The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, but for homeless or disabled individuals, they can be especially difficult. It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and that if you are feeling depressed or suicidal it’s imperative to reach out for help.
This time of year is especially difficult when you don’t have social or family support nearby, so consider making an effort to join a support group, getting involved in a local club or charity organization, or simply get together with friends. Having a circle of support will help you gain self-confidence and will give you a place to vent when you feel you need to reach out.
Here are a few of the best ways to get through the holiday season.
Create or attend an event
The holidays are a time for celebrating, so if you cannot hold your own gathering, why not look for a community event or party happening near you? Local community centers, senior center, drop-in centers, art galleries, and other groups may be organizing events that are open to the public. Ask your local community organization or check this site. Getting involved will give you a sense of purpose and will help you feel like a part of your community.
Spruce up your house
Living with a disability means you aren’t always able to do all the things you’d like to do around the house. Recruit some help – from a friend, family member, or volunteer – to come and assist you in decorating your home for the holidays or making small repairs. For bigger concerns, such as making your home more accessible, look online, because you may be eligible for federal assistance where making upgrades is concerned.
The holidays are a difficult time to be alone. If you feel the onset of depression – sleeping too much or too little, withdrawing from friends and family, experiencing changes in appetite, or abusing substances – reach out. There are support groups, counselors, and loved ones who will be happy to help you through this difficult time.
Do something just for you
Being kind to yourself and practicing self-care is important. Find something that makes you happy in a healthy way and do it as much as possible over the holiday season, whether it’s playing a game of basketball, carving out time to read, or a creative endeavor such as making art or writing.
Coping with the holidays can be hard. Find ways to reduce your stress, such as daily exercise, meditation, getting enough rest, or working or volunteering with animals. Dogs, especially, have been known to combat stress and anxiety; in fact, simply petting a dog has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure.
Brought to you by guest contributor Jennifer Scott of SpiritFinder.org.