By Tas Kronby | Website

The end of the year is one of the most challenging times for mental health. Everyone has heightened anxiety and an increase of stressors. When you are neurodivergent and part of the LGBT community you may not be out to your family and friends.

Even if you are out, there may be people at family functions or triggering elements of the holiday season because of trauma anniversaries. It is a mental health gauntlet and you are running to the finish line. It is always important to have your proverbial weapons ready to slay the invisible dragons that haunt you this time of year. 

Self-care on the go
A key ingredient to any challenge developing determination and motivation. Make a commitment to yourself that self-care matters. Remember that your mental well-being is a top priority. Sometimes you are forced into situations during this time of year that is out of your control. One way to navigate this issue is taking time for self-care. 

Special spaces
If you have limited amounts of space, designate a spot for breathing exercises. You can excuse yourself and go to the bathroom or maybe sit outside on a porch or in the car. In some cases, you have no place to go and be alone.  If you can’t be alone close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Visualize a space for yourself in your mind where you can relax and de-stress. 

Regular routines
Even if everything else feels chaotic, try to keep your self-care routine as normal as possible. This will help you to feel more in control. If you must stay in a hotel or at someone’s house overnight, pack what you need to feel content. Following your normal routine from home in new places creates a feeling of safety. 

Quiet time
Never fear, noise canceling headphones are here! Using devices to muffle or remove noise is a way to calm your mind. It gives you a momentary break from the intensity that surrounds you and allows you to think clearly. You may have a favorite song or even a meditation that you can listen to while you are at the event. 

Pens to the rescue 
Journaling on your phone or in a hardcover book can be helpful. Away from prying eyes you can vent your frustrations on paper instead of at the people around you. You can vent and then delete the note. The goal is not to keep a record of the anger, but to release it and let it go. 

Skip the event 
The fear of offending people can force individuals into situations that they wish to avoid. If you have the choice to skip the stressful event, do it. When your mental health stability is at risk sometimes it is better to remove the immediate stressor and focus on yourself. 

Virtual attendance
There may be circumstances that require you to attend a family function or time with friends. Thankfully in this new world, virtual meetings are commonplace. You may have the choice to attend the event virtually. You can avoid the anxiety and still see your loved ones. It is just like being in the same room. You can even show more facial expressions with virtual face-to-face interaction.

The simple truth is that there are times when you need to be alone. Sometimes it is a holiday, sometimes a celebration, and other times it may be an event that you simply cannot avoid. When this happens to me I try my best to make the most of

Getting to the finish line
You are not running this emotional gauntlet alone. The end of the year is a time of change and it is hard to manage. Putting yourself first for your mental health is important. The end of the year is a time where we start to look forward to new things and have big goals for ourselves. It is also a time where we reflect on our lives and what has been accomplished so far. Sometimes, however, this can lead us to get caught up in everything that needs to be done, resulting in stress and anxiety. Letting go of the things outside your control and focusing on what you can control helps maintain mental wellness. 

If you have to attend certain functions or deal with unaccepting people, find the small moments for yourself. The smallest amount of time alone can make the biggest difference.  Allow yourself to do what makes you happy, whether it is spending time alone or being surrounded by friends and family. Do not feel obligated to do anything just because of other people’s pressure and expectations.

For more articles by Tas, visit their blog.

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