As we celebrate who we all are this Pride Month, we can’t ignore that it’s happening in a time of pandemic, protest, and an awakening to the inequalities that still persist in our society and our world. Perhaps it feels like it’s not the right time to embrace and honor our personal identities, when there is so much other work that needs to be done.
But Pride Month itself was borne out of strife: It commemorates the June 28, 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the protests that followed. In the 50+ years since, Pride Month has become a touchstone for promoting the visibility, dignity and equality of LGBTQ people everywhere.
This Pride Month is a reminder of how important it is for us to be kind to each other, and especially to our selves, now more than ever. Here are three ways to incorporate a daily habit of kindness and self-acceptance that will help you face these trying times with more resilience.
Pride Month reminds us how important it is for us to be kind to each other, and especially to our selves, now more than ever.
1. Practice relaxed awareness.
Take a few minutes each day to step back and allow yourself to notice your thoughts, and how your body holds them. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and simply observe the feelings that come along, without trying to judge them or push them away. You might feel happiness, gratitude, or a sense of calm, but it’s just as possible that you’ll experience negative emotions like guilt, fear, or anger.
Resist the urge to dismiss those negative feelings, because they are a part of your life too. Try not to judge them as bad or good, but just things that are happening that present an opportunity to learn something about yourself. Welcome them, let yourself be okay with them, and let them pass. In doing so, you remove their power over you.
2. Make connection.
Dozens of studies have shown that when people have satisfying social connections—to family, friends, or community—they’re healthier, happier, and tend to live longer. Take time daily to communicate with the people who care about you, whether it’s talking with or emailing a friend, participating in a civic group or faith-based community, or scheduling a video conference call with a faraway loved one.
Reaching out to others can be challenging when you’re feeling stressed; instead, you might want to just curl up and self-isolate. But if you can resist that urge to close yourself off, and reach out and accept help from others, you’ll ultimately come out stronger. As you connect with people who support and validate you, you’ll build upon your own skills of self-resilience and self-acceptance.
Resist the urge to self-isolate when stressed. Connect with people who support and validate you, and you’ll ultimately come out stronger.
3. Take time for self-care.
Stress, anxiety and fear aren’t just emotions; they also have physical effects on your body. (For proof, just do a quick self-check on the tension in your neck and shoulders!) So it makes sense that when you care for your body, you’ll also help strengthen your resilience to stress. Taking time for daily wellness practices such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating nourishing foods can go a long way in building your body’s ability to endure everyday stresses, and it can help reduce the impact of negative emotions like fear and anxiety.
When you treat yourself, and your body, with loving kindness, you better enable yourself to handle whatever life brings.
And don’t forget those calming, caring daily rituals that help you stay grounded—such as starting the day with a little yoga or stretching, going for a midday walk, or enjoying a cup of herbal tea before bedtime. When you treat yourself, and your body, with loving kindness, you better enable yourself to handle whatever life brings. In these challenging times, that’s a skill worth cultivating.