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Challenges of the Holiday Season

Submitted by Glenna Tharp, Independent Living Specialist

Ahhh – Thanksgiving… It’s a time to reflect on what we’re thankful for. But some of us might be feeling we don’t have a very long list, or feel that ours is empty. Other people might run out of ink before they get their list complete! Mine would be a long list; but at the same time, it causes me to reflect on those who have much shorter or even empty lists.

Is it simply a matter of attitude? Or does one have to have everything to be thankful for anything? What kind of giver of thanks are you?

I know people that have plenty of money, a nice home, people that love them, and have full use of all their body parts, but still lack a sense of peace. And I’ve known people who have less financially, have lost touch with their families, have medical issues, or are a person with a disability, and they believe they have much for which they are grateful.

Let’s also consider the upcoming holiday season. Does the advent of Christmas or Chanukah send you into melancholy, depression, or anxiety? Even in the best of relationships, these holidays can cause people to feel some anxiety, due to the extra pressures we may believe are demanded of us. We second guess ourselves about preparing “correctly,” and being around people we normally don’t live with, regardless of how much we love and enjoy them, can bring on stress.

Plus there are temptations! There are many rich foods and drink we don’t normally touch, including alcohol, and it may make us feel pressured to and eat or drink when we know it to be unhealthy. Or we may avoid items we need to have, because we do not want people to notice that we need something different; we don’t want to feel that we are an inconvenience, and thus treat ourselves poorly in the process. And also, be aware of the temptation to spend money you might not have!

If you are struggling with any of these issues, there is a facilitator at PACE that can help you get through these difficult, yet perhaps pleasant, holidays. Some support groups and worship organizations have programs that help during the difficulties of this time of year. I once saw a poster that said, “The only part of my life I can really control is my ATTITUDE!”

Take a look at the lives you touch this season, and be aware of life circumstances that might make the season difficult for others, or even for yourself.

I hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable. And I hope your holiday season is as stress free as you can make it.

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Be sure to check back next week for more from PACE! And a special reminder – be sure to attend our Independent Living Skills Group on Monday, December 21st at 6 p.m. We’ll discuss this very topic!

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