1. Write or draw the LGBT characters you want to see.
Art and writing are major outlets for me. I love being able to create and write my own characters so I can create more representation in art and writing for the LGBT community.
2. Watch a comedy (bonus points if it has queer characters).
Watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine! Comedies are always great for your mood, and one with non-problematic queer characters is even better. Even though Holt and Rosa are fictional, I love how nonchalant they can be about their sexuality. It's not a huge deal; they're just existing and engaging in the same shenanigans as their colleagues.
3. Bake in your skivvies.
Baking cookies in my undies while singing show tunes is one of the best ways to wind down.
4. Indulge in some retail therapy (even if you just browse online!).
I love to just browse on Amazon or my favorite stores! It's soothing to just look at stuff without putting too much effort into thinking about it. I especially like looking at pride stuff because it makes me happy.
5. Gas yourself up.
It’s kinda like meditation, but not really: I just like to sit down and think about why I love myself/who I am. It sounds simple, but it’s like a little inner pep talk that’s just for you.
6. Get lost in cross-stitching.
I'm the type of person that will pick up a new hobby only to put it down again a week later, but cross-stitching is something I always come back to. I would find myself spending hours on a design and not even knowing how much time had passed. It doesn't require a lot of skill either, just following the pattern. As a leftie who's always had issues picking up knitting and crochet, this is the hobby for me!
7. Find a therapist if you have the means.
Thankfully I have insurance that provides therapy at a low copay for my anxiety. It is helpful every other week to have someone that I can unload on, talk through my thoughts, and just recenter with no judgement, bias, or agenda of their own.
8. Learn how to knit.
One thing I’ve recently done for myself is learn how to knit. There are days where I’ll just spend a couple hours knitting and listening to podcasts and it is so soothing and great self-care. Yarn is usually pretty cheap and it takes me a while to finish a project so it is a good investment. I’m currently working on a baby hat for my best friend who recently had her first baby, and just spending an hour or two knitting this adorable hat for that adorable baby has been so soothing for my mental health. I highly recommend it.
9. Clean, clean, clean.
As much as I hate it, cleaning my apartment is such an effective form of self-care. Creating a clean and organized environment is always a great place to start when I'm feeling trapped or overwhelmed by life.
10. Take a social media break.
One of my best self-care tips is to delete social media off your phone for periods of time. My Facebook is filled with a lot of people spouting conservative views and sometimes you need to distance yourself from that negativity.
11. Listen to a queer podcast.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m really in a funk and trying to get out of it is put some headphones on, listen to my favorite queer podcasts (I especially love Gayish), and go for a walk. Just getting out of the house and getting fresh air and your body moving is so good for you.
FYI, Nancy is another fantastic queer podcast!
12. Treat yourself to a face mask.
When I'm really struggling, I like to give myself a facial for self-care. I'll pull my hair back and forget about all of my dysphoria and issues while I put on my Lush mask and jam out to musicals. It's a great way to relax and actually care for yourself.
13. Find a Facebook group that gets you.
I’m asexual and sex-repulsed (not the same thing for people who don’t know) and recently found a Facebook group for aces, their friends, family, and partners to share fun things or discuss. I also make sure to give myself time away from technology every week with just a good book so I can recharge to deal with all the sex and romance society throws at us.
14. Blog about it.
I have a blog that I use to write out my experiences and analyses on being a queer and disabled young adult. It helps immensely because I feel constantly angry and powerless. Getting my words out there helps a ton with those feelings and I feel like it’s helped me gain more of a community. I also have a journal that I decorated with stickers for things that are more personal that I don’t want online.
15. Jam to queer musicians.
I vibe to queer artists — everyone from David Bowie to Hayley Kiyoko — and watch happy movies about the community or ones starring queer actors.
16. Attend a queer-led performance (a drag show, a concert, a variety show, whatever!).
Oh my Lord God above, I only have one self-care ritual left and that's going to this monthly QTPOC variety show called Queer Abstract that happens every third Friday at Starr Bar in Brooklyn. Black and brown folks, Asian folks, trans folks, visiting talent, violinists, movies. Seeing all that diverse talent on stage makes me feel so proud of my community. I've gone almost every month since they started last year. I laugh, tear up, dance, and drink with my QPOC community for five to seven hours and recharge my soul for the next 30–31 days until the next one.
17. Learn about the LGBT people who paved the way.
As a closeted teen I got very into queer history and culture to remind myself that I’ll get through it and that these people have fought for me, and that no matter how bad things get I’ll always have a family.
18. Write some fanfic.
Personally I write the sappiest, sloppiest fanfiction between a favorite character and me. Writing makes me feel good, and having an imaginary healthy romance with a man? Just what I need some days.
19. Get yourself a queer pen pal.
My form of self-care is sending letters to my pen pal. We met on the internet, and for some reason I feel as if I can tell her things in my letters that I find impossible to tell anyone else. In my town, it’s not safe for me to be out as a lesbian, so I tend to keep things to myself, but she’s given me the courage to tell some friends and family. I find writing to her about my week and how my life’s going so therapeutic, and love the day that I find an envelope in the mailbox with her reply!