The Myriad Challenges of the Season.

Holidays are a time that should bring joy but often bring feelings of isolation and sadness. It should be a time when we count our blessings, but holidays often are a time when we count and remember the losses in our lives. This can be especially true for those who are living in a new country. These may be holidays they have never celebrated or understand. This is a time when the majority needs to understand the challenges that a minority of its citizens may be facing.

Here is a challenge question from the game Bounce Back, a serious card game that can teach participants the skills and attitudes of resilience asking them to respond to challenges that they are someone close to them might face. Participants must use the skills and the attitudes of resilience to manage the challenge.

So here’s the question: you are new to this country. You just arrived here a few months ago. You have made few friends and are having difficulty learning the language. The current holiday you don’t understand. You and your community in the country you came from never celebrated the holiday. You’re feeling even more isolated and alone.

Try to place yourself in this person’s situation. What would you do? Give some thought to this. Every talk with a friend or family member about how they would deal with this challenge.

Some of the skills and attitudes of resilience that we think would be helpful would be the following. Try to talk with other people about the holiday and try to learn about it. Ask questions. Talk about how you’re feeling. Find someone who will listen to you. Try to be flexible and be open to the learning process. Try to deal with your feelings. Let them out either by yourself or someone else. Try to be optimistic. You came here to make a new home for yourself perhaps not because you wanted to but you felt you had to. You will learn the language. You will make friends. You will create a new home for yourself and your family.

You may have come up with other skills and attitudes that you could use. Again talk to someone about the situation and realize that this challenges faced by many people this time of year.

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.

Image credit:  ‘Santa’s Portrait’ by Thomas Nast via Wikimedia – CC0 Public Domain