A friend of mine tweeted this and it got me thinking about how I squeeze self-care into my busy schedule and how I use it to heal and grow as a Queer transgender human being. These are my thoughts on how to incorporate self-care into a busy queer schedule:
1. MEDITATION: First thing in the morning (after using the loo) close your eyes and take ten deep breaths, in the nose and out the mouth. Meditation is saying to your body “Thank you for keeping me running. I am showing up here to connect with you. What do you need me to know?” I do 3-20 minutes depending on how I’m feeling, but any amount of time is beneficial.
2. Acknowledge yourself for showing up:🌱I wink at myself in the mirror while i brush my teeth, thanking myself for taking the time to care for my mouth. It gives me a chance to admire myself for who I am as I start and end my days. You can say “I made it” and acknowledge yourself for showing up at work.
3. Be present: Do something just for you and focus 100% on it. The shower is the easiest time to be present because you don’t have your phone and you can focus only on cleaning and thanking your body. Our bodies are the greatest tools we have and they’re the most often neglected.
You can love your body just as it is no matter what it looks like because it’s yours. Your body is whatever gender you identify as. Your body parts don’t dictate your gender, nor do hormones and surgeries. Your brain and soul are what dictates gender. Thank your body for carrying your soul around. No matter what it looks like, it’s the one thing that will always be yours.
Other times to try being present: While eating, focus on the taste of the food. While walking, focus on the way your feet hit the ground with your eyes up.
Playing music is a great way to be present because it forces you to be in the now. Reading music and playing it takes all your focus. It’s my favorite way to show up for myself besides yoga.
5. GRATITUDE : On your morning commute be grateful for the beauty that noticing a tree/flower/animal/piece of art brings into your life. Grateful hearts heal. Write down one thing your grateful for daily, you don’t have to keep it, a white board is fine. The more you practice gratitude the more you’ll find to be grateful for. I write mine on the bathroom mirror and erase them before bed. I also have a note on my phone that I add to occasionally. It’s not where or what you write, it’s the act of writing itself that heals you.
6. Check in with your body: I do this while washing my hands. I ask myself how I’m feeling, ask if I need to drink some water (of course I do) and if I need to rest. Honoring your body by listening to it will make your mind/body connection stronger. It shows that you are consciously deciding to respect your body.
If your body says to stay home and rest, you must. It’s important to ask yourself why though, if it’s just your head saying that you don’t belong, go. Learning your bodies language takes time. Once you understand why it says what it says you won’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself.
7. Dance: I do this after I shower, while I’m moisturizing and picking out clothes to wear. It’s a quick goofy and fun way for me to connect with my body and tell it how much I cherish it for keeping me going. Lady Gaga/Madonna all day baby.
8. Pamper yourself: Light a candle before you get in the shower/tub, treat your cuticles while watching POSE, look yourself in the eye and congratulate yourself for making it this far. I do this while shaving in the morning. Wearing a cute outfit, putting on fake eyelashes and using the good moisturizer are all ways to pamper yourself. Showing gratitude is the ultimate way to pamper yourself.
9. Unplug: set a timer and then put your phone down: Do something that doesn’t require your phone for five minutes. Brush your pet, put the dishes away, sit down and be grateful for your space. I squeeze this in after dinner.
I hope this list helps! Remember, self-care is for you so feel free to modify and change this to make it fit your lifestyle. Just incorporating one of these small steps will impact your life in a positive way, it won’t happen overnight but in time you’ll start to see the value of taking care of yourself. 💚 I believe in you.
*dry erase markers work on mirrors
*waterproof speakers for the shower are A+
You are not alone.
+Trans lifeline: 877-565-8860
+The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386
+National suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255