The holidays are coming up fast. Really fast. Before we know it, we will all be back home from school or out of town for the winter holidays. Winter break is usually seen as an escape from the horrors of high school, college, or stress of everyday life, but for LGBTQ people, the break can be difficult, or even dangerous. Queer people often face discrimination, harassment, and isolation from family members, especially older folks or folks less connected to the immediate family, like grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other family members. For people with unsupportive families, the holidays can be the hardest time of the year. Because of these hardships, self care is critical. Here are some tips for self care during winter break!
Have a safe space in mind
Have somewhere in mind where you can go to relax and take some time for yourself if things become too much. The bathroom, a storage room, or your bedroom would work well for this.
Reach out to the people in your life that you trust and who love and support you. Keep your chosen family and friends close and talk to them when you need them. Love and support can be a great coping mechanism!
Keep distractions handy
Having reasons to leave conversations and ways to keep negative ideas out of your head is a great idea. I recommend a nice bath, doing your homework (I know you have some), taking a nap, reading books, calling friends, walking the dog (or cat, or just yourself), and exercising.
Check in with yourself
It might be easy in times of stress to forget to eat, sleep, and drink water, but make sure that you are taking care of your physical needs so that you can focus your energy on your mental health. Try to drink water, wash your face, take your meds (if you need to), eat every few hours, and sleep 8 hours.
Remember that this is temporary
Winter break will end. It might be longer, more awkward, and more painful than you might want it to be, but it will end. If you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and remember that you will be back to school with your chosen family soon.
About the Author:
Andrew Adams is a transgender college freshman at the University of Central Florida who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. Nationally, Andrew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Andrew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Andrew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Andrew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.