Life can be hard, particularly in times of lockdowns and pandemics, especially for those in the LGBTQ+ community. In recent years, you have come out of your shells a little and have been afforded rights that you haven’t had before, but the fight for equality is far from over, particularly when it comes to equal access to health care. On a personal level, many also need to work on achieving a better home-work balance.

Let’s discuss ways that you can find balance and health and still remain true to who you are as individuals.

Mental Health and Acuity

Because of ongoing discrimination and stigma against LGBTQ+ individuals have a much higher likelihood of having mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and drug abuse.

There are things you can do to combat this, however. Your mental acuity or mental “sharpness,” which includes your short term and long term memories, attention spans, and decision-making abilities, can be affected by society’s attitude towards you and getting older, which you have no control over. There are things you do have control over that affect our mental acuity, however, including the amount of sleep you get and your stress levels. You can do these things to increase your mental acuity and mental health, and they will aid with your overall physical health as well:

  • Adopt a diet that excludes processed foods and, instead, focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Exercise or get some type of physical activity regularly.
  • Take supplements that enhance brain function including a good multivitamin and omega 3s.

For mental health issues that cannot be solved by diet and exercise alone, you can look for a good counselor who offers telehealth services. This will allow you to see a licensed counselor from the comfort of your home. Telehealth not only meets current social distancing guidelines, but it also allows you to feel more comfortable and open up more about your problems.

Physical Health

Accessing affordable, unbiased health care is another challenge. Thanks to the Trump administration ripping away health care protections prohibiting discrimination, almost 1.5 million transgendered individuals now have additional barriers to obtaining health care. It is more important than ever for you to do what you can to stay healthy.

As mentioned above, getting good sleep helps your mental health, but it also allows your body to heal itself and boosts your immune system. Ways to improve sleep include the following:

  • Get rid of distractions. Keep technology out of the bedroom and get blackout curtains to prevent light from coming in.
  • Try natural sleep aids. There are several foods as well as CBD and herbal teas that have been proven to help you sleep.
  • Pick up a better mattress, cooling sheets, or some plants for your room. Plants can help calm you and keep your air fresh.

Other suggestions include getting a good primary care provider with the help of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and making sure you are up-to-date on important immunizations.

Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

Many in the LGBTQ+ community also have problems maintaining a work-life balance. Over 40% are affected by employment discrimination, which causes many to put a hard line between work and personal lives. You’re unwilling to chit-chat about your lives with co-workers because you fear backlash, you don’t want to make them uncomfortable, or because you fear that by doing so, you are making a political statement. Because of this, you have no work-life balance and cannot relax at work, which causes you lots of stress.

Solutions to this may be to work your way through a very competitive job market to find something you’ll be happy with, to become a contract or freelance worker, or to even start your own business. It is predicted that over the next ten years, about 30% of people will be doing contract work, with others becoming entrepreneurs. Regardless of what avenue is right for you, you need to develop your personal branding to get there.

Jeff Bezos said it best: “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Personal branding can help you to get a job you will be satisfied with or to start your own, and it involves many steps, from creating the perfect resume to developing your social networks. With your brand in place, you will outshine your competitors in any field.

Yes, the world often treats you unfairly, and it causes you many problems with your mental and physical health and even with your jobs. With the right planning and determination, however, you can find balance and health in all aspects of your lives and live the life you deserve.

 

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

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