December 14, 2022
It’s that time of year again—a time for joy, cheer, and good tidings. But for many members of the LGBTQIA+ community, the holidays can be a difficult and lonely experience. With family, gatherings come questions about partners and living situations and expectations to fit into outdated gender roles. While it’s important to remember that some families are incredibly supportive, it isn’t uncommon to feel overwhelmed or even isolated during this season. Here is a look at why winter can be especially tough on our community, as well as tips on how to cope with these difficult times.
The Stigma of Being Out During the Holidays
For many people in the LGBTQIA+ community, coming out is not a choice but a necessity. Unfortunately, due to societal stigma and discrimination, there are still those who do not feel comfortable being open about their identity in public or around family members. This sense of loneliness is amplified during the holidays when family gatherings become an expectation rather than an option. Even if members of the LGBTQIA+ community are accepted by their families, it isn’t uncommon for them to feel like they must put on a “front” to fit into rigid gender norms or appease certain relatives who may not be quite so understanding.
Finding Support Online
For those struggling with feelings of isolation during this time of year, it can be helpful to seek support online through social media outlets or online forums specifically designed for connecting with others in your situation. Having someone else who understands what you’re going through can help you realize that you are not alone—and that things will get better eventually. It can also be beneficial to take advantage of local resources such as organizations that offer counseling services specifically tailored toward helping members of the LGBTQIA+ community work through any emotional issues they may be facing related to their identity.
Cultivating Self-Care Practices
When dealing with depression or anxiety due to the winter blues, it’s important to practice self-care both physically and emotionally. Taking care of your body is essential - make sure you get enough restful sleep; eat healthy meals; move your body; take vitamins & supplements; drink plenty of water; take breaks from technology; stay organized; stick to routines & schedules; practice mindful activities such as yoga & meditation, and set boundaries with yourself & others when necessary. It's also important to nurture your emotional well-being - talk about your feelings with trusted friends & family members; express yourself through art forms such as music or painting; find creative outlets for stress relief like writing & journaling; seek out professional help if needed; find positive affirmations that resonate with you; recognize what triggers negative emotions in you so you can better prepare yourself for them in advance; acknowledge your accomplishments no matter how small they may seem at first - these all go a long way towards helping manage mental health issues related to the winter blues!
The holidays can often bring up uncomfortable topics for members of the LGBTQIA+ community—especially if they have yet come out publicly or have not been accepted by their families yet. While it may seem daunting at first, taking small steps towards finding support from both online resources and local organizations can make all the difference in getting through these sometimes trying times. Remembering that you are never alone is perhaps one of the most important lessons we all must learn during this special season!