For some people in our community the holidays can be a difficult time for a bunch of different reasons. It might be the general stress that comes from expectations around the holidays, because you’ve lost someone you care about or because your family isn’t as supportive as could be about your sexuality or gender. You may also be having to spend time around people who use controlling or abusive behaviours.
Below are some ideas that may help you throughout the holiday period – you can think of it like your own self-care plan.
- Put yourself first
You’re allowed to set boundaries to make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed, whether that looks like leaving a holiday party, deciding to leave and find a more supportive space, spending time alone or standing up for yourself if someone crosses a line.
- Celebrate the holidays with your chosen family too
Spending some time with the people who love you and affirm who you are is a great way to take the edge off of being around family who maybe aren’t as supportive as they could be. Chosen family can lift you up and remind you how loved you are.
- Do things that make you happy
You are you, and you are perfect the way you are. You don’t have to change the way you look or act to make other people comfortable. You can dress and act the way that makes you happy and affirms who you are. If that doesn’t feel safe for you right now, think about what things you CAN do that make you feel happy, whether that’s spending time enjoying a hobby, cuddling with a pet or binging a show you love!
- Self-care actions
This one sounds simple, but self-care is so easy to forget or struggle with. So, every day try and do a check in with yourself. Have you had water today? Did you eat some food? Do you need to have a stretch or a bit of exercise? Do you need a nap or rest? Have you taken your medication? Or do you need to re fill a prescription? Most importantly are you being kind and gentle to yourself?
- Staying safe
You might have fears for your safety when visiting family or your home town due to past experiences of family violence. If this is the case, you can create a safety plan which you can follow if you experience violence. You can find a guide on how to do this here.
- Ask for help if you’re struggling or afraid
You can do this by talking to supportive family members, chosen family, friends or other people you trust.
You can also get help from services such as:
- Rainbow Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Helpline (1800 497 212), available 24/7
- 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), available 24/7
- QLife (1800 184 527), 3pm – Midnight every day
- 13 YARN (13 92 76), available 24/7
- Find a service near you through Say It Out Loud here
7. If you fear for your safety
If you are experiencing family violence and are in immediate danger you can call 000. The operator will ask you some questions like name, phone number and address. Even if you’re scared and panicked you need to try and answer these quickly in case you get cut off so they can find you and help.