Self-Sabotage: What Is It & How Do We Stop Doing It?

If you’ve ever seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ve probably heard him use the term “inner saboteur,” aka self-sabotage. When Ru observed the queens getting in their own way during rehearsal, he would tell them that they were sabotaging their greatness.

We have so many goals and dreams that we want to achieve, but self-doubt sometimes muddles our thoughts and we end up giving up before even taking the first step. According to Clinical Social Worker Natalie Asayag, “just about all of us fall victim to self-sabotage at one point or another whether it’s in a relationship, at work or school, or in recovery.”

So let’s DiveThru what exactly self-sabotage is and how to overcome it! 

What Is Self-Sabotaging? 

To sabotage something is to deliberately take action that stops it from succeeding. In turn, self-sabotage is when you (intentionally or not) do something that prevents you from achieving the goals that you actually WANT to achieve. 

Signs of Self-Sabotage

You might be involved in self-defeating your ambitions and/or relationships without ever recognizing it. 

It can often take the form of that little voice in your head, telling you that you don’t deserve success or aren’t worthy of what you get. That can lead you to stop trying to improve, because you feel like you’re not good enough. For example, you might not bother applying for your dream job because you’re “not going to get it anyway so why bother?” That lack of effort can manifest itself in a number of ways, like procrastination, imposter syndrome, and a lack of organization. 

Self-sabotage can also affect your relationships with your partner or friends—if you genuinely believe your partner is going to leave you anyway or your friends would rather not hang out with you, then any effort feels unnecessary. We’re here to tell you that’s NOT the case!! 

Self-sabotage can also take the form of a pessimistic outlook on life—because you expect bad things for yourself, you’re always looking out for the next bad thing that will happen to you… and forgetting to notice and appreciate all the good things that happen. 

It can be tough to break the cycle of self-destructive behaviour. You might start to feel guilty for feeling bad, because “others have it worse” so you feel like you’re being negative about nothing… aaaaaand now you feel worse. Great. 

Why Do People Self-Sabotage? 

We all want things in life, from small goals like getting a good grade on a paper to big life-changing goals, like moving to a new city or buying a house. But we can also be tempted to sabotage ourselves because our goals feel far-fetched or scary, so it’s easier to think we never had a chance than to try and possibly fail. 

Things that can trigger self-sabotage: 

  • Childhood trauma
  • Toxic relationship patterns 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • A lack of boundaries 

Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging 

Self-sabotaging behaviour can prevent us from living the life we desire, so let’s dig into strategies to stop self-sabotaging before we start.

1. Find an Accountability Partner

Think of this like a positive way to use peer pressure. Basically, it’s a friend who is allowed to call you out when you start to get off track. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, then adding a lil’ external pressure can help get things moving. 

For example, if you have a big project due in a couple weeks and you’re worried about procrastinating (aren’t we all?), your accountability partner can check in with you every so often to check in on your progress. Or maybe you want to take more evening walks, so you ask a friend to walk with you so that you’re accountable to them and not just yourself. 

Definitely set boundaries with this person though, because you don’t want to cause your friendship to be affected by feeling like you’re constantly supervising each other. 

2. Set Realistic Goals 

Do you ever feel like you have too much to do—to the point it causes you to not be able to get anything done? Like, if you can’t do everything then why do anything? You can help yourself by being honest about setting more realistic goals for yourself, and planning ahead to prioritize goals and pace yourself. 

Here are some ways to set and achieve realistic goals for yourself: 

  • Ask yourself what you want to do.
  • Write down steps to accomplish that goal. These should be accomplishable actions that you can do.
  • Be honest about how long each step will take.
  • Work your way through the list and add up the times to give yourself a reasonable timetable for the goal.
  • Write down checkpoints through the process, to give yourself mini deadlines. These checkpoints can help you be accountable, either to yourself or your accountability partner.

3. Journaling for Self-Awareness

If only we could recall everything. We have SO MANY feelings and thoughts, but they’re not always simple to address or even easy to remember. Journaling is a terrific approach to figure out what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling about certain events or thoughts. 

Journaling with self-awareness in mind can help you identify particular things that irritate or agitate you. It can also help you get a new perspective on how you think and act in different settings, that you might not have been aware of. Journaling is an excellent way to divert your attention to what you can concentrate on.

When you have an idea of what to write, whether you feel strongly about particular emotions or how you respond to significant events in your life, it can also help you identify your habits, especially when it comes to self-sabotage. It may provide you with a window where you can go back and see what instances you have self-sabotaged, and it may give you insight on how to be more self-aware when sabotage wants to take over.

4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparison is the thief of joy. We are bombarded with comparison virtually every day, whether on Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn. It’s always in our faces, and comparison may sap your joy when you’re always seeing what others are doing instead of focusing on what you want for yourself. If you only see people posting vacation pics or sharing their promotion at work, it can be easy to compare yourself and feel like you’re not doing enough. 

Take social media with a grain of salt. If you judge others by their highlight reel and judge yourself by every single moment, it can make you more prone to self-sabotage by giving you the idea that you’re not as good or deserving as others, so you shouldn’t even try. That’s definitely not the case! 

5. Talk to a Therapist 

Self-sabotage behaviours can be highly harmful because they prevent you from doing things that you are capable of doing. It builds a cloud of self-doubt, and working with a mental health professional is a good way to shoo that cloud away. They can also provide you with techniques for coping and dealing with self-sabotaging tendencies.Self-sabotage is a tricky little monster that can prevent you from doing what you know you can do. But that doesn’t mean you’re a failure! Keep these strategies in mind to help yourself remember that you’re capable of achieving your goals, even if you sometimes forget that. You deserve to be happy, so don’t let that rude little voice in the back of your head get in the way!


6 Relaxing Video Games That Calm Your Anxiety

Are you looking for some relaxing video games that won’t spike your anxiety?? We’ve got you covered!

We understand that sometimes you want to play a nice, chill game without the pressure of a first person shooter (or kids online yelling about how bad you are… not speaking from personal experience or anything…). Gaming can be a great way to unwind and have fun, but some games might stress you out even further! A 2009 study found that playing casual video games — NOT violent and aggressive ones — can have a positive impact on stress levels. 

So, what are some chill games for anxiety-filled and less-than-ideal days? Let’s dive thru gaming in this list!

1. Stardew Valley

There are soooo many great things to say about this game.

