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How Are Gay Men Dealing with Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19?

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Photo credit: Usman Yousaf / Unsplash

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are already familiar with the notion of restrictions. Many have already been dealing with anxiety and depression before the pandemic started, making it all the more challenging to focus on self-care right now. Anyone personally affected by the pandemic, which means every single person on the planet, knows that the increased isolation, lack of social contact and support, and overall lack of security makes it truly impossible to avoid stress.

Coping with stress as a gay man might be an even greater challenge. If you’re forced to be isolated with unsupportive family members that do not accept or support your lifestyle, if you’re surrounded by ill-meaning neighbors, and if you depend on their kindness at any point, your stress levels are likely through the roof. With all of that in mind, there are methods you can use to deal with stress and anxiety while the COVID-19 pandemic is still in full swing.

Online sessions with those you love

Social distancing is perhaps the most detrimental aspect of the pandemic to our mental health. Specifically, the need to reduce physical contact such as hugging and kissing with those we love but don’t live with, and the simple need to see each other less frequently. This isolation can become quite a burden, especially if you live in less then a positive environment as a gay man.

Among many different and creative ways to invest in your own wellbeing, there are those that will be particularly useful during these challenging times. In addition to meditation and relaxation, why not schedule regular video dates with the people who love and support you? Even just a 15-minute chat and being able to see their smile can help you feel better, process your emotions, and share your burden. Connect with people online more often, add meaning to those online dates, and get creative to feel better.

Photo credit: by Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Cannabis-infused self-care

Some rituals, such as sipping on a cup of coffee or enjoying a good bubble bath can only get you so far when it comes to reducing stress. Now that we’re experiencing more anxiety than ever, we often need the help of something more potent such as CBD.

It all depends on what you need, so for example, if you happen to live in a part of the country where it’s legally available, potent sativa is a great choice if you want to elevate your energy, creativity, and ward off negativity. This plant strain has an uplifting effect, allowing you to express yourself artistically or enjoy your activities with more zeal. Whether you consume it in the form of edibles, cartridges, or concentrates, this plant is packed with helpful CBD to reduce your stress levels and banish depression.

Write what you feel

There will be times when you’re overwhelmed with emotions, but unable to leave your home, exercise and sweat the stress off, or even just go for a walk. Isolation might be necessary, but so is effective emotion management.

Journaling and writing about your feelings can be an exceptionally helpful tool to process your emotions, regulate them more easily, and most of all, give meaning to what you’re experiencing. This new perspective will allow you to go back to your feelings, understand them better, and grow more impervious to the poor treatment you’ve received, or the stressful situations you will find yourself in.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Stay active to vent properly

If you’ve put it off so far, there are no more excuses. If you’re already an avid fitness enthusiast, then you’ll find it even more beneficial during these stressful times. Regular workouts are not just a great way to boost your immune system, but they also help elevate those happy chemicals in your brain, they elevate your energy, and help you build a more positive self-image.

Even though the gym isn’t available at the moment, there are so many YouTube tutorials with bodyweight workouts you can easily perform at home. Plus, you can always jog in the nearby park or start hiking to enjoy the fresh air, the sun, and above all, activity.

Get help when you need it most

Increased threats, harassment, or violent outbursts in the homes of many gay men can lead to physical and mental health issues alike. Even without the extremes, the stressful situations unraveling due to the pandemic are more than enough to cause elevated anxiety and more instances of depression.

In such situations, it’s wise to get in touch with a professional, so that you can get help and support. There are dedicated hotlines during the COVID-19 crisis meant specifically for such mental health troubles, and you shouldn’t deprive yourself of therapy when you need it most.

Although stress and anxiety are a shared struggle for all, gay men in difficult family relationships and unsupportive environments could use additional coping strategies to reduce stress and become more resilient to its triggers. The listed options are simple and very effective during the Covid-19 crisis, allowing any gay man to improve his quality of life until we go back to normal.

Peter is a lifestyle writer at Queer Voices magazine, living between Australia and Europe. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

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december 2020

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