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Jonathan Van Ness, Madison Beer, Ian Alexander, and More Share Self-care Tips for LGBTQ Youth

By Kevin Wong (he/him)

As the holidays and new year approach, The Trevor Project recognizes that the season can be a particularly stressful time for LGBTQ young people. According to Tia Dole, Ph.D., the Chief Clinical Operations Officer for The Trevor Project, “we hear from LGBTQ young people across the country, so we know that they can sometimes have complex family relationships. Family time tends to be magnified during the holidays, and self-care can be an important step in identifying ways to support ourselves.”

To determine a self-care routine, “it’s important to discover what helps you feel cared for, relaxed, and able to cope with everything that’s going on,” according to the organization’s coming out handbook. To help LGBTQ youth explore holiday self-care methods for themselves, we asked some of our most supportive celebrities and influencers to share their self-care routines.

“During the holidays, take extra time to really take care of yourself more than you normally would,” says Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness. As a mental health advocate, he often shares the importance of chasing passions and finding safe spaces for people to be themselves. “Whatever brings you self and life affirming joy — your version of figure skating or gymnastics — or taking time to try something new that you’re really excited about, can be really helpful when dealing with social anxiety during the holidays because it gives you something to look forward to and to get to know yourself better.”

Singer Madison Beer says, “for some reason my anxiety spikes up during the holiday season,” so she uses “grounding techniques” to help. “Biting a lemon, or chewing ice really help [to] ground me. Try the 54321 ritual when you’re feeling anxious — 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.”

She also likes to practice self-care throughout the year. “I take time with myself. As simple as that may sound, my bubble baths, face masks, movie watching, reading and painting have really instilled self value within me. I struggled for a long time with how I perceive myself and I still do, but really taking time to be alone and do whatever it might be [that] you love is crucial.”

Time with respectful chosen family is important to actor Ian Alexander, who suggests “surrounding yourself with your chosen family who will respect your correct pronouns and won’t make any ignorant comments about your gender presentation, sexuality, [and] politics.”

According to Dole, “it can be helpful to tell a friend or supportive adult about how you’re feeling — there’s power in knowing you are not alone and have an empathetic ear.” Ian Alexander landed on a similar idea — he recommends to “ask a friend to call you at a random point during the day (or come up with a crisis code word or emoji together) so that you have an excuse to leave the room and get a break. This can buy you 5-10 minutes to breathe, recollect yourself, and prepare to face that homophobic great aunt again.”

Finding the right balance between time with friends, family, and yourself is complicated – something YouTuber Connor Franta understands well. “As much as the holidays are about cherished time spent with others, don’t forget to take moments to check in with yourself,” he says. “Have a bath, take a nap, ground your mind, recharge your body, then go back to surrounding yourself with people you love.”

“You deserve a break this holiday,” agrees fellow mental health advocate and YouTuber Jordan Doww. As a method of self-care, he prioritizes his mental health and ensures he has time to reflect. “I make sure to not spread myself too thin but also to spend time with those who mirror the same love and support I always give.”

Dole reminds us, “regardless of your relationship to the holidays, self-care plans are integral to showing ourselves the love we deserve.” If you or an LGBTQ young person you know would like to explore a safe self-care plan, reach out for free support from The Trevor Project’s 24/7 TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat services. And as Madison Beer says, “I hope everyone remembers they are loved by their family here at The Trevor Project!”