You play a character that leaves their stressful, big city life to move to their grandfather’s old farm. Hallmark movie goals, honestly. How you play is up to you! There’s farming, ranching, mining, scavenging, and fishing, and basically any combination of those can allow you to progress in the game. Plus, there’s an online mode where you can play with a friend!

One of the best parts of Stardew Valley is the characters. The village is full of interesting characters that you get to know a little better as you go along, and you really get invested in each of their stories. As far as relaxing games go, Stardew Valley is one of the best.

Stardew Valley is available to play on all gaming platforms.

2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Remember the year 2020? It truly feels like a lifetime ago, but that was when Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released. Our entire social media feed for a good month or so was everyone’s cute and colourful villages.

Animal Crossing is a fantastic game for anxiety because the whole point is to just live. You make friends with other villagers, build your village as you see fit, plant flowers, style your villager, and mostly hang out in a cute, peaceful environment.

There’s satisfying reward systems, but definitely no combat or zombies or anything to spike anxiety. It runs on the same 24 hour time system as real life and rewards players coming back each day, so it’s a great way to spend a couple hours to relax after you’ve done all your normal life stuff. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a Nintendo Switch exclusive.

3. Minecraft

You’d have to have been cryogenically frozen for the past ten years to have never heard of Minecraft. But, just in case you haven’t, or the name rings a bell but you don’t know what it is, we’ll explain it for you! 

Minecraft is an exploration game where you mine and craft. Okay that miiight have been obvious from the title. But one of the best parts of the game is that, if you want, that’s all you need to do. There is a combat aspect that can honestly be stressful at times, but if you make sure your character sleeps at night and watch out when you’re underground, the rest of the experience is so soothing. And the music?? Add it to your wind-down routine, because it is tranquil AF.

There is no right or wrong way to play Minecraft. If you want to build a cute house, farm some animals, and watch the sunset from your crafted home, that’s totally your choice! If you want to gear up and go spelunking for the more valuable materials, that’s all good, too. Minecraft is one of the top tier chill games because you can do whatever you want with it.

Minecraft is available on all gaming platforms. 

4. The Sims

Have you ever wanted to take a break from your regular life to live someone else’s, but still do all the stuff you’d normally do in a day? The Sims has you covered!

That’s mostly a joke, but also kinda true. The Sims is relaxing because there’s no real way to play it wrong. The game is a life simulator, meaning you make your character, build/buy their house, get them a job, make sure they’re fulfilled, and give them some sort of social life. From there, what you do is totally up to you. There are goals and objectives you can try to reach, but if your personal goal is to make the most aesthetically pleasing house possible, that’s totally an option. The Sims world is your oyster! 

The Sims is available on all gaming platforms.

5. Townscaper

If you spent hours as a kid building stuff out of blocks, Townscaper will be a great stress relief game for you.

This is another one of those games with no objective, but to take it further, this game has no plot or characters. The game is literally just building a town, and letting the game’s AI add cute little details into it. If you play your fave relaxing playlist in the background, then you’ve got a really calming experience.

The game has zero barriers to entry. Even if you’ve never played a video game in your entire life, Townscaper is easy enough to pick up. You play at your own pace, build whatever town or city you want, and watch your creation grow. It’s pretty, customizable, and a great experience to help you chill.

Townscaper is available on all gaming platforms.

6. Journey

There’s something really special about Journey.

First of all, the aesthetics. This is such a gorgeous game. The vibrant colours, simple and unique art style, and varied landscapes really make the game gorgeous. But more important than the look of the game is the experience. 

You play a character that isn’t named. The goal of the game is to follow the path to a beacon at the top of a mountain, finding glyphs to allow your character to fly higher and farther than they could before. The gameplay mechanics are super simple, and are honestly just a vessel for the emotional experience. 

But the most beautiful part of Journey is when you find another player. Unlike other online games, there’s no voice chat, name labels, or online lobbies. You simply stumble upon another player in the world, and then continue together, or part ways. The strange thing is that even though you can’t verbally or textually communicate, players almost always stick together, and even wait for each other if the other player falls behind or needs help. 

Journey brings players together in such a meaningful way that shows a deep and human understanding of connection, considering that it’s just a video game. There are no words needed to understand this adventure that you’re both on, and you will often stick with other people until the very end of the game, even when there’s no real necessity for it.

We won’t spoil the end of the game. You need to play it. It’s definitely a stress-relieving game that leaves you feeling so moved and fulfilled by the short yet powerful experience.

Journey is available on all gaming platforms.

With this list in mind, grab your comfiest loungewear, get that lo-fi playlist going, and calm your anxiety with these fun and relaxing video games!

How to Deal With Family Members That Disrespect You

Unfortunately, most people can relate to having that family member. You know, the one you avoid at family gatherings because pretty much every conversation leaves you fuming or fighting back tears. Maybe they’re dishonest, controlling, have problematic beliefs, or are just plain old rude. It’s hard to know exactly how to deal with family members that disrespect you, because it’s not something that should happen in an ideal world. 

Dealing with conflict of any kind is tough, and being related to someone doesn’t make it any easier. So while there’s no one-size fits all way to handle toxic relatives, we do have some tips to help you get through those conversations. Let’s dive in!

1. Keep Your Distance  

Just because you’re at the same family gathering or event, doesn’t mean you have to sit and chat with them. And if you do find yourself in a conversation with someone you’d rather avoid, politely excuse yourself as soon as you want to. There’s no rule for how long you have to talk to someone! 

If the family gathering is one where it’d be impossible to avoid them, remember you’re under no obligation to attend if it’s going to have a negative effect on your mental health. 

And for those times you run into each other at the grocery store, don’t feel like you have to stand and chat in the cereal aisle. You might just be heading home to watch Netflix with your dog, but they don’t know that… so you can always excuse yourself because you have somewhere to be. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid or cut short interactions with toxic relatives.

2. Be Direct 

When dealing with disrespectful family members, it’s best to be direct (if you’re comfortable and safe doing so). While awkwardly laughing off a comment or other passive-aggressive tactics can send the message that someone’s words or actions are unwanted, being direct is a clear way to communicate your feelings. 

Using “I” statements centers your comments on your own feelings instead of attacking them. Even if you really want to fire back at a rude comment with your own attack, that’s only going to escalate things

“I feel disrespected when you make jokes about _____.” 

