Holidays can be a difficult time for the LGBTQ+ community. Traditional activities and family relations can be complicated and strained, leaving us feeling raw, overwhelmed, and upset before, during, and after the holidays. It is important to identify ways to support ourselves and stay physically and mentally healthy to better deal with rough situations.
- Before the anxiety of the holidays takes hold, establish someone who is safe, will listen without judgment, and be there for you. Make sure to let this person know what you need from them, including being able to call/text them for support.
- If you’re bringing a partner on an overnight trip to see the family, discuss in advance what will make each of you comfortable with sleeping arrangements, expressing affection, and navigating conversations. Confirm sleeping arrangements with your family before you arrive.
- Holiday traditions can sometimes be confronting and emotionally exhausting or painful. Set boundaries and stick to them. It is also ok to say no thanks and opt out of an event.
- Find your joy! If your usual holiday plans don’t bring you “tidings of comfort and joy,” seek out new activities and traditions that you can look forward to.
- Spend time with your chosen family. Surround yourself with those who respect and affirm your identity and give you strength.
- Avoid doom-scrolling and over consuming social media (Watching cat videos would be much better.)
- Take time for affirmations. Wear the clothing that you feel comfortable in. Settle in with affirming queer media – a book, movie, or your favorite music and podcasts. Create an affirmation and say it out loud whenever you need it. This could include “I am valid.” “I deserve to be supported and loved.” “I am proud of who I am.”
- If social gatherings leave you overwhelmed, make sure to carve out alone time so you can decompress and reenergize yourself.
Self-care plans look different from person to person. Self-care is a way to love and support ourselves when we need it most. It can help us feel calmer, and it can give us a sense of control when things feel out of control.
- Keep up your routine of drinking water, eating regularly, exercising, and getting sleep. Beware of letting these things become coping mechanisms that can lead to more anxiety and depression.
- Use a breathing exercise to help center yourself, especially during times of stress.
- Install a wellness app to help with coping. Check to see if your health insurance plan offers free subscriptions to apps like Headspace or Calm.
- In an emergency, call 911
- Ventura County Crisis Team – if an individual is experiencing a mental health emergency and is otherwise physically and medically stable call 1-866-998-2243
- National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – 24/7 988 | 988lifeline.org/help-yourself
- Trevor Project – 24/7 LGBT+ Suicide Prevention Helpline trevorproject.org | 1-886-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline – Transgender Suicide Prevention Helpline 877-565-8860
- National Institute of Health – for information on caring for your mental health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health
- CenterLink – find an LGBTQ community center in your area https://www.lgbtqcenters.org/LGBTCenters
- Meetup – Search for LGBTQ groups in your area at meetups.com
- PFLAG – for a primer on how to be a good ally during the holiday season https://pflag.org/resource/how-to-ally-for-the-holidays/