Is a crucial element of wellbeing and very individual to each one of us…however here are a few ways to take care of ourselves that we know work.
Be true to yourself – It’s freeing to be able to live as your true self, especially in the face of adversity – and that means looking for safe spaces where you can talk about both your LGBTQ identity and your mental health.
Keep your distance from people who don’t accept you – It’s obviously very difficult to avoid people completely especially if you’re dependent on a parent, family member, or boss for your well being or livelihood – you can’t just avoid these people completely. But you can set boundaries and keep your distance if you’re not feeling up to seeing them
In a perfect world, we could spend time helping people understand the LGBTQ experience. Sadly, though, some people don’t want to learn or aren’t open to changing their minds. Spending lots of time and energy on difficult relationships is only going to wear you out. Your time would be better spent doing something positive for yourself and finding people, peers who really get and can support you.
Read LGBTQ books, poetry and watch queer films….. listen to LGBTQ music. Look for culture that you identify with and which reflects your experience. It’s about finding cool stuff that you like and also getting a deeper understanding of the wider LGBTQ experience and how complex and diverse a community we are a part of.
Make contact with other LGBTQ people – this can be hard if you feel isolated and alone. Whether it’s an online community or a local group, branching out to find more support from LGBTQ people is an important part of self care. Sharing our stories and experiences helps to validate our feelings and remind us we’re not alone. Talking to others who can share your experiences can make you feel great about your identity, and it’s important to have an outlet to vent frustrations and celebrate our victories with. MindOut’s peer support groups could be good start.
Get out there, be heard or do something – Finding the money to donate to causes can be difficult. But volunteering can be a great way to connect with your community and give something back – an important step in recovery. So if you can do either of those things in any capacity, that’s great! If you can’t, don’t feel guilty – many people aren’t ready to volunteer or give back and they need to concentrate on looking after themselves. You can also support causes online by sharing articles or petitions with friends.
By expressing yourself and being heard you can make a difference. Small actions that help you connect with others can lead to greater things.