People don’t always express their emotions in healthy ways. Sometimes that relative who makes snarky comments is trying to bond with you, and isn’t sure how to communicate with you. Sometimes. Friendly banter, like boxing, is a two-party consent kind of thing; if one person didn’t consent to take part, the other person is doing something wrong! 

Be direct and tell them you don’t appreciate their comments. By making it clear that targeted jokes aren’t how you want to bond, you can pave the way for more honest and vulnerable communication in the future. If there was no ill intent on their part, they should be able to understand without getting defensive. 

On the other hand, if the disrespect isn’t coming from failed attempts to bond, and is just someone being an asshole—then being direct makes it clear that you do not appreciate their comments and leaves no space for misinterpretation. Insults or other personal attacks aren’t “just a joke,” and you are totally valid in being upset by them, regardless of what your disrespectful relative says. 

3. Keep Your Emotions in Check 

If someone is being insulting or preaching problematic beliefs, change the subject calmly without taking the bait. 

“Glad to hear you’re keeping up on the news, Jim. Hey Sasha, I saw you just went hiking! How was it?” 

It’s totally understandable if part of you wants to fire off an angry stream of filthy words then storm off. But that’s not going to help diffuse the situation. Keeping your emotions in check doesn’t mean you’re not sending a strong message, though. Think back to your teenage years—being yelled at by your parents was nothing compared to a calm “I’m disappointed in you.” 

Not taking disrespectful comments personally goes a long way toward keeping your emotions in check. Okay, yeah, we know that’s waaaaaaay easier said than done… but think of it this way. Their words and actions say a lot more about the quality of their character than they do about yours. 

4. Sobriety 

If the family member dishing out the disrespectful behaviours is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, it can cause conflicting emotions. You’re still angry and hurt, but you also know there’s a reason for their aggression. Intoxication is not an excuse for bad behaviour; people are still responsible for their actions under the influence. However, if it’s a regular occurrence, it can be a sign of a substance use disorder

There are a couple indirect ways to handle an addiction in the family. Planning dry events removes the accelerant for the problematic behaviours from the equation. It’s not treating the underlying cause, but it does reduce the chance of problematic behaviours. At events where people are consuming substances, staying sober yourself can help prevent conflicts from escalating. 

If you are comfortable with taking more direct actions, you could work with other family members who are aware of the addiction to have an intervention. Prepare ahead of time by writing out your feelings and concerns for their well-being. Depending on the kind of behaviour, record a video of the person while they are under the influence. Even if the person knows they have a problem on some level, it can be jarring to actually see it. 

Facing the consequences of addiction is hard for everyone involved. Give yourself space to process your emotions. 

5. Set and Enforce Boundaries 

Setting boundaries isn’t about telling someone else how to act. You can only control your actions, so setting a boundary is essentially telling someone what the consequence of their actions will be. Remember earlier, how we talked about being direct? That’s key when it comes to setting boundaries. 

“I feel upset when you joke about my appearance. If you continue to make comments about my body then I am going to leave.” 

By setting a boundary like that, you’re telling them how you feel about the situation and what the consequence is for future comments. 

Just as important as setting a clear boundary is keeping it. That means being thoughtful about consequences, because you have to be willing and able to enforce them. 

6. It’s Not Your Responsibility to “Fix” Them

Not everybody has the same beliefs, and that’s okay. Agreeing to disagree with someone else’s opinion is totally fine. If a relative has a different favourite restaurant, cool! Go to one place this time and the other next time. No big deal!

BUT there are certain things that just aren’t opinions. If your relative is making xenophobic jokes, sharing conspiracy theories about the COVID vaccine, or being abusive—that is not a difference of opinion. Do your best in the moment but pls remember it’s not your responsibility to fix them.

7. Cut Ties   

At a certain point, all you can do is enforce your boundaries. It sucks, because you never want to feel like you need to choose between a family member and your own mental health. But family is a privilege, not a right. Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean there’s no consequences for disrespectful behaviour. 

Cutting ties with a toxic person isn’t anything to feel guilty about (even though we know it’s hard—more on that in the next section). It’s the toxic person who ought to feel ashamed of their actions, even if they clearly don’t. We’re not saying that people can’t grow or don’t deserve second chances. BUT they need to show receipts to earn your trust back.  

If you want to maintain relationships with other relatives in the same extended family, tell them you’re not interested in attending any events with that person. Depending on how overtly toxic/ disrespectful the person is, your other relatives may or may not be aware of the situation. Once again, setting a clear boundary is important. Make it clear that this is not up for debate to avoid anyone trying to guilt you into changing your mind. There may be hard feelings, but you can’t control how others will react to your boundaries. Your mental health deserves to be prioritized. 

8. Give Yourself Permission to Grieve 

It’s important to give yourself space to grieve the relationship. Even if you don’t choose to formally cut ties with them, you will feel a sense of loss. Maybe it wasn’t always like this, and you’re grieving the person your relative used to be. Or maybe it has always been like this, and you’re grieving the innocence and belonging that you never felt. 

Talking through your emotions with a loved one or therapist can help. Some therapists specialize in grief or family issues, so keep an eye for those specializations when looking

Figuring out how to deal with family members that disrespect you is hard work, but you deserve love and respect. Just because you’re related to someone does not mean that there are no consequences for toxic behaviour. Remember, family is a privilege, not a right.


6 Ways To Take Care of Yourself While Working Night Shifts

Maybe you like working night shifts or maybe you dread them. Either way, if they’re part of your job, you need to get through them. And that’s where we come in!

We do have a whole article on fixing your sleep schedule but let’s dig into the night-shift specific stuff.

You’re probably well aware that your brain uses cues like light to know when to make melatonin! You’ve also likely heard that you should avoid screens and the sun…and that advice is gold. It will help you get that sweet, sweet REM sleep. 

If you haven’t already done so, make your bedroom nice and dark with blackout curtains or by hanging a blanket over top of your curtains. If you feel physically tired and it’s pitch black in your room, your body won’t fight you on falling asleep, no matter what time of day it is. 

It can also help to wear sunglasses on your commute home. Not only will you limit your exposure to the sunrise, but you’ll also look cool. So that’s two helpful tips for the price of one — you’re welcome! Let’s get into a few more tips.

