For many transgender youths, having to stay exclusively at home for the summer can be tiring. The Human Rights Campaign reports that “family rejection increases the odds of substance misuse and suicide attempts in transgender and gender non-conforming people” and that “families [who] affirm their gender identity and sexual orientation are almost 50 percent less likely to make a suicide attempt compared to those whose families are unsupportive”. However, young people in these situations can always try their best to make the best of it. Here are five ways to practice self-help while at home for the summer:
Photo: Content Pixie on Unsplash
1) Daily self-care
Whether it’s going for a ten-minute walk, blasting your music through headphones while relaxing in your room, or even visiting the gym, personal time can benefit every trans youth. Personal time gives one a space to think, digest, and reflect on the day that has past and the time ahead. Use this time to reaffirm yourself and your feelings.
2) Physically talk to or call friends
Accessible communication with friends is a given today with the rise of phones and texting, but as a society, we often forget how valuable face-to-face communication is. The Huffington Post reports that traditional communication (face-to-face) is “thirty-four-times more” successful than email or text . Friends can already provide a support system in the midst of grief, so given the large, positive impact of physical communication, hanging out with friends or even calling them can provide some relief.
3) Make time for what you love
Do you like playing video games, reading, drawing, or browsing social media? Make time at least once a day to do just that— what you absolutely love to do. Reinforce those positive feelings you get during your favorite activities. By doing this every day, maybe you’ll even have a part of your day to look forward to.
4) Participate in physical activity and exercise
Doing an entire workout isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but some degree of physical activity is beneficial to everyone. When one engages in physical activity, the brain releases endorphins, or the feel-good chemicals. Endorphins help to minimize pain and discomfort, and they are even “involved in natural reward circuits” . Try going for a short walk, throwing around a frisbee (with your friend), or going for that intense workout at the gym to get some endorphins going.
5) Create short-term goals
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Saving up money for medical treatments or your own place can take longer than you expect. However, smaller, short-term goals can help make these years go by just a bit quicker. If you’re raising and saving money, try to set a goal in terms of how much money you want to put into your savings this summer. Did you reach your goal by the end of the summer? If so, then treat yourself to something you enjoy— you earned it. Focusing your mind on short-term, more obtainable goals will help you feel successful and hopeful for the years to come.
Although school can be stressful in its own ways, breaks from school can be even more so. For young, transgender adults the stress often comes in the form of inner conflicts and conflicts at home, because of an unsupportive atmosphere. Everyone deserves effective and healthy ways to cope with this tress, no matter how one goes about it. To trans youths all around, remember to always see the good in yourself, even if other cannot.
Aarron Sholar is an undergraduate Junior who is pursuing a major in creative writing and a minor in business writing. He plans to continue writing as a future career or pursuing graduate school after graduating from Salisbury University.