By Bruno Ferreira
These are not easy times for queer youth to be in great mental health.
I imagine that, like me, you have felt anguish, anxiety and even fear when faced with news about the political environment and statistics for the queer community.
Over the past few years, I’ve developed some techniques to help me deal with this political anxiety, and I’m here to share them with you today.
Of course: these tips do not replace, in any way, the medical advice of a professional.
The first technique that helps me deal with my mental health is to cut down on news and social media — especially when we receive so much fake news about our community.
Disconnecting for a few hours during the day from social media and investing in my well-being helps me a lot! I love taking this time to read a queer novel, do guided meditations, walk my dog, and prepare my top TikTok cooking recipes.
The second technique I’ve been using is that I track my emotions through a journal.
I always set aside a few minutes during the week to write about how I’m feeling, especially when I’m faced with some catastrophic thought or negative news. And if you can’t put into words what you’re feeling, you can always paint your emotions!
The third technique that has helped me a lot in managing my mental health as a young queer person is engaging in a healthy way with activism.
I like to think that I channel some of my frustration and queer rage into activism – of course, always respecting my boundaries with the support of a team that makes me feel safe.
As a young activist, something I enjoy doing is promoting positive messages that align with my values on my social media, at my university and with my friends and family. Rather than sharing the same negative news that is already being reported, I prefer to use my energy to change the narrative and promote inspiring queer voices.
(Pro tip: The It Gets Better Project website has loads of this inspirational content!)
Finally, a technique that never lets me down is to vent to someone I trust! Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a loved one or your therapist, venting about how you are feeling in a safe and comfortable environment allows you to share the burden of political anxiety.
(Pro tip: if you can’t count on someone you can trust today, you can always vent in your emotions diary!)
Political anxiety is terrifying. Believe me, I know. But I also know that there is revolutionary power in queer joy.
So, a personal mantra that I share with you today is: always stay radically hopeful that #ItGetsBetter
Bruno Ferreira has a post-degree in sexual and gender rights. He is a Brazilian activist and director of It Gets Better Brasil. He is also executive producer of the Talk Show “Conversas Que Inspiram”, about education and diversity. Follow on Instagram @ohgreatitsbruno and @itgetsbetterbrasil or Linked In.