1. Keep a Sleep Schedule  

Set a schedule for sleeping, and keep to it, regardless of whether or not you’re working. Share that schedule with your roommate, partner, or family who will be in the same space as you during the day and designate a quiet area where everyone knows to stay quiet to allow you to sleep without interruptions. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help your body by avoiding a painful adjustment between the days of the week when you’re working and your days off.

As far as how to transition from day shift to night shift (and vice versa), it’s a process of trial and error to find what works best for you. Maybe you stay up late the night before so you can sleep in and shift your sleep schedule by a few hours beforehand, or maybe you just take an afternoon nap a few hours before your first night shift on the rotation. There’s no one best-solution for shift workers; you know your body best, so do what feels right for you.

2. Create a Sleep Routine

It might sound like strange advice, but don’t go straight to bed when you get home. Allow yourself time to unwind your mind before you actually try to sleep. Instead of heading straight for your bed, take an epsom salt bath, listen to your favourite podcast or some chill music, call your mom for a little chat, and THEN get into bed. A sleep routine will not only help you get a sound sleep, but it’ll help reduce burnout by making it feel less like working + sleeping is all you do. 

It’s so important to take care of yourself and get enough sleep. If your circadian rhythm gets messed up it can lead to all kinds of problems, including a chronic condition called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. It can present similar symptoms as sleep apnea and narcolepsy, so if you’re a night shift worker who has a bad relationship with sleep, talk to your doctor because SWSD is treatable. Somewhere between 10 and 40 percent of shift workers experience SWSD, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

3. Eat Well — and Regularly 

Just like sleep — it’s important to keep your meals on a schedule too. Depending on your shift time, it can vary, but you’re going to want to eat your biggest meal of the day in the evening, a few hours before your shift. That, plus some light snacking on healthy foods during your shift, should keep you sustained. The idea is to avoid eating a big meal at 3 a.m., because your stomach bacteria are sleeping (lucky them!) and consistently eating while your body isn’t expecting it can cause issues like chronic gut issues or increase the risk of type two diabetes. 

Then when you get home, have a light “breakfast” — something like yogurt or fruit. Nothing too big, though, because digestion can affect your ability to get REM sleep. Plus, if you have loved ones who aren’t on the same schedule, sharing a meal together can be a time to bond and get some quality time together before you hit the hay, and they start their day. 

It should go without saying, but if you have a physical or mental health condition like diabetes or you’re recovering from an eating disorder where you need to eat more frequently, DO NOT skip out on that. 

4. Don’t Overindulge on Coffee

For people worried about staying awake on the night shift, the temptation to CHUG coffee (or caffeinated pop/soda) all night long will be there. But like most things, moderation is key. 

You’ll want to avoid drinking more than four cups of coffee in a 24 hour period. And that’s just in general, not specific to night shift workers. The side effects of too much caffeine can include anxiety, insomnia, dehydration, and heart palpitations. Sooooo yeah coffee is pretty great but it’s not always the answer. 

A good alternative is drinking water. Water keeps you hydrated; dehydration can cause things like lethargy and headaches, and those would NOT help you working night shifts. Make your reusable water bottle your new best friend and keep it by your side. And if water starts to get boring, you can try sprucing it up a bit by adding some lemon or mint for a little extra flavour. Or make tea!

Some night shift workers swear by “the coffee nap.” When your break starts, you drink coffee and then try to take a quick 15-minute nap immediately after. That’s about how long it takes for caffeine to start affecting your body, so you’re getting a double-boost of sleep and caffeine in the middle of your shift. Of course, this only works if you have access to a break room couch or something else, and if you have the willpower to actually limit your nap to 15 minutes. 

However, you should avoid drinking coffee too close to bedtime. Experts generally say to avoid caffeine for six hours before you’re going to bed. So plan accordingly, because there’s few things worse than lying in bed, exhausted, but unable to sleep because you just haaad to have that last cuppa coffee. 

5. Keep Moving  

Any kind of stimulation, either through physical activity or a conversation, will keep you alert. Going for a short walk gets the blood flowing and keeps you from getting sleepy. It can also help to talk with your coworkers—either about your job or just chit-chat. 

Also, as tempting as it might be to skip out on physical activity when you’re not at work, doing some kind of movement at least a few times a week has health and mental benefits. We’re not about that toxic fitness culture (body diversity and body acceptance is more our vibe), so we’re talking about moving in a way that makes you happy and excited to come back to that activity whenever you want a little boost! 

While it’s supes unlikely that you’ll feel like doing anything active after work, that’s actually a good thing. Like we said two paragraphs ago, activity wakes you up… so while it’s a good thing to do in the middle of your shift to perk yourself up, it’s not the best idea right before bed. Instead, try going for a walk or doing some other kind of activity when you wake up in the evening, with a big smile on [your] face — oh darn did we start singing All-American Rejects again?? Sorry about that… 

6. Take Care of Your Mental Health 

It can be pretty easy to dwell on the fact that you’re at work in the middle of the freaking night, but don’t forget about the benefits. Depending on what you value in a job, working night shifts can actually be nicer. 

Working during non-peak hours can also sometimes mean a less stressful shift. Night shifts have less public interaction and more of a focus on sustaining momentum and maintaining progress from day-to-day. To be clear, we’re not saying night shifts are easy or diminishing the work in any way. Imagine a world where all the nurses, firefighters, security guards, and air traffic controllers clocked out at 5 p.m.—yikes!! 

Working nights or weekends might not be everyone’s first choice, but that can create a sort of bond between you and your coworkers. You might even start each shift singing “We’re All In this Together” from High School Musical! No? Yeah totally us neither. 

Night shift depression is real. It can feel like you have seasonal depression year-round when you don’t see the sun enough. Whether it’s by talking with loved ones or coworkers, light therapy, antidepressants, or seeing a therapist, don’t neglect your mental health. Remember to take care of yourself — because you’re worth taking care of. 


Taking Care of Your Mental Health in Long Distance Relationships

If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, you know the struggle can be very real. You miss them. Texting, calling, FaceTiming, sending handwritten letters like lovers during wartime… sometimes you just want that IRL feeling! But long distance relationships don’t have to suck, right??

Correct! Good job! A+ for you!

The good news is that a 2014 study backed up the fact that long distance relationships don’t have to suck—depending on the circumstances. The couples that took care of their own mental health, planned visits, had a clear vision of their future, and stayed positive had healthy long distance relationships. If there’s love, effort, and emotional honesty, you can have a long distance relationship that lasts!

