might use candles or place decorations too close to heat sources,” she said. “So, it’s especially important during the holiday to be vigilant to prevent fires.”

Melton said homeowners should have their fireplaces inspected and cleaned every year, sharing that they should call a certified chimney sweep to clean out any soot and ash and check for flammable materials or other potential hazards. Many chimney sweeps also clean dryer vents as well.

For those who are tired of being cooped up at home and want some ideas for outings, Lauren Ward, vice president of marketing and communications at Visit Franklin, shared ideas for several socially distanced holiday events in the area, including the drive-thru FrankTown Open Hearts Festival of Lights at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center, the Masters & Makers holiday cocktail trail and Holiday Magic on Main in downtown Franklin.

“Please continue to support our local businesses. It’s been a really tough year for our hotels, our restaurants, our retail shops, our attractions, so if you can purchase gift cards to there, do takeout or to-go. That would be a wonderful way to support them this year,” she said.

More events and options for holiday outings can be found at VisitFranklin.com.

For more information about Franklin Tomorrow, visit FranklinTomorrow.org.

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