Jump Over the Holiday Hump

In Mind, Body & Spirit, Pushing Forward by Ariel SilverSpirit

Tis the season to be jolly is more than a line from a festive holiday jingle. It is an attempt to set the tone for our attitude. However, this can backfire and cause a mind slump for millions of people.

For us, getting depressed happens more than most realize, including for me. We all handle it in different ways, though sometimes we don’t deal with it very well. Added to our other challenges, is finding ways to enjoy ourselves, especially now.

It starts off with Halloween, reminding us Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and winter solstice, among other celebrations, are just around the corner. People want to be ready, and often start planning early. The stores begin stocking the old, familiar seasonal items, and adorn their stores with them. Decorations are put up around cities and towns, in an attempt to get people in the holiday spirit. The stores play the usual songs, carolers sing, and bells of the local charity can be heard, calling to us to please donate.

We’re reminded of those less fortunate, as the news announces shelters opening, dinners being served, and food drives; others donate various presents for those in need. The call goes out to volunteers asking for their generosity and time.

People dress up in festive colors, red, white, and green, often sporting a Santa hat, to help get them in the mood. It’s a time when people are more generous, when people open up their hearts, and their wallets.

For those who have families, it’s easier to get into the swing of things, especially if they get along. Holidays are supposed to be a happy time, so, if you have someone to spend it with, enjoy it. Many people get more stressed than necessary, too, fretting over details, and forgetting to have fun with them. For example, wrapped gifts don’t need to be perfect. Have fun decorating them with your own personal touch.

Being disabled, we’ve become self conscious of everything we do, trying to measure up to someone’s standards, and forget to just be ourselves. People aren’t perfect, regardless how much they’d like to think they are.

There are many disabled people who have no one to spend the holidays with, which makes it very difficult for us to enjoy, especially when we’re bombarded with ads showing people laughing with friends, family, and loved ones. When we’re out, we see them everywhere, buying gifts, and having fun. To us, it’s just another painful reminder of how lonely we are, and how much we desperately want someone to share it with.

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could all get together and throw ourselves a giant party? Why not find other disabled people in your area who may be alone? Everyone has something in common, music, food, hobbies, find something to build a friendship on, and bring a little sunshine into someone’s life.

While you’re doing this, you’ll forget how lonely you are. You don’t need to do anything fancy, just be a friend. Often, that’s all it takes to bring a smile to someone’s face. Showing you care for someone is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

Able bodied people, who have no one, sometimes go to a shelter to help serve meals. Have you ever tried that? I’m able enough to do it, but have felt too sad to go, and end up staying home, in tears, eating alone, with no energy to do anything. Despite it all, I do say prayers of thanks for all the good things, and lessons I’ve been given.

Life is such a precious thing, it’s hard to stay sad long, especially when I look around and see all the wonderful things I have, and count my Blessings, especially my abilities.
What can we do to help us ease the pain of the holiday funk?

There are a few things which may help, and, perhaps someone reading this will have some ideas, too. The first thing we can do is focusing on all the positive parts of our lives. Look in the mirror and smile while you’re thinking. If you can’t see yourself smiling, feel it with your hands.

The idea of connecting with others seems like the best way to beat this thing head on. Thanks to the internet, we can chat with anyone, anywhere online. It would be nice to have someone to talk to at least, right?

Find a group of common interests, movies, books, theater, activism, food. There are even groups just for disabled people. Some even have a match up service, a form of dating in cyberspace.

Look up how various people celebrate the seasonal changes, their customs and beliefs, find some music from their traditions, and see how much you can find in common with them. Most people want the same things, don’t they, like friendship, love, a good job, a nice home, and enjoy various music, hobbies, and pastimes? I’ve listened to music in other languages, and, though I couldn’t understand the words, I still enjoyed it.

Decorate your place; add colorful ornaments, if you can, make some yourself. If you can’t see, but still want them, go for it!

Listen to music, watch comedy, and get to laughing more often. If you are able enough, try volunteering someplace. Who knows, you just might make a friend! Many people belong to a church or place of worship, and many celebrate special days together. If you’re not religious, don’t worry, maybe there’s a spiritual group or something else of mutual interest you can join.

Could you find a soldier who has no one, or a lonely child, grandparent, anyone who could use a friend? Everyplace has local charities; perhaps they can help you locate someone to arrange a meeting with, to spend time with.

For those who can’t get out, I hope you have someone who visits you and spends quality time with you. Nobody should be lonely on holidays or otherwise. Focus on something you can do, draw, paint, sing whatever creative outlet you have, and don’t worry about how good or not you are.

You’re doing this for yourself, for your enjoyment. Whatever someone else thinks isn’t as important as having fun. I love to draw, though I’m not very good, yet I still have a great time at it, it helps me release emotions, too.

When I was a child, I often entertained myself by standing in front of a mirror, then held another one up, and sang, pretending all the images were a vocal group. We sang our hearts out, my group and I, and I amused myself for quite awhile, delighted in my fantasy, changing voices, taking different parts, and really hamming it up- it was great! Dressing up, dancing, putting on a great show, it sure was fun!

The holidays can be fun, even for us, with a little effort, and imagination. Are you ready?
What are your successful methods to be happy when you feel down during the holiday season? Email us nathasha@audacitymagazine.com and let us know.