Self–Care Tips for Trans and Non-Binary Folks
- Find calm. With our enduring context of violence against folks outside white cis-hetero identities, particularly Black folks and trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming folks, this can seem like an impossible task but think long and hard about what makes you feel relaxed and at ease. That could involve listening to music, working out, doing yoga, meditating, or cooking. Or it could involve small things that make you feel better, such as taking a moment to enjoy a piece of candy, play with your pet, or start a new game. Look out for the little things each day that bring you joy and help reduce stress.
- Unplug. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed by the news or social media, do yourself a favor and take a break. While it can be great to stay informed, the world might seem like way too much right now. We urge you to find time each day to disconnect from ALL screens – no phone, iPad, computer, or TV. Or at least set firm boundaries for yourself, like no screen time right before bed. Use this time to center yourself and try to process your emotions without input from others.
- Sleep. Disconnect from your devices – even leave them in another room – and try your hardest to get eight good hours of sleep each night. Allowing our bodies to rest is essential for our physical and mental health, and a proven way to reduce stress.
- Pivot to action. When things are out of your control and you start to feel helpless or hopeless, channeling your energy into taking action can help. These actions could involve political activism, volunteer work, donating to organizations you care about, or helping folks locate and access crucial resources.
- Empower yourself through education. If you find yourself having a hard time disconnecting from social media, try pivoting to more reliable news sources. Explore media and literature that reflect more nuanced and positive LGBTQ+ representation. Education is power and learning more about the issues you care most about can help you gain the confidence to express yourself, have difficult conversations, and help educate others.
- Express yourself. While it might be difficult to translate your complex thoughts and feelings, try to find comforting ways to express yourself, and even speak out for what you believe in. That could include creative outlets like journaling, drawing, painting, and dancing, or posting on your social media about an issue you care about.
- Connect with support systems. Whenever you feel surrounded by too much negativity, make time to connect with the people in your life who accept and validate you for who you are. These positive connections are vital for our mental health. If you are not out to anyone in your life and are looking for an affirming community online, you could try starting with TrevorSpace (ages 13-24) or connecting with Mason student organizations. It can be a great way to build community with fellow LGBTQ+ young people who might be going through similar experiences. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about student organizations and other LGBTQ+-centered opportunities.
- Get help. If you are ever feeling hopeless or suicidal, or simply need to talk with someone to help you process your emotions, please contact LGBTQ+ Resources at Mason or our colleagues in Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Student Support & Advocacy Center (SSAC) There are also other resources including online counseling or psychotherapy, and apps that you can download on your phone with helpful mental health resources.
Adapted from The Trevor Project’s Resource: Coping with Intense Emotions Around the 2020 Presidential Election by Tia Dole Ph.D., Chief Clinical Operations Officer, The Trevor Project.
Self-Care Activities for Trans and Non-Binary Folks
Queer Podcast Recommendations
- NB by Caitlin Benedict
They are a BBC producer and they explore their gender identity with the help of their friend Amrou Al-Kadhi, a drag performer and writer.
- One from the Vaults by Morgan M. Page
Trans history podcast
- Queersplaining by Callie Wright
Covers the US trans military ban, trans friendships, the criminal justice system and other topics
- Deliberate and Doing it Afraid by Jamila Reddy
Centered on queerness and provides messages about life, learning, and vulnerability
- Gender / Equity Themed Coloring Pages
In partnership with the Women’s Foundation of California, The Center for Cultural Power presents a coloring book titled All Bodies Deserve: Creating the Future of Us. Inviting all of us to imagine a colorful, welcoming future where all bodies deserve love, care and recognition, All Bodies Deserve: Creating the Future of Us includes twenty new illustrated coloring pages from eight diverse artists. Each of their drawings centers joy and diverse communities and is inspired by the ideas of abundance – that we should all have what we need to thrive; that people can be different and still equally valued; that we need to care for ourselves, our communities, and the world; and that we can raise curious, happy, healthy identities and families. Download your copy and start coloring!
- Additional resources here.