Lockdown can be an isolating, frustrating or frightening experience for many in the LGBTQ+ community, especially for those living in households where they cannot be their authentic selves. If you feel like you can’t be your true self during this period and your wellbeing is dipping, you are not alone. Our partners at Switchboard have compiled some tips to help you through this difficult time.
Positive thinking can soothe anxious thoughts and help you to affirm your identity. Try to think of statements such as 'I am worthy' and 'I deserve respect'
Think of positive and affirmative examples to validate yourself and help keep your self-esteem healthy and strong. You can also write them down in a notebook.
Something else that you can do is to write a list of things for which you are thankful everyday as a Gratitude Journal. Try to write down three things everyday.
Find LGBTQ+ stories that can inspire or entertain you. There are tons of films on streaming services, online podcasts and books available
A simple search on Google can reveal a lot of film titles. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon have LGBTQ+ curated lists. Apple Music, YouTube Music and Spotify offer podcasts and playlists with LGBTQ+ artists, including The Log Books series, made in partnership with Switchboard. Online bookstores such as Waterstones and Amazon also have a great range of book titles - and many public libraries are still open for Click & Collect.
Search and read about LGBTQ+ history and important figures. They can inspire and reassure your identity
This is a great way to remember that you are not alone and things will get better eventually. Look up important moments in history such as Stonewall and the people who made them happen. There are amazing stories about pivotal events, including inspirational figures such as Harvey Milk, Masha P. Johnson and many more.
Keep a simple token or piece of clothing close to you that reminds you of your identity
Symbols can be powerful so keep something close to yourself, in a private place if possible, as a reminder of your identity. Look at them or wear them from time to time so they can bring you comfort and remind you of who you are.
Connect with other LGBTQ+ people online through forums and supporting websites
There is plenty of online help available, not only counselling but also information and people available to listen and have a conversation. Some organisations include Switchboard (a helpline that provides online and phone support), Trevor Space (for forums and online chat), LGBT Foundation, Galop and Terrence Higgins Trust. Some of them also hold online events such as workshops and support groups to help and keep you connected virtually to other people.
Think of activities you enjoy and things you can do at home or around your house, such as drawing or just moving your body
For moments when you are feeling low, doing a bit of exercise can help your mind and body to relax. Exercising your brain is also important, so consider activities that you enjoy or always wanted to try, no matter how experienced you are. Drawing, writing and colouring are some of the things you can try.
Do some grounding exercises, which could be a good way to support yourself, such as hugging yourself or massaging your hands
Other grounding exercises that could be useful:
- Connect with your heartbeat, your breath or even just the touch of your skin - breathe in and out five times.
- Notice your points of contact with the floor e.g. your feet on the floor.
- Feel different textures.
- 5-4-3-2-1 exercise, look around and name:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste.
And if you are struggling to cope, you can always text SWITCHBOARD to 85258 for free, confidential, silent, support, 24/7. You will be put in contact with a trained volunteer over text, who will help support you to a calm and safe place.