First, I would like to wish you warm, happy, and healthy holidays. I wish you all that your heart desires (and is good for you in the New Year).
I do want to talk about something that is somewhat off my usual hearing health topic, but it is important. I really feel the need to share my thoughts.
I’ve been seeing many come in over the last few weeks and I have to say, it’s a rough time. It’s a difficult, isolating tough few weeks with the Covid surge, and especially now that the cold weather is here and the holidays are upon us.
The first thing I want to say is: now is not the time to let your guard time. Stay vigilant. You’ve been doing this for the last ten months, so make it worth it. If you do plan on seeing friends or family, think up of a plan to do it in safe manner. I know you know this- but don’t let your guard down. It will be all worth it when you come out of this well and healthy.
The second thing I want to say is: if you aren’t planning on visiting with anyone for the holidays, that doesn’t mean you should stop connecting with those you care about. Don’t be complacent about it. Pick up the phone and ask about that friend you haven’t talked to in a while. See how they’re doing. Ask them if they’re ok. Tell that what’s happening with you. Facetime them or video chat if it is easier for you both. Don’t stop connecting just because you cannot physically see each other.
The third thing I want to talk about is pulling yourself out of that funk you’re in. How will you do it? What’s your plan? Are you able to talk to someone through it? A family member, a friend, a professional? Try not to let it fester.
How do you cheer yourself up? I’ll tell you about something I like to do that works: give someone you care about some part of your time. Do something meaningful to them. Send them a small gift. Do a small act of kindness. Give to others, not because you expect anything in return, but because giving feels good. Yes- you heard me. Giving is selfish. I learned people do it because it makes them feel good and for that reason I have learned to do it too.
Another thing to consider: what is your plan? I mean- what is your plan when quarantining and Covid times have passed? What do you want to do? I bet you’ve thought about it a lot. I want you to take a piece of paper and write down all the things you want to do again. Put it up on fridge or somewhere and know that you will get there. Plan for it, hope, and believe those days will come…and when they do, it will be sweet and totally worth the wait. I promise for you and me.
Last- and I’m putting my audiology hat on:
Actively reach out and connect with your friends and loved ones, and if you’re using technology to do it (like zoom, and videochat, and facetimes and such), here are some house rules you may want to have so that you have the best chance at communicating effectively:
1-make sure you have good lighting so that people can see your face and speechread.
2-talk slowly and enunciate.
3-one person speaks at a time. So maybe wave or agree to a visual indication that the next person is going to comment.
4-if you missed something someone said, don’t ask “what?” but indicate what you heard and what you didn’t. For example, “I heard you went shopping but I didn’t catch the last part”
5-if someone missed what you said, don’t repeat it, but rephrase it. They will have a better chance of understanding what you said when it’s rephrased.
I wish you well and all that is good for you and your family and friends in the coming year.
Yasmin Battat, AuD
Oracle Hearing Center, LLC