[Image ID: Amanda, a white woman with dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, is sitting in a chair with high wooden back. She is wearing a black top with a taupe suit jacket and has a silver necklace and hoop earrings on. On her left is an end table with a vase and planter holding plants. On the wall behind her is a clock hanging on a wooden paneled wall.] It's a fact that as we approach the holiday season, we know that people have a wide variety of responses: looking forward, not looking forward, nervous, or stressed. So now, with that in mind, let's talk about the experiences of a person who is deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or late deafened. And what their experiences might be at holiday  gatherings where they don't have full access to communication.When that happens, we tend to feel lonely.I want to share some ideas on how to feel less lonely during those times. And how to reduce anxious feelings or stressed feelings during gatherings that you might experience as a deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or late deafened person.When you try to engage into conversation, you might feel different or feel that it is not 100% accessible. What you could do is bring something that makes you feel safe and comfortable. Bring it to the gathering and whenever you feel lonely, anxious, or stressed, you could connect with that item. you could connect with that item. Or bring a close family friend, or a good friend that knows your family and will make you comfortable.And before you go to that family gathering, go ahead and set up, make, or list mantras.You could type it out on your phone, write it, or memorize it. Mantras are short saying or passage that you can use to help yourselves, use it to talk to yourself internally. When you feel lonely, anxious, or stressed, take the time to remind yourself of your mantra. For exampleWhen I feel lonely, I tell myself that I know my self-worth, I am a wonderful person, I have a lot to give. It is a bummer that my family doesn't know what I can give but the important thing is that I know my own self-worth. It's a positive energy to invest into yourself in times when you feel lonely.


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