For many people in the LGBTQ community, going home for the holidays is not an option. That's why it's so important to have self-care options for the queer community, especially at this time of year. While some people enjoy the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and prioritize family ties, the social pressure to be with family can feel isolating for queer people who simply don't have the option; indeed, many queer people are estranged from their families due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, which can make family-focused holidays feel particularly lonely. Having some strategies on hand to combat this loneliness, though, can make a world of difference.
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 that just because someone is out in their daily life, or to their friends, does not mean they feel safe coming out to family.
So, for queer people who are spending the holidays without family, how can we keep our spirits up and take care of ourselves? Spend some time on your own self-care, of course! Self-care is different for everybody, but it can feel especially good to celebrate your queer identity when you're feeling isolated because of it.
Check out the following tips for ways to practice self-care if you're alone over the holidays, and be sure to reach out to people you trust if you need someone to talk to or some extra support.
1Establish Personal Boundaries
Remind yourself that your mental health and happiness come first. If you can't be in contact with your family at all over the holidays, that is OK. If you feel comfortable only being in touch with certain people, or in certain situations, that is also OK. Ultimately, establishing boundaries that protect yourself is the most important thing for you to do.
2Watch Queer Films
Luckily for us, there are tons of queer movies to watch if you're planning to spend a few days cuddled up on your couch. Sure, there are tons of popular LGBTQ titles from the last few years; Carol, Blue is the Warmest Color, and the recent The Handmaiden and Moonlight all come to mind. But there are also LGBTQ films from a wide variety of eras on Netflix that range from happy to sad to educational.
3Read Works By Queer Authors
In the same vein as watching queer film, the holiday season can be a great time to curl up with some tea and a few good books. There is a ton of queer literature that goes way back in time, as well as plenty of awesome contemporary stuff, too. You can even comb through queer young adult fiction, comic books featuring queer characters, and plenty of queer-focused zines if you're looking for works that are a little off the beaten path.
4Journal What's On Your Mind
If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to write down everything that's happening in your head. Putting your thoughts and feelings into words can be so helpful in determining what needs to happen to make you feel happier, safer, and healthier.
5Celebrate Your Accomplishments
When you're alone over the holidays, it's easy to blame yourself or criticize yourself and your identity. Taking the time to sit down and recognize all of the wonderful things about yourself and all of your accomplishments can do a world of good for your self-esteem and self-image. It's not indulgent to recognize the good in yourself!
6Reach Out To Your Fellow Queer Community
If you're feeling alone around the holidays, it's safe to assume that many other LGBTQ identified people feel the same way. Even if someone isn't feeling lonely, it's still really meaningful to reach out and see how others are doing and remind them that they're not alone. Even if someone can't meet for coffee or a movie, simply exchanging a few messages on Facebook might make a positive impact in someone's day.