That’s not to say that there’s no challenge. Surviving long distance relationships can be tough af. We want you to make it work while also taking care of your mental health. Here’s our list of mental health tips for a long distance relationship! 

1. Schedule Time Together

When weighing the pros and cons of a long distance relationship, finding time to be together that works for both of you can be a definite con. Especially if there’s a time zone difference. 

A good way to make sure no one misses a hangout and that it fits in everyone’s schedules is by sending an actual calendar invite. Yeah, it seems a little formal and gives remote work vibes, but this is you working on your relationship! It’ll make it easy to remember. Or text each other reminders. Whatever floats your boat. Basically, set a day and time to hang out and make sure that you and your partner are free. 

If you both have lots going on, you can try a “background Skype.” That’s where you set up a video chat in the background while you continue with your regular stuff, sometimes chiming in if you have something to say. Cute lil’ way to stay in touch with busy schedules! 

2. Keep Living Your Regular Life

As much as it can suuuuck to be long distance with someone, it’s not gonna make it better if you wait at the door until they visit again, or stare at your phone for them to call/ text back. You gotta keep living your life.

Hang out with your loved ones. Focus on your hobbies. Go to local events (if it’s all safe and good for you to do so). Take your dog for a walk. Walk your friend’s dog. Walk your neighbour’s dog. Start a dog walking service. We could name dog-related examples all day, but you get the idea. 

Focusing on other things can be a healthy way to deal with stuff that’s tough for you. But don’t get it twisted – you should still be feeling all the feelings that you feel. We don’t want you to repress how much you miss them. We’re just saying that ruminating on it won’t change anything, so why not check out that local art show you’ve heard so much about? 

3. Be Honest About Your Feelings

This one can be tough. People will often want to say that [Kim Kardashian voice] “everything is fine,” even though everything is not fine, but you just can’t get into it. If you’re really sad and miss them, you can say that. You should say it, actually. It helps everyone if you’re honest about your feelings rather than bottling it up. Or, if you had a FaceTime date planned and they couldn’t make it, let them know you were disappointed. 

It’s super important to approach these situations of emotional vulnerability with empathy and compassion for yourself and each other. Long distance can be hard on everyone involved. Things can be misunderstood, especially over text. For example, when someone says “Hey.” instead of “Hey!”, it can lead to an instant nervous sweat. Are they upset, or did they just accidentally hit period instead of the exclamation point??

Ask them if they can call or FaceTime you to have an honest conversation. It might be challenging for you in the moment, but you’ll both come out more connected and with a better understanding of each other’s feelings.

4. Figure Out Your Love Language

So, you’re dating long-distance, and your partner is FLOODING your mailbox with cute lil’ gifts that they order for you! Which is great! You appreciate the thought behind it. Buuut you haven’t talked to them in a few days and what you really want is a video call with them.

This miscommunication has to do with you and your partner’s love languages. Based on a book by Dr. Gary Chapman, love languages encompasses a few ways that romantic partners can express their love to their SO, and how they want to be loved. There’s five main ones: 

  • Receiving Gifts: giving and buying gifts for your partner 
  • Quality Time: spending time together without distractions 
  • Acts of Service: doing something helpful for your partner 
  • Physical Touch: connecting with your partner through touch 
  • Words of Affirmation: saying kind and supportive things to your partner 

As Simone Saunders explains in her DiveThru course “Working Towards a Healthy Relationship,” you learn a lot about how to love someone else through the ways you were loved when you were younger. 

So if your loved ones liked to buy you little knickknacks when they were out, you might appreciate gifts now. Similarly, if you grew up in a household that gave out all the hugs, your love language might be touch. Let ‘em know what you like and ask them what their love languages are. Less miscommunication, more understanding, more love!!

Btw, check out her course in the DiveThru app for all the juicy info about love, including boundary setting, attachment styles, and more!!

5. Get Support From a Pro

Couples therapy might not be the first tip for long distance relationships that you want to hear. There’s a whooole bunch of stigma around it. But trust us when we say that it can be a great way to know each other’s expectations and feelings!

A mental health professional can be a mediator between you and your S.O. when you’re long distance. With so many people doing therapy over video calls now, it’s even more accessible for a long distance couple to see a therapist together! The therapist can help you communicate with each other in a safe environment, and make your relationship more open and trusting. If you find that you’re both having some trouble opening up, it’s a good option to consider! 

Whatever you choose to do with your long distance relationship, it’s pretty similar to an up-close relationship. Treat your partner with respect, spend time together, have your own life, figure out each other’s love languages, and get help if you want it. You’ll be just fine!

Top 8 Free Mental Health Apps To Support You in 2023

If there’s one thing we love here at DiveThru, it’s a free mental health app. Is it because we have our own free app that we’re going to plug in this article? Definitely. But besides that, we love that mental health is becoming more accessible for everyone, at affordable price points, right on your phone! 

It can be tough to search through aaaalll the options in the app store to find the apps that suit you. Plus, everyone has different needs! That’s why we did all the searching for you. Here are eight free mental health apps for a variety of needs, so you can take self-care with you anywhere you go. Let’s dive into it! 


We would kinda suck as a company if we didn’t mention the DiveThru app in this article! But we’ll explain all the lovely benefits you get from it.

First off, we have our Dives! These free routines lets you take care of your mental health with 3 simple steps (5-minutes-or-less!) every single day. For the first step, you track your feelings to help you identify your emotions and their triggers. In the second step, you work through a 60-second breathing exercise to regulate yourself. And the last step is 2 quick journal prompts. Pick our general Check-In Dive to start or head right into a topic-specific routine, like one of our Anxiety, Preventing Burnout, or Exploring Self-Esteem Dives. The Dives make positive mental health routines easy AF to start and stick to!

In the app, there’s a ton of content, including hundreds of journal prompts, soooo many informative articles, mindfulness exercises, and interactive courses with therapist-led videos. Everything we put on our mental health app is double-checked by mental health professionals, so you know it’s good! 


Can artificial intelligence help your mental health? Wysa thinks so!

Wysa is a mental health app that uses an AI chat bot to navigate your concerns in a way that helps you feel secure and anonymous. After chatting for a bit, the AI recommends different resources and functions in the app to help steer you towards something that can help you in that moment. 

Wysa includes self-care packs with different meditations, exercises, and check-ins for a long list of mental health concerns. As well, it has a paid option to have text sessions with a therapist! If you prefer to not talk about your emotions IRL and feel like texting is the way to go, Wysa is the right app for you.


