By Madalyn McKnight
It’s the start of the holiday season, and I have to remind people to be sensitive to others who dread everything that comes with living through the next couple of months this year. Here are some tips for you to make this season comfortable for yourself and those you hold dear:
Leave my physical changes out of conversations. If I have lost weight or gained weight, you may not be aware of what prompted the change. I could have worked for it, or I may be under a lot of stress. Be mindful of the words you use. Try using genuine compliments, and keep the conversation positive. Remember that you have to give respect to receive it. I am not a child; I can correct you politely and give you many things to ponder on about yourself!
Check on your friends who have lost parent(s), siblings, friends or anyone else who has a hard time experiencing joyous occasions without the ones they hold dear. Give them extra love, give them space, and make yourself available to be a shoulder. Listen to fond stories and memories, and encourage them to dwell on the good. Let them know they will get through this season and every other year!
Spend the holidays with the people you hold dear. Just because a family member throws a celebration does not mean you have to attend. Give thanks and break bread with those who matter to YOU! Friendsgiving is a great way to gather with your besties and bask in the blessings in your respective lives. There is nothing wrong with being unconventional or nontraditional. Dwell in spaces that make you comfortable.
Volunteer somewhere or everywhere: Spend a few weekends at a shelter volunteering your time. Sing carols. Deliver goods, blankets, goats, gloves, and socks, and take a few moments visiting with the less fortunate. This season is meant for togetherness, and what better way to focus on that than lending your light to help others’ lights shine!
Do not put your mental health on a shelf in the hustle and bustle: People travel and make plans, and there are always gatherings and events to attend this season. However, remember not to stop seeing your therapist, using healthy coping mechanisms, and staying safe. This time of year can bring a flood of emotions, and you owe it yourself to take care of yourself. If more help is required, ask for it. If money is tight, do what you can afford to do and try not to stress about it!
All in all, give thanks and be gracious. The world needs a lot more than just presents!
Madalyn McKnight is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. A rare blackbird who has the range and a young black professional with impactful words! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @singsongblackbird and twitter @singsongblckbrd