Download: December 1, 2021

Oh my god damn it. It’s December, folks, and the holiday season is a swingin ‘! But, hey, not everyone is all happy and shiny. Even if you are Big fan and ready to bake the cutout cookies and compose the holiday songs, the season can still bring stress, anxiety and even depression.

So, in this episode of The Download, I want to tackle the stress of the holidays and offer some tips on how to deal with it. Plus, I’ve included the usual health information you should be aware of.

But first, let’s start with a little news from the girl who brought us the V-jay-jay candle and more – and keeps sparking the conversation about both bad and good …

This time she has a Netflix show called “Sex, love and goop. And the boy is he goopy. A good thing to note is that Gwyneth Paltrow says she aims to promote pleasure for peeps with a vulva. In fact, the show even features a vulva puppet. (New cushion, do you feel like it?)

In her new show, Paltrow pairs couples with sex therapists to solve issues of intimacy and pleasure. While this promotes sex positivity and pleasure (a good thing), it’s also in equal parts cringe, WTF, and Paltrow’s usual dose of woo.

With all things Gwynnie and goop, keep in mind that she is known to promote seriously questionable wellness products and practices, especially for the vaginas. And she was prosecuted for it.

Let’s not forget the jade egg she wanted us to put everything in to “invigorate” our yonis. She agreed to pay $ 145,000 in civil penalties for these false allegations. Goop girl wanted us too for mugwort steam clean our precious pieces, which many OB-GYNs say is completely unnecessary and could even cause damage.

So if you’re trying the show, keep in mind that misinformation has been a goop and the mainstay of Gwynnie. Watch your viewing pleasure, but maybe don’t take wellness tips seriously, at least not without confirming that they’re based on something important called science.

Let me be Scrooge-y AF for a minute. I promise you it’s in the name of health and wellness. And I swear to make up for it with the holiday cheer at the end of this column.

Vacation reunions can be a source of angst, to say the least, especially if you have parents or close family members who annoy you or upset you in some other way.

Of course, it’s one thing if cousin Carla enjoys talking about her latest professional drama. You can just apologize for the more nog. But it’s quite another thing if a family reunion subjects you to physical or verbal abuse, hate speech, micro-aggression or potential exposure to COVID-19, etc.

You don’t have to attend a toxic gathering and endure an environment that hurts you. You also don’t have to endure old family dynamics where people refuse to recognize or change destructive behavior. You can set your limits and say no. You have every right to spend the holiday season in a safe space. And since the holiday season can involve some time off work, you should spend this time in a way that rejuvenates you, doesn’t drain your energy, or fire you up.

The United States has a problem with misinformation. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 78 percent of adults surveyed believe false information about COVID-19. Ouch! FYI: Unvaccinated adults in the study population were among the most likely to believe fake news.

Researchers have presented 8 false claims to more than 1,500 people about the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines. Survey results show that 64 percent of unvaccinated adults believe or are unsure of the validity of 4 or more myths. This is compared to 19% of vaccinated adults who believe in 4 or more fakes.

Where people get their news also plays a role in how much false information they fall prey to. For example, people who trust Newsmax, One American News or Fox News believe more false statements than those who obtain information from NPR, MSNBC, Network news and CNN, according to the research.

The COVID ear is not when people talk into the ear about COVID-19 topics. * Who, meeeee? * Some people who have had COVID-19 have had problems with balance, hearing loss, dizziness, etc. Now a small study from MIT provides evidence that the coronavirus can infect cells in the inner ear. Researchers say that once someone has contracted COVID-19, the virus can make its way into the inner ear and potentially cause these symptoms. But more research is needed.

On the first day of Christmas, the FDA gave you … expanded access to boosters. Now, all people 18 years of age and over who completed their Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine series at least 6 months ago can get a callback. And remember, if you received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago, you may also receive your booster. Plus, you can mix and match. So if you received Pfizer for your main series, you can get a Moderna booster if you prefer. You do you.

MRNA technology that has been shown to be effective in some COVID-19 vaccines shows promise for potential Lyme vax. Yale researchers are still in the early stages of develop and study the vaccine, but so far it has been shown to provide protection against tick-borne disease in guinea pigs. The vaccine works by eliciting an immune response against the tick saliva, limiting the time that the scary critters can feast on you. Researchers say the vaccine may even offer protection against other tick-borne villains. But more studies are needed.

I started this episode of The Download as a bit of Scrooge. But I end it with a few Greatist gift guides to make up for that. So sip your favorite toddy if it’s your jam and shop with peace of mind. Above all, be healthy and safe this season!