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3 Ways LGBTQ+ Parents Can Keep Your Mental Health A Priority During Pride

June is (arguably) one of the best months of the year — and it’s not just because I’m a Gemini. No, in fact, it’s because June brings Pride month! A true, whole month of celebrating LGBTQ+ folks, who we are, what we bring to the world, and how far our community has come. But sometimes, even in the middle of joyous occasions, we can forget to prioritize one very important thing: our mental health.


“Pride is not just about celebrating where we are today,” Allison Marx, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in LGBTQIA+ affirmative and ENM-friendly therapy says, “but about reflecting on the past, and what it took to get here.”


Naturally, celebrating Pride can bring up some big emotions. While it’s a wonderful time for our community, it can also be a time of serious reflection and even moments of sadness. With the help of Marx, we’ve put together three tips for keeping our mental health at the forefront during Pride this year, below.


Pride celebration

How can your mental health be affected during Pride month?


As mentioned previously, Pride is not just about celebrating where we are today but also about reflecting on the past and what it took to get here. If you have gone through Pride in the past and felt particularly emotional or you’ve experienced lows, that is totally normal.


“It [Pride] can bring u[ some emotions or painful memories — so it’s okay if you’re having a joyful day and then suddenly find yourself tearing up, all of those feelings are valid,” Marx tells Gay Mom’s Club, “This year’s celebration may also bring up worries, fears, and other emotions about the current attacks on LGBTQIA+ rights in this country — and the stress and trauma that this inflicts on the queer and trans community. “


But knowing why Pride may bring up things can help remove any shame or stress that might come from thinking, “Why am I sad? Shouldn’t I be enjoying Pride?” The truth is, we’re all allowed to feel our emotions, and there is never a should or shouldn’t.


Why is it important to take care of your mental health during all of the celebrations?


No matter what you’re feeling, your mental health and well-being are super important. According to Marx, if you’re not taking care of your mind during Pride, all of the emotions can be draining, on top of the physical exhaustion you might already feel after a day walking around under the hot sun.


Remember: taking care of your mental health isn’t just important during Pride month but year-round — especially for the LGBTQIA+ community who are already at a higher risk for mental health issues like depression and anxiety.


For some of the community, too, celebrating may include substance use, like alcohol. If that’s you, it’s extra important to be mindful of where you are and how you’re feeling. However, many folks celebrate Pride sober, too. If you know that substances could be triggering, Marx recommends seeking out sober events or activities where substances are not the main focus — like a picnic in the park instead of a party at a bar, for example.


3 tips for queer parents celebrating Pride


If you’re gay mxm or an LGBTQ+ parent, celebrating Pride may look a little different than it used to pre-kids. That’s okay, though! There are still a lot of fun events to head to and even include your kiddos in.


But don’t forget: you deserve to celebrate Pride and not burn out, either. Here’s what Marx recommends, below.


1. “Remember, you’re still just as queer and proud whether you attend one event or a dozen!” Marx says. Set your own schedule and pace during Pride and, chances are, you won’t experience overwhelm.


2. Just because you’re a parent, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to celebrating how you might once have.


“Celebrating can take many forms,” Marx explains, “You can watch or march in the parade, or do something more low-key like watch a queer film or read a children’s book about LGBTQIA+ history with your family.”


3. “If you’re already planning to attend a lot of events, consider building some chill-out time into your schedule too, and be prepared to be flexible,” Marx also advises, “This is especially important if you know your children (or yourself!) can become easily overstimulated or need breaks to decompress.”


How to best celebrate while honoring how you feel


Has Pride become overwhelming in the past? Has it brought up some big emotions that you didn’t quite expect? It’s all okay! You can still participate in the celebration while honoring how (and when) you’re feeling big emotions.


For parents, especially, a key way to decompress and honor yourself is by sharing how you feel with folks who understand — like other LGBTQ+ parents.

“Don’t be afraid to open up to other queer parents and friends about how you’re feeling,” Marx shares with us, “You may find that others are also experiencing similar emotions.”


Plus, after all, Pride is all about connecting with and being supported by your community. So don’t be afraid to be bold in sharing how you’re feeling and make your mental health a true priority this season.


 

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