If your days feel chaotic and messy, and you struggle to keep good habits, you might want some help establishing a routine. This is where Routinery shines!

The app has functions to build a custom routine to suit your needs. You can make a morning routine (with timers!) to remind yourself of anything you need to do! And it’s totally customizable. So you can set a routine to wake up, make your bed, brush your teeth, do your skincare routine, get dressed, and journal—all with custom time limits—in any order you like! TBH waking up probably comes first… but the rest of the order is up to you!.

Plus, the app has celebrity routines that you can choose from! So if you want your morning to look like Oprah Winfrey’s, Routinery can make that happen. 

It’s a great tool for people who have a tough time sticking to a routine (shout out to our ADHD friends), or find themselves forgetting a step or two when their day gets out of hand. 

Simple Habit

If you don’t meditate because it sounds stressful, Simple Habit might be a good choice! The goal of this mental health app is to make it that much easier for everyone to try meditating. 

The guided meditations last between three and 20 minutes, with plenty of smaller programs to focus on if you’re strapped for time. There’s tons of different categories to choose from, so whether you’re looking to build some self-love or to feel inspired, Simple Habit has a meditation for you! 

Simple Habit has a seven day free trial, but then requires a subscription.

Clear Fear

This mental health app is all about challenging your fears! 

Clear Fear includes journaling prompts, mood tracking, and anxiety-tackling activities. The big “Clear Your Fear” button on the homepage lets you get specific with your anxiety and what would help, then walks you through ways you can manage your anxiety. The app also gives you some inspirational quotes to use for affirmation, and has a Safety Net option that reminds you of what helps in tough times. 

If your anxiety is confusing as hell and you don’t know why you feel the way you feel, this anxiety app can help you figure yourself out! 


When you want to get some movement in, but you’re not able to fully commit to a workout, Wakeout has you covered.

The app is full of fun and easy workouts that are designed to be done basically anywhere. They have office chair yoga, quick kitchen workouts, and fun couch movements you can do with your partner. Schedule a bite-sized activity break whenever you have a moment to spare! You can also set timers to remind you to get moving. The video guides will help you nail those moves, and it makes it suuuper easy to fit a bit of movement into your day. 

Wakeout has a seven day free trial, but then requires a subscription. 


Meditopia’s goal is to make mindfulness and meditation a consistent habit with incredible long-term results.

When you open the app, you get a questionnaire about your mental state, your challenges, and your goals. The app then gives you a personalized program based on your wants and needs. Meditopia has so much variety, including guided meditation, music, and nature sounds. You have options to inspire you, get yourself familiar with your true feelings, and even help you sleep.

Meditopia has a seven day free trial, but then requires a subscription.


Rootd is all about addressing and accepting panic attacks with their big red button called The Rootr. 

If you’re having a panic attack, hit that button! It will give you the options of some reaffirming statements about your resilience and how panic attacks are temporary, or some statements of radical acceptance that remind you to stop resisting the sensations and to take them head-on. 

Aside from that, they also have lessons about panic and anxiety, breathing exercises, journaling functions, visualization exercises, and audios to help you sleep. Using it all consistently will help give you the tools to handle a panic attack when it comes along. 

Rootd has a seven day free trial, but then requires a subscription.


There you go! That’s eight of the best mental health apps for 2022 to help you take charge of your mental health from the convenience of your phone. Our personal fave is still the first one tbh! Everyone’s mental health needs will be different, so try them all, play around, and see what works best for you! 

8 Tips for Dealing With Dating-App Fatigue

Dating app fatigue is very real. The constant revolving door of matches, choice paralysis, soooo many talking phases where you ask the same questions over and over and over… ugh. 

Finding someone to date in 2022 is tough. We’re two years into a pandemic, and it feels like dating apps are one of the few options left to meet new people! But the apps can become so exhausting after a while. How do you deal with it??

Well, that depends on why they tire you out! We’ve made a list with some common issues people deal with when it comes to dating apps, and how you can get through them. Let’s dive into dating apps!

1. Redefine Rejection

You found someone you really click with! You talk all the time! You even went on a date, and it felt amazing! You updated the group chat about the new boo and things are looking up! But then they hit you with, “I don’t see this going anywhere.” Ouch. Or even worse, they freaking ghost you

Rejection can feel rough. And veeeerry personal, especially in a dating situation. When you’re rejected for a job, it could be based on your experience, education, the company making an internal hire, or so many other factors. But if someone rejects you in a dating situation, it can feel like they’re rejecting you, like, as a human being. That can sting. On dating apps, you can even feel the twinge of rejection before you meet them, when you think a sure match goes unswiped on their end. 

Getting rejected doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong, bad, or flawed with you. It simply means you weren’t a match. Think of it this way: you can have the most perfectly baked, perfectly sweet, perfectly warm slice of pumpkin pie in front of you. But if you’re not a fan of pumpkin pie, you won’t want to eat it, regardless of how perfect it is.

So don’t give up! Be your most perfect pumpkin pie-self, and someone out there will want to eat you up. In a dating way. You get it. 

2. Make Sure It’s Still Fun

Dating should be fun! Talking to someone new should get you all warm and fuzzy inside. Planning a date or hookup should be something you’re 100% down and ready to do. 

A lot of dating app burnout can come from feeling like it’s a chore, or getting sick of drawn-out talking phases that never lead to anything. Is every match gonna be the whirlwind adventure of your wildest rom-com dreams? Nope. But you definitely shouldn’t dread opening up the app, or ignore your matches because you think they’ll fail before they start.

Basically, if it’s not fun, either give yourself a break from the apps, or try to approach them with less pressure to “succeed.” Think less about the end goal and more about getting to know a new person. These dating app icebreakers could help you out!

3. Get To Know Yourself

Speaking of which! Do you know yourself?

I mean, of course you do, to some extent. You’re hanging out with yourself literally all the time. But getting to know your own thoughts, emotions, and motivations can help you combat dating app fatigue. Asking yourself questions can help you understand why you’re fatigued, why you’re turning to dating apps in the first place, and how you can refocus on things that bring you energy and excitement.

One of our fave ways of getting to know yourself is through journaling. When you find that you’re dreading the apps, try out these prompts:

Why am I wanting to download or open up a dating app right now?

