Self-care is an important part of every individual’s life. However, within the LGBTQI+ community and other minority groups, it requires even more attention as the members of the community are more likely to face various ways of discrimination and well-being issues, sometimes even not being aware of it. As such it is important to take care of ourselves.
1. Be a mindful consumer
Social media are known to be responsible for causing decrease in mental health.
The minority groups also suffer a backlash from the mainstream entertainment outlets as they often lack or mistreat their LGBTIQ+ characters. This phenomenon is called “queer-baiting” and refers to shows, books, etc where the minority characters are used as a marketing tool, while being badly treated by the writers, often sending a disconcerting message to the LBTQI+ community. Make sure your entertainment isn’t actually badly affecting your well-being. Reach for more representative media, find books and shows written by minorities and producing a positive view of the community. Podcasts are also a good and tested way as they allow producers to be more independent with their content.
2. Connect with the community
If you feel like you can benefit from socialising with others, consider participating in LGBTQI+ events. Those can really benefit your mental health and help you find people who understand your situation. You can do this in various ways – attending support groups (like Outcrowd), joining or participating in events lead by LGBTQI+ societies or attending a queer-led performance (a drag show, a concert, a variety show) or even finding yourself a pen pal. The best part is that as much as you will find accepting and like-minded individuals, the diversity within the community guarantees you will also learn about experiences of individuals of different orientation than your own, which can be a beautiful and eye-opening experience.
3. Learn about the LGBT people who paved the way
Not only will you educate yourself about the struggles the community has faced and overcame, which can be very uplifting in the face of sometimes unpleasant news, but it is very likely you will find out about people who have experienced similar issues and how they dealt with them. This can be a very inspirational process and give you hope for a better tomorrow that’s sure to come.
4. Don’t be afraid to seek help
We all know that sometimes life can be a little too much, it is important to realise that asking for help and reaching out to other people only makes us stronger. Find a support system that you are sure to trust and willing to share your hopes and fears with, be it family, friends, counsellors or online friends. If you’d prefer to talk to someone from outside your personal life or you’re still building your support network and would like to share with someone, you can always e-mail us at email@example.com or call 01483 727 667.
5. Get out there and do something!
Being proactive can be a very good way to improve your mental health. Being involved in the life of the community makes you feel more like a part of it, and the feeling of belonging can easily lift your spirits. Activities such as volunteering, might also give you some needed brain space, when you don’t think about your problems and can work as a mental break. Not mentioning all the wonderful people, you will have the opportunity to meet. You can get involved in many ways, be it helping in organising events such as Pride or LGBTQI+ workshops or finding a charity with goals you would like to help with. It can be a one-time thing or a continuous commitment, as always find something that excites and suits you and your capabilities.
6. It’s OK to walk away from a conversation that is anti-LGBTQ
Under no circumstances are you obligated to stay in any conversation. It’s ok to walk away from a toxic conversation of someone saying anti-LGBTQ things. As people we have the ability to evolve and touch other people with our stories and lived experiences. However, quite often we will face people who are will not change their minds about certain issues. It is not your obligation to try and persuade them, neither does exiting the situation makes you a bad person. Our emotional wellbeing is the most important thing and situations in which we feel the need to defend ourselves are often tiring and stressful. There is no shame in walking away from those things. You might be able to change the opinions of some people but you need to be well to do that.