Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Be Sensitive During the Holidays

The holiday season has arrived, and all the stores are decked out with decorations. Many ads on TV and the radio are trying to sell all of their holiday stuff. Radio stations are playing Christmas music. It is a time of joy and happiness…for most people.

Keep in mind that this season may be a tough time for some students.

Many people with mental illness or stress disorders have a tough time during holidays. The excitement and holiday spirit can be overwhelming and overstimulating. They may need a quieter environment. You can still show you care about these people but understand that they may need periods of quietness. They may seem withdrawn and you can acknowledge this and be there for them but don’t try to force them to join in the festivities.

This has been a tough year for many during the pandemic. Some may have lost a loved one or has a loved one who is hospitalized or sick. They may not feel so joyful so try not to keep reminding them through your joy and actions how much they have lost or are in danger of losing. You might spend some time with them and encourage them to talk about their loved ones. Ask them to share good memories.

Businesses may have had to shut down. Students may have parents who have lost their jobs. They are uncertain about their living conditions or even the food they will have to eat. You might contact the parents and ask if there is anything you can do to help the family, even if it is just to show you care. Students may worry about Christmas gifts so you can help them by doing class activities where they can make handmade gifts. Encourage these students to share their worries with you privately. Sometimes you can’t do anything else but listen and it can help the students to share their feelings with someone. They may not want to do this with their parents and add more worries to them.

This year has been a year full of changes and sometimes changes can happen weekly. Many of my students hated holidays out of school because they needed the structure and routine every day. They may start misbehaving or acting out of character. Have a class discussion about how changes during the holiday can affect our moods. Sometimes it helps to bring this out in the open. Have students offer suggestions about how to deal with this because these suggestions might help their peers.

What other situations have I left off that might cause the holiday season to be stressful? Please share.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

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