Hot Topic: LGBTQ Self Care
20 Tips to Help You Feel A Little More OK
What is Self-Care?
Self-care are any actions you take to de-stress, unwind or cope with day to day stressors of life. It is personal and unique for everyone who practices but the important constant for is that it is important part of staying healthy.
Why is it Important?
For LGBTQ folks, self-care is particularly important because members of this group are often a target for discrimination and stigma. The discrimination and stigma experienced can be very draining and can negatively affect your view of your sexual/gender identity and overall self-worth. So, many LGBTQ folks may find that taking actions toward self-care is a form of self-preservation.
How Can I Start Practicing Self-Care?
Again, self-care is personal and unique – there is no one size fits all model to treating yourself to self-care. What works for you, likely may not work for someone else and vice versa.
But if you’re new to the practice of self-care, see below for some tips to start:
- Take a Break from the Internet. Social media can be a great source for information and even inspiration but it also unfortunately where people can be hateful and negative. So rather than spending your time entertaining negativity energy, take the time to “unplug” from the internet and your apps.
- Binge Watch on LGBTQ-friendly shows and movies. Representation matters. To lift your spirits, follow characters that look like you or love like you in an interesting story line.
- Start Journaling. Take time to unwind by writing your feelings in a journal or notebook. Take the time to reflect on your day or week. Focus on people or things that you are grateful for.
- Create a Vision Board. Have a plan? Or goals? Bring them to light by creating a vision board. That what you can see what it is you want to manifest in life and it can motivate you to keep working toward that vision.
- Be Mindful of Your Emotions. Be kind to yourself. Pay special attention to things that make you happy and things that do not. Do more or what makes you happy! Get in the habit of staying in tune with your emotions.
- Give Yourself Pep Talks. Build up positive self-image by taking the time to look yourself in the mirror and say kind things like “I AM BEAUTIFUL” or “I AM POWERFUL”. Speak positive things into existence so they can become your reality. Start and end your day by reminding yourself about at least one positive thing about yourself/your life.
- Get a therapist. Our society has a long history of stigmatizing but contrary to popular belief there is nothing wrong with using mental health services. Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. You may have family/friends you talk to you might not – either way you may find helpful it to talk about your issues with a trained unbiased It doesn’t hurt to try (at least once 😊).
- “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Yes, self-care is about taking the time to take steps to put yourself first but connecting with others less fortunate than yourself is also a form of self-care. Studies have shown that volunteering helps lessen symptoms of depression.
- Treat Yo’ Self! Begin and end your day or your week by treating yourself to something special. Take a break from your diet and have a cheat day. Try a new face mask. Buy yourself that outfit you’ve had your eyes on. Whatever it is you have been wanting that week treat yourself to it.
- Walk Away from anti-LGBTQ Speech. Whether it’s that awful co-worker you can’t stand or a complete stranger on Facebook—it’s OK to walk away from a toxic conversation of someone saying anti-LGBTQ things. Sometimes reaching out to anti-LGBTQ people with stories, lived experiences and knowledge may change their hateful opinion but sometimes engaging them won’t change them at all. Preserve your energy, and pick & choose your battles.
- Take Care of Your Body. It is important to take of your body for the sake of your health but it can also improve your appearance which is a great self-esteem booster. How is your diet? Are you getting enough sleep? Could you use a little more exercise or physical activity? These are things you can begin to consider to improve as you take actions to improve your physical health.
- Clean/Organize Your Space. Usually this may be a chore or the very last thing you want to do. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, decluttering your physical space could help ease your feelings. Maybe cleaning your entire room or kitchen is a bit too much to take on. It can be something small like changing your bed sheets or clearing your desk.
- Protect Your Peace. Know when you need to take the time to be alone or be near other people – it’s completely okay to take a break from toxic people. This applies to social media also, remember the “mute”, “block”, “unfriend” and “unfollow” buttons are all there for your if you need them.
- Become One with Nature. If you are able to, take a break from the busy city of Baltimore and go for secluded walk in the park. Take in the scenery – take note of the sounds and smells.
- Try A New Recipe. Allow your creative juices flow in your kitchen. Google the recipe of a dish you’ve always wanted to eat and try and make it. You can even make it a bonding activity and invite good company over to help or be a taste tester.
- Book a Spa Day. Take time out of your busy routine to get pampered during a day at the spa. Because honestly, you deserve it.
- Take a Mental Health Day. Feeling exhausted? Or burned out? Take some time of from work to recharge. It will do yourself and your coworkers some good.
- Create a Playlist of Your Favorite Songs. Feeling down? A good playlist can sometimes help to cheer you up. Make a playlist of all the songs that make you feel good. Play it anytime you need an emotional pick me up. Give yourself time to really listen to the music and tune into the positive energy it brings you.
- Try Something New. The routine of our day to day to lives gets boring and may lead to a negative outlook on life. Break out of your patterns and bake a commitment to something new each day or week.
- Forgive Yourself. No one is perfect. Give yourself a break when you make mistakes. If you need to cry – cry. Just acknowledge that it happened, learn from it, and move one!
- Vellner T. 19 tips from LGBT people on how to be a little more OK. Buzzfeed Web site. https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomvellner/lgbt-self-care. Published August 30, 2018.
- Self-Care 101. GSAFE Web site. https://gsafewi.org/resources/for-youth-gsas/doing-health-education/self-care-101/
- Self-care during stressful times. San Francisco LGBT Center Web site. https://www.sfcenter.org/community/self-care-during-stressful-times/. Published September 1, 2018.
- King E. This act of self-care Is an antidepressant that also makes the world better. Brit + Co Web site. https://www.brit.co/volunteering-self-care-mental-health/. Published July 24, 2018.