It Can Be Hard
The Holidays can be a rough time of the year. For some queer folks, going home for Holidays is sometimes not even an option. In a Bustle article, Marissa Higgins empathizes with queer folks by pointing out how “It's also useful to remember that while some LGBTQ[+] people are not explicitly estranged from family, they may choose to avoid or limit family interactions for their mental or physical health. This, too, is valid! What's more, coming out to family is a complicated process for many people, and just because someone is out in their daily life, or to their friends, does not mean they feel safe coming out to family.” With this in mind, let’s explore four practical self-care ideas for queer people of all ages.
#1. Practice Healthy Personal Boundaries
What are personal boundaries? Dr. Julie De Azevedo Hanks, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker defines boundaries as “what enable us to define ourselves as unique individuals while simultaneously allowing us to interact with others. Where and how we set our boundaries moderates our balance between being a distinct individual and being interconnected with others.”
Setting boundaries are about taking personal responsibility to state what you like, dislike and it’s also advocating for your emotional and physical safety. It also allows you to belong to your self and your values and opinions while respecting others who may think differently than you.
To further expound on the idea of boundaries, Hanks often uses a fence analogy. She explains, “If your boundaries are weak, they’re like a fence without strong posts that can easily be pushed over. On the other hand, if your boundaries are too rigid, it’s as if you’ve built a high stone wall with no gate to enter or exit. Whether you’re aware of this or not, you decide what kind of a fence you’ll build and what comes in and out of your personal space—physical and emotional.”
The University of California compares different types of boundaries in the table below…
Hanks helps individuals detect when boundaries are weak by encouraging people to reflect on when they have feelings of resentment. For instance, when we start resenting someone it oftentimes stems from a lack on our part to say “no.” In other words, it means our boundaries have been breached and we need to be more clear to others.
For additional help with setting healthy boundaries, click here.
#2. Connect with Friends
Finding someone to hang out with is a great way to cope during the Holidays. Plan a “Friendsgiving” or see what is going on locally. Being around people who allow you to be yourself is very rejuvenating and important. Apps such as Bumble or Marco Polo are great for finding friends and connecting to people too.
#3. Read a Queer Memoir
Reading queer memoir’s can be affirming, educational and relaxing for queer folks.
#4. Treat Yo Self!
Give yourself permission to spoil yourself this Holiday season by taking the day off, eating at your favorite restaurant, going on a trip just for you, going to a concert or enjoying a warm bubble bath. Treat yourself how you would treat your closest friend.
Ally Tip of the Day
Be aware of the diversity of trans & genderqueer lives. Keep in mind how these identities are part of other identities, and intersect with race, class, sexual orientation, age, immigration status, etc.*
*Tip provided by LGBTQIA.ucdavis.edu
About The Author
Sarah Bridges is a board member of FHHRP and an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Sarah has a degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health. She is originally from Arizona but calls Manhattan, Kansas her home. In her spare time she enjoys hosting book clubs with her partner, hiking, yoga or painting with her strong little girl.