Do I find dating apps beneficial, harmful, or neutral for my mental health? 

When do I feel dating app fatigue the most? 

The prompts won’t fix the fatigue, but getting to the source can help you figure out whether you really want to use the apps to find a match, or are just doing it out of boredom, loneliness, or a desire for validation. No judgment here, btw! Everyone wants to feel desirable every once in a while. Just make sure it’s not bringing you down, okay?

Side note, if you want hundreds more journaling prompts from the convenience of your phone, the DiveThru app has soooo many to choose from! So many topics, so many prompts, so much introspection. Oooohh, and the app is free. So go ahead and download it. Plz. Thx. 

4. Focus On You

What makes you happy? 

So much of using a dating app is trying to attract other people. That’s kinda the whole point. But what brings you joy? What excites you? If the app is bringing you down, re-evaluate your approach. How much of your Tinder profile really reflects you and your interests vs. trying to appear attractive to the highest amount of people? Are your matches giving you as much effort as you give them?

We know that telling you to focus on yourself is weird dating advice, since dating involves at leeeeast one more person. But think about it: when you see someone living their happiest life and chasing their passions, that’s super attractive, right?? Getting matches is cute and fresh and fun, but remember to live your best life in the process! 

5. Take a Break

I mean, this one is so obvious that it shouldn’t have to be said, right? But juuuust in case you hadn’t considered it, taking a break from the apps can help.

When you’re burned out by something, a break might be in order. Delete the app for a week. You don’t have to delete it in a frustrated rage, though—just wanting a breather is a valid reason. If and when it feels right, redownload it. If you find yourself happier without the apps, maybe you need some more time away. 

6. Try a New Platform

These days, a lot of people are turning to social media as a matchmaking service! There are Twitter threads where you describe yourself, your interests, and add a couple pics, and people DM you off of that. There’s even TikTok matchmaker accounts dedicated to featuring people in the videos that are looking for a love match. 

Choice paralysis is one of the big drawbacks of dating apps, and can definitely lead to fatigue. There’s an incentive to keep swiping and see if something better comes up in the same way that we scroll endlessly through social media. If you always have the possibility of a new match waiting around the corner, how can you put effort into one you already have? Try to focus on less people at a time and really consider them before swiping again. Limit how many convos you have going at a time.

7. Volunteer Locally To Meet People

Maybe your dating app fatigue is less about the dating and more about the app. In that case, get out there and volunteer!

What are you passionate about?? Look it up and find a local organization or event dedicated to that thing. Whether you want to volunteer at an animal shelter, a concert, or a convention—volunteering makes meeting someone in your area extra easy. 

Even if you don’t find the love of your life, you could find a great friend, which is pretty sweet, too. And maybe that friend introduces you to someone you end up dating! Either way, there’s no dating app fatigue involved, and you end up with cool people in your life who are interested in the same stuff you do. We love to see it! 

8. Journey > Destination

The cycle of using, deleting, and re-downloading dating apps can deeefinitely become tiring after a while. You’re probably going to have many matches that go nowhere, talking phases that fizzle out, and you might even be ghosted once or twice. All of that can make it tough to keep using the apps. 

Try to take your matches one step at a time. Instead of thinking big picture and far in the future, when you get a match, think about getting to know them. If that goes well, then you can think about a first date. After that, a second date. But in the whole process, if you’re approaching every match like they’re your one true love, you’ll likely be disappointed. So stay in the present, see where things go, and don’t forget to have fun with it!

10 Therapists on TikTok You Should Follow

The combination of TikTok and therapy is so gooood! Two of our fave things rolled into one. It’s like chocolate and peanut butter, or weighted blankets and naps, or procrastinating your work and scrolling through your FYP for three hours until you get the TikTok guy telling you to go outside. Okay, we def don’t recommend the third one, but the first two are pretty great.

TikTok therapy content is not a replacement for actual therapy. But mental health TikTok accounts can be a great way to learn about the topics! Or, at the very least, you can watch therapists make memes about mental health. Getting a meme with your educational info is a sweet two-for-one deal. Plus, if you see a really relatable vid, you can take that into your session and talk about it with your therapist. 

Mental health and social media can also be a dangerous combo. It can give a big platform to someone who thinks they know all about mental health, but actually gives uninformed or harmful advice. Soooo, with that in mind, which therapists on TikTok do we recommend?

TikTok Therapists to Follow

For this list, we scoured the app for 10 of the best therapists on TikTok making funny, educational, and relatable content. In no particular order, let’s get into it! 

Simone Saunders (@thecognitivecorner)

Simone Saunders is a therapist whose content on TikTok is largely based on healing from trauma. Her videos cover family trauma, relationships, and attachment styles, among other things. She also has TikToks that respond to viewer comments, explaining topics like feeling like an outsider and dissociative amnesia. 

While she does cover the many difficulties associated with PTSD, she also touches on the less overt forms of trauma, like how childhood trauma can include the lack of good things that should have happened, rather than the presence of bad things. Definitely worth checking out if you want to learn more about trauma.

Hannah Fuhlendorf (@hannahtalksbodies)

Hannah Fuhlendorf is a licensed therapist, involved activist in many different causes, and suuuper informative content creator. She’s all about dispelling the myths created by anti-fat bias, advocating for body acceptance, and creating a fair world where fat people are able to have the same quality of life as straight-sized people.

If you’re looking for advice on how to take care of yourself as an activist, or wondering just how toxic diet culture really is (hint: it’s Britney Spears pop anthem kind of toxic), check out her account!

Dr. Justin Puder (@amoderntherapist)

Dr. Justin Puder is a licensed therapist and psychologist who’s all about managing stress and anxiety, the power of vulnerability, and the benefits of mindfulness. In his videos, he’s talked about the trauma of the deaths of his dad and brother, working through his OCD diagnosis, and using his experiences to inform his practice.

He also has a video on buying plants as a coping mechanism. It’s definitely not relatable, definitely not something we do, and deeefinitely not the reason we feel the need to steer clear of the houseplant section in every store (succulents might not fix every problem, but they fix the problem of not having a succulent, and some would say that’s a step in the right direction).

Sandy Tufts (@therapyghost) 

Sandy Tufts is a licensed independent clinical social worker who uses TikTok to create a safe space for mental health information. She often makes videos responding to comments, covering topics like childhood neglect, hypervigilance as a trauma response, and mental health disorders like Bipolar Disorder.

