“Social anxiety is something most of us face throughout our lives, but when it gets in the way of wanting to go out or see friends, it can have a major impact on our mental health. That’s especially so for queer people, because connecting with queer community can bring a host of unique benefits that come when you feel seen by people who understand you. In this piece, Them columnist María Saldana spoke to queer therapists about different strategies to manage social anxiety when it arises, from grounding yourself in your senses to making an exit plan before you leave your house.” -Quispe López
It’s never been more important or urgent for LGBTQ+ people to prioritize their mental health. But the very reasons our community needs to access this support—like the crushing wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping the nation—can also overwhelm people to the point of inaction.
Thankfully, there are resources to help. And at Them, we are committed to lowering the barriers to entry that often keep people from accessing essential support. From tips on managing your social anxiety to methods for identifying your triggers, our guides below can help you get a solid foothold on your mental health journey. Take a deep breath and let’s get started.
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QL: “Black queer poet and activist Audre Lorde popularized the term ‘self-care’in 1988 to describe a radical ‘act of political warfare’—caring for one’s self in spite of systems that tell us to do otherwise. Unfortunately, the term has since become highly commercialized, used as a way to sell expensive skincare products and candles. In this guide, writer Stephanie Nieves gets back to the roots of the idea and asks experts to share their best tips for practicing self-care with little to no money.”
QL: “Triggers—anything that involuntarily reminds you of a past traumatic event, often causing a distressing fight or flight response—are a daily part of life for many. That’s why learning how to acknowledge, honor, and move through our triggers can be crucial to caring for our mental health. In this guide, writer Stephanie Nieves sources expert advice on how to spot a trigger, how to know when you’re actively triggered, and how to ground yourself when it’s happening.”
QL: “If you feel like your ups and downs correspond with the seasons, you aren’t alone. Seasonal affective disorder—aptly shortened to S.A.D.—is a condition that can worsen feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety in certain seasons. In this guide, writer Evelyn Bauer explores how S.A.D. can feel especially daunting for LGBTQ+ people, who already face disproportionate rates of isolation, and offers ways to alleviate symptoms.”
QL: “While organized religion is often weaponized to dehumanize queer and trans people, practicing spirituality can still enrich the lives of queer people. Spirituality can be a way to center yourself, connect with your ancestors, and find deeper meaning in your life. In this piece, writer Sofía Aguilar spoke to queer spiritual practitioners about how they found meaningful spiritual practices that honor their queerness.”
QL: “Hobbies can help bring passion and purpose to your life, and for queer people, they can become rich outlets to express ourselves, meet like-minded queer people, and practice self-care. If you’re curious about the unexpected benefits they can bring, check out this piece from Stephanie Nieves about the hobbies that changed seven queer people’s lives, from drag to dance to hiking.”
QL: “Sometimes you have to break up with a therapist, whether it be because they aren’t the best fit, because you’ve completed your work together, or because they can’t offer you the support you need. But it can be hard to spot when a therapeutic relationship isn’t working out and when it’s time to find new support. In this guide, writer Evelyn Bauer spoke to several queer mental health practitioners about how to break up with your therapist, and how to know when it’s time to do so.”
Quispe López (he/they) is the Lifestyle Editor for Them and an LGBTQ+ issues journalist whose work has appeared in NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune and Business Insider. As a transmasculine Quechua writer, their work focuses on the intersection of queerness and indigeneity, transgender health, and wellness.
Them is powered by a diverse team of journalists, editors, artists, and creatives. Each of us brings a distinct perspective to the LGBTQ+ stories we tell, and our efforts are strengthened by the wide range of backgrounds and abilities that drive our work. With decades of journalism and artistic experience on staff, we aim to produce the most nuanced, carefully reported, and entertaining LGBTQ+ journalism and content available today.