LGBT+ History Month
‘Body, Mind and Spirit’ is the theme for 2021’s LGBT+ History Month. ‘Body, Mind and Spirit’ can seem hazy to many, but it’s my understanding is that it directly relates to an individual’s mental, physical and emotional/spiritual health.
For me when these are not aligned, I simply do not settle, and I cannot find the serenity needed to go about my daily life or routine. Understanding how best I work and function has been real gift to me, but it has not been easy or always been the case. I have discovered this through much soul searching and continued personal development that has enabled me to grow and evolve to place of contentment. And when I am not, well nowadays I gratefully have the ‘tools’ to get me where I need to be.
As we are fast approaching nearly a full year of on and off lockdowns I am still genuinely and for the most part smiling and happy. I am often asked how I have gotten through and what are my coping mechanisms.
What springs to mind initially is that I have historically seen the darkest of days during my life. There have been times when I was not able to or did not want to face the outside world at all. Locked in my own thoughts and in my own world and not reaching out for help. So being in Lockdown, I can really appreciate how and why it is affecting so many people so negatively. I can be grateful for all I have.
Looking back at Lockdown 1, the sun was shining and it was warm more or less every day – for me, I thought it was amazing. Living close to the beach I was able to go for morning bike rides in the warm sunshine and really enjoy where I live without the swarms of tourists.
I connected with nature daily and took the time to connect with myself through prayer and meditation, aligning my body, mind and spirit whenever I could.
During Lockdown 2, there was a clear end in sight as an end date was announced. I took the time to really throw myself into online yoga as well as keeping up with my meditation and spiritual connection.
Lockdown 3 has admittedly been tougher as we are having a harsh winter. So doing things outside, such as going for a beach walk, are not as easy to do but they are still fun. And I always feel better afterwards.
Supporting the LGBTQ+ community
Through the work that I do, I am able to support members of the LGBTQ+ community through their own recovery journeys and I have been able to continue offering this support during lockdown, which is great!
All support has naturally switched online. Being able to support others, so they do not feel alone; has in turn allowed clients to remain stable during such a difficult time. I have still been able to give them a platform to express their thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental and confidential manner.
Not feeling alone has been key to me getting through the last 12 months. Supporting others has massively helped – but finding true peace of body, mind and spirit has made my ability to cope with Covid-19 much better than I could ever have imagined.
For people reading this, I would suggest that you take small steps and make small achievable positive changes to your routines to start with – but only if you want too. That could mean starting to do a ten minute walk a day, doing something that makes you smile, like listening to your favourite music or doing something creative. These steps can really help.
If you have not ever tried mindfulness or meditation before, there are so many apps and online resources to choose from. You could simply try mindful breathing for as little as 2 minutes a day to start with, just to see if it is for you.
Remember that you are never alone, and you can always reach out. Services are there to support and listen to you when things can get too much, or if you simply need to offload.
Putting yourself first
Being kind to myself, putting my needs and myself first was not easy at all to start with. It felt silly and alien to me. But after I persevered and just kept going, those things that felt silly now are all part of my daily routine. That routine is now what I like to refer to as ‘the medicine’ that keeps me well mentally. My body, mind and spirit thank me for it as I am less anxious and my head is much clearer.
Routine and listening to what I really need helps me on a daily basis. This can help you too, but remember, each and every one of us is different. Our body’s minds and spirits are different too and it is these differences that make us unique.
I soon know when I am not aligned as I feel out of sorts or disjointed. When I look at my ‘programme’ I can see what has been missed and I can easily rectify it.
I try my best and my best is always good enough and so is yours. I have realised over time that it really is ok not to be ok and I always try to be kind to myself and others too. One of my favourite mottos is ‘in a world where we can be anything, be kind’ and that means being kind to myself and ensuring I am the best place possible to support others.
Huge thanks to…
Our guest blogger this week is Ben Kaye – Attitude 101 Magazine’s LGBTQ+ Third Sector and Community Trailblazer and LGBTQ+ Lead (Bournemouth) at We Are With You Charity that offers free, confidential support to people in England and Scotland who have issues with drugs, alcohol or mental health.
LGBTQ+ Support locally:
If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and need support with your mental health, we deliver two support groups in Bournemouth and Weymouth. Follow this link for details.