Sit & Breathe
Any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation, says cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, well known for three decades of research into the health effects of meditation. “The relaxation response [from meditation] helps decrease metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves,” Benson says. Tension and tightness seep away from muscles as the body receives a quiet message to relax.
Furthermore, meditation can alter your reaction to anxiety and depression. “Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return to that focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensations intrude — which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious,” says Dr. John W. Denninger, director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Here are some links to Meditation Challenges & Music:
- 30 Day Meditation Challenge – DoYouYoga
- 30 Day Meditation Challenge – One Mind Dharma
- Meditation Music 1
- Meditation Music 2
Build Coping Skills
What do you enjoy doing? What makes you happy? Take these practices and turn it into a coping skill! Coping skills are tools and techniques you can use to help you handle difficult emotions, decrease stress, and establish or maintain a sense of internal order. For example, running and poetry. I do these tasks every day to not only maintain a healthy body, but mind as well. Even if I only write one line of poetry, the thinking process alone distracts me from the invasive thoughts I had.
Depending on your situation, however, you may want to use either emotion or problem-focused coping skills. Emotion-focused skills help when you need to take care of your feelings when you either don’t want to change your situation or when circumstances are out of your control. Problem-focused skills are applicable when you need to change your situation, perhaps by removing a stressful thing from your life.
For example, if you’re dealing with an emotionally abusive parent, taking time away from them to take care of yourself – such as reading a book or even showering – is an emotion-focused skill, as opposed to setting a boundary, which involves speaking and discussing things with the parent, which is problem-focused.
Here are some links to coping skills worksheets/guides:
- 10+ Coping Skills Worksheets for Adults and Youth
- A List of Coping Skills for Anger, Anxiety & Depression
- University of Washington Coping Skills Worksheets
Keep Community Strong
Though many advise you to stay off social media, communities such as Reddit & even Facebook can be beneficial to your health. For me, communities such as r/ftm and r/FTMMen, among many others, are healthy places where I can find those who can affirm me. Furthermore, Facebook groups for your area, or even just for your community within the LGBTQIA spectrum can be a great way to connect to queer people near and far to feel connected to.
However, if you want something more anonymous than Facebook, TrevorSpace, an online community for LGBTQIA youth aged 13-24 is also an option. I myself have used this rather frequently when I first came out and the connections have done wonders for my mental health.
Finally, try to stay in touch with your chosen family/friends. Whether that be through text message, skype or whatever is easiest to you.
Read Up & Listen to Your Community
While stuck in quarantine, you may have more free time on your hands to consume media than before. Therefore, utilize this time to read up on those who have gone before you, and fought for you to be who you are today. Or, if history is not your thing, there are many LGBTQIA shows to catch up on and music to listen to while you work or just lay in bed.
- Queer Quarantine Survival Songs
- 50 Stellar Songs by LGBTQIA Artists That You Might Have Missed in 2018 – Billboard
- 25 Songs from LGBTQIA Artists You May Have Missed In 2019 – Billboard
- The 15 Best LGBTQIA TV Shows and Movies to Watch Right Now
- The Best LGBTQIA Shows to Watch Right Now
- 150 Essential LGBTQIA TV Shows
Reach Out if You Need Help
The Trevor Project has saved me numerous times when I feel alone and helpless. Therefore, if you start feeling unsafe, please do reach out via the text or call line. There is no shame in it.