The holiday season can be especially triggering for some people, but LGBTQ+ people, especially of color, are more likely than their non-LGBTQ counterparts to experience stress, anxiety, and even depression during this time of the year. Research shows that black and brown queer folks are more likely to experience these symptoms year-round, but the holiday season and returning home for celebrating can exacerbate these symptoms. Even the “most wonderful time of the year” can present plenty of reasons to be stressed like interacting with homophobic relatives and being reminded of the “otherness” within families. Here are some mindful tips to help you get through the holiday stress:
Self-reflect and figure out what you actually want to get out of the holidays or a visit home. This will frame your own expectations for your upcoming trip. Ask yourself what it is you need to do or not do in order to feel about yourself. Just because you are in old environments, doesn’t mean you have to revert back to your past self. Repeat self-accepting mantras to yourself to remind yourself that you have the right to be you and you don’t have to entertain toxic people or places.
The busy holiday season can mean being invited to a million holiday parties and events. Don’t be a ”yes man.” Doesn’t matter if you are talking to your employer, neighbor, or your childhood best friend, always be truthful. If you truly don’t want to go to the office holiday dinner, politely pass on the invitation. Prioritizing your own health and stress isn’t going to offend anyone and it's much better than pretending to enjoy socializing while counting minutes until you can go home.
Getting organized is a proactive way to prevent extremely stressful last-minute situations. Plan ahead by organizing lists, setting a budget, and using a calendar for deadlines and events. Use your favorite apps in order to be able to update them while you are on the go. Create a shopping strategy and stick to your budget in order to avoid any additional anxiety.
Don’t Forget to Have “Me” Time
While not being in your routine environment or having time to follow your usual routine, you have to prioritize making time for yourself. Regardless of what is going on in the day, don’t forget to take some time away from the holiday chaos to do things you enjoy. This can include indulging in a relaxing massage, taking advantage of CBD oil to keep your cool and boost your mood, or even just getting away and hiding out in your room. Having some me-time is a great way to combat the holiday stress.