It’s the holidays and while for many it means spreading cheer and joy, for others it could be a time of loneliness and depression that just perpetuates the struggles we face as members of the LGBTQ+ community. It seems that during these times our relationships become more complicated which fills our stockings with a bunch of unwanted anxiety. For LGBTQ+ youth, this could be an especially daunting experience since they are just learning to navigate through the plight of the queer existence.
That is why during this time of year it is particularly important to practice self-care so that we may stay grounded and focus on the positive aspects of our lives.
The Trevor Project has put together a list of holiday self-care tips for LGBTQ+ youth (but that can be used by everyone!).
They remind us:
Self-care plans can look very different from one another — they’re just as diverse and unique as the people who use them! Before creating one, it is important to remember that whatever you are feeling is completely valid. You are not wrong for having your feelings, and you deserve to feel supported and loved for all that you are. Sometimes, though, we don’t get that love and support from the people who are supposed to love and support us. Self-care can be a way to love and support ourselves when we need it most.
The reality is that some LGBTQ young people will spend the holidays with family; and for others, the holidays are a reminder of the loss of and the rejection from their families. Homelessness, violence, and suicidal thoughts affect LGBTQ youth uniquely and profoundly, and the holidays can be particularly difficult while alone.
As you enter a holiday gathering, it is important to remember that our identities are not contingent upon our family’s ability to understand or validate them.
Practicing self-care can help calm you down and allows you to reclaim control during moments when you feel there is none.
Here are some tips:
- Find a friend or other supportive person with whom you can talk about your feelings. If there is an opportunity, be a part of your own gathering with this chosen family. This can be before, instead of, or after family gatherings.
- Know you are not alone. Find that support system and plan with them if you will be attending a holiday gathering where you feel alone. This could be in person or even someone who can text/call you throughout the event to make sure you’re okay.
- Create an affirmation to repeat in your head if/when you are feeling anxious or upset.
- Dress as yourself. Use this opportunity to be creative. Wear clothing or accessories that you feel the most comfortable in as a reaffirming testament to who you are. It helps you to know that you have dressed for yourself and during uncomfortable situations knowing you have on that necklace, cool pair of socks, undergarment, or your favorite cute t-shirt can help remind you that you are present and important.
- If holiday gatherings are not your thing, it’s great to do something you love. Watch your favorite TV shows or movies, create art, write, read, take a relaxing bath, cook, exercise, or do something that makes you feel comforted. Indulge yourself! Celebrate yourself!
We all want to be safe and wish the best for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t let the holidays be a roadblock on your path toward happiness. Self-care is essential, for everyone, and it is a powerful way to show ourselves the love we deserve.
The Trevor Project is available for you 24/7 if you need additional support at 1-866-488-7386. You can reach out to their caring and compassionate counselors through Lifeline, Chat, and Text programs where you can talk about anything you are going through.
Stay happy during the holidays!
h/t: The Trevor Project