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    Knowing When To Walk Away, And 11 More Ways LGBTQ+ People Can Practice Self-Care During The Holidays

    The holiday season can be a particularly stressful time for LGBTQ+ folks.

    According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 has been the highest recorded year for "fatal violence against the transgender and gender non-conforming community" in the US since it started tracking it in 2013. Many queer and transgender people find themselves in awkward situations when going home, or not feeling welcome. Here are some ways you can make sure to take care of yourself this holiday season.

    1. Listen to your body

    A person with a full arm tattoo sleeve, a cross earring and a mohawk style hairstyle puts a shirt on over their black binder.
    Alfonso Sangiao / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Whether you're wearing a binder under your Christmas sweater or showing off your new body, it is very important to listen to your body! Remember that all trans bodies are beautiful! All queer bodies are beautiful! All bodies are beautiful! Don't forget to take breaks from wearing a binder or uncomfortable clothes. (Please bind safely and responsibly.)

    How to Safely Bind

    2. Dress for yourself

    A stunning person in full makeup with a black sparkly top, a black belt, and a rainbow skirt. They have a brown beard and curly hair that changes from brown to blonde
    Hiraman / Getty Images

    There might be a lot of pressure to dress how your family wants you to, but if it's safe to do so, make sure to dress for yourself. It might take some time for people to get used to your new look, but they're blessed to be seeing the REAL you.

    3. Find a comfort show, song, album, movie, etc.

    "Girl In Red" plying the electric guitar in singing with a brown t- shirt, blue jeans, and a black baseball cap. There is a blinding pink stage light behind her.
    Rich Fury / Getty Images

    Your favorite "Girl in Red" song could come in handy when you need a way to plug in and escape. Entertainment can make us feel seen or distract us from the world we see above the screen.

    4. PLANTS!!!

    Two stylish people smiling and taking care of plants outdoors.
    Sarah Mason / Getty Images

    This hobby has lots of benefits to it! Getting your hands dirty and taking care of plants could boost your energy and produce oxygen in your space! 

    5. Be creative

    An art piece of two queer black women kissing.
    Ievgeniia Kupchan / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Grab a paintbrush or a guitar! You don't have to be an artist to make art; express how you're feeling and delve into your creative outlet.

    6. Remember a mantra

    Two lesbians on their wedding day smiling and staring at each other with awe.
    Kelvin Murray / Getty Images

    Have a mantra to repeat to yourself just in case. Family members like to challenge LGBTQ+ identities, and having a reminder to repeat to yourself could help. One example is repeating, "I am enough," or, "I am exactly who I need to be."

    7. BREATHE!

    A person with a yellow beanie, glasses, earrings, and a jacket breathing in the air surrounded by fall trees
    Kilito Chan / Getty Images

    You're most likely going to be in stressful situations, because let's face it: The holidays are filled with a lot of anxiety! Having a go-to breathing exercise can help calm your nerves and focus on what's important, YOU!

    8. Connect with your body

    A woman in a red checkerboard dress flexing her muscles and smiling.
    Brit Worgan / Getty Images

    Some days it can be hard to just get out of bed, but on your "bones day" make sure to move your body! Dancing, running, walking, etc. — do what feels right and joyful for your body.

    9. Chosen family

    A group of 6 people laughing on the rooftop of a city building.
    Ricardoimagen / Getty Images

    Remember that sometimes family doesn't have to be who you are born with. If you don't feel safe being around your family, surround yourself with friends who love and support you.

    10. Know when to walk away

    Brown boots and black leggings standing on a rainbow painted crosswalk in the rain.
    Studiomikara / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Follow your gut; if being around your family is too much, it's too much. Your mental health is the priority. Always have a backup plan if you're able to. 

    11. Connect with your therapist

    A woman with blue braids talking to her therapist online.
    Renata Angerami / Getty Images

    Not everyone is able to have a therapist, but if you are, connecting with your therapist can be incredibly helpful. Setting up a plan for the holidays and expressing what could cause you anxiety can be very useful. 

    12. And finally, know when to ask for help

    A arm  reaching and grabbing another arm
    Kelvin Murray / Getty Images

    You may feel hopeless during the holidays, your identity might feel invalidated, and maybe you feel alone. You are not alone — you are loved. If you need to talk to someone, please check out these LGBTQ+ friendly suicide prevention hotlines...  

    Elderly LGBTQ Hotline

    All Ages LGBTQ Hotline

    The Trevor Project LGBTQ+ Youth Helpline

    Trans Hotline