She has a great multi-part series on therapist red flags. Her examples include your therapist insisting on you describing your trauma in detail, giving weight loss tips when body image concerns are brought up, and blaming a young person’s self-harm on puberty. Yikes. Yeah, those are red flags in anyone, but DEFINITELY red flags in therapists.

Dr. Carrie (@the.parent.therapist)

Dr. Carrie is a child psychologist who’s all about kids and ADHD. She posts tons of content for parents, like how to handle tantrums, the challenges of organizing ADHD kids’ schedules, and how to parent a kid with ADHD when you also have ADHD. She also makes content about setting boundaries with family, and shutting down body-shaming comments directed at your kids from your family. Yes yes yesss. 

She also has a great video about bad ADHD advice as inspiration quotes. Taking away the shame around parenting struggles, while also making hilarious content?? Incredible. We love. We live. 

Dr. Han Ren (@drhanren)

Dr. Han Ren is a licensed clinical and school psychologist who’s passionate about intersectionality, BIPOC therapy access, and anti-oppressive work. Her videos are honest and real, and address the sometimes hateful and racist reality of being a BIPOC person on a public platform. On her social media, she tries to show her audience the true, lived experiences of BIPOC people. 

When she’s not addressing the unfortunate experiences of racism, her videos have a light and fun tone. Bonus points because they often feature her cute lil’ puppy!! The ones on cultural aspects of mental health and trauma are fascinating, and she’s just as educational as she is entertaining! 

Dr. Kristen Casey (@drkristencasey)

Dr. Kristen Casey is a clinical psychologist who often works with business and entrepreneurs, but has lots of content about anxiety management, how to get a restful sleep, and what therapists really think during sessions. She has videos about the pandemic’s emotional toll, and how it has affected mental health workers. It’s an important reminder that therapists are humans, too, and feel the weight of the world just like everyone else. Knowing what we’re going through is part of what makes them great therapists!

Her videos are super informative, and she’s talked about the incredible steps that social media has made towards making mental health information accessible, but like so many therapists (and us!), she emphasizes that TikTok therapy content can’t replace actual therapy.

Dr. Kojo Sarfo (@dr.kojosarfo)

Dr. Kojo Sarfo is a Hollywood-based psychiatrist who posts videos on a range of mental health topics. He covers things like ADHD, eating disorders, and anxiety. Because of his own experiences with ADHD and low self-esteem, he creates a lot of content to educate people on the symptoms of ADHD

One aspect of his videos is reassuring people that going to a psychiatric hospital is okay, that the staff are there to help you, and that patients are able to thrive after admission. The effort to destigmatize seeking help during mental health crises is amazing!! 

Dr. Melissa Shepard (@doctorshepard_md)

Dr. Melissa Shepard is a psychiatrist and therapist who posts lots of educational content. She’s all about making affirmations work for you, learning to accept anxiety rather than resisting or avoiding it, and allowing yourself to struggle with your mental health. The idea that we’re not allowed to struggle because “someone has it worse is super unhelpful to everyone involved and had nothing to do with your situation.

Dr. Shepard has also made a really great video about making sure that your “Tik Tok therapist” is actually a registered therapist! She suggests checking their bio, website, or Googling their credentials. There’s a lot of false and misleading info out there! Check your sources, people!! And remember, a degree in TikTok Therapy is not a real credential! 

Shani Tran (@theshaniproject)

Shani Tran is a licensed therapist who posts tons of high-energy content about running her BIPOC-owned and -staffed therapy office, dealing with Black trauma, and managing stress and anxiety. She loves dancing around and performing skits, making her approach to therapy all her own. 

A big part of her videos are making sure people are finding the therapists that suit their needs, and that they’re getting the most out of their sessions. After all, you’re the one paying for the service, so you should be benefiting from it! 

TikTok Therapy Content ≠ Going to Therapy

This content is all super fun and informative, but again, TikTok therapy content is not a replacement for real therapy! The right therapist for you will listen to your individual needs and act accordingly. Just because you recognize a symptom from a TikTok, does not mean you have that mental health disorder. Avoid the pitfalls of self-diagnosing, and make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned!

But until you book that appointment, a couple funny mental health vids couldn’t hurt.

10 Self-Care Tools for Trans and Non-Binary Folks

Transgender and non-binary people have a lot of reasons to practise self-care. It’s enough stress to deal with everyday things like finances, relationships, family, and school, but if you add gender politics into that mix, it’s super easy for that stress to become too much. So you need to take care of yourself! 

There’s a common misconception that self-care is taking a bubble bath, putting on a face mask, and watching a nostalgic childhood movie. Those things can be helpful! But self-care is more about prioritizing your mental and physical wellbeing beyond the superficial so that you have the emotional resilience to take on the many challenges life throws at you. 

Self-care is going to look a little different for someone whose gender expression and identity can make them feel like an outsider, or even put them in danger. But we want trans and non-binary people to find—and keep—joy in their life! So this is a self-care list that has trans and non-binary folks in mind.

1. Find Your Support System

Everyone needs support! And this is especially true for trans and non-binary people. Finding your family—whether given or chosen—is so important. The idea of the found family is all about finding people that make you feel safe, loved, and respected, outside of the boundaries of a biological or nuclear family. 

Many transgender and non-binary people face rejection from or conflict with family members after coming out. So whether or not your relatives are willing to accept your trans or enby identity, your close friends, their pets, and your work bestie can make a fantastic support system! Maybe keep the pets away from the Friendsgiving table tho.

2. Journal

Your journal is such a great tool to work through your thoughts and feelings. If you’re grappling with your gender identity and expression, or want to dig deep into your feelings around gender, journaling is a great way to take care of your mental health!

You can journal to build gratitude, work on loving/ accepting your body, and learn how to love yourself. We’re veeeery pro-journaling at DiveThru, and have tons of prompts in our app to help you work through whatever you’re thinking about. And your journal is yours, so you should def use it to get out all those complicated thoughts and feelings, but you can also journal about how Laverne Cox looks gorgeous literally all the time. Like… how? What’s her secret??

3. Style Yourself How You Want To Look

An affirming way of embracing your gender identity is to style yourself however you want to look. For transgender and non-binary people, many grew up with the pressure to look a certain way that went against their gender identity. So developing your personal style and rocking it can be an amazing form of self-care!

It’s okay if you’re not comfortable going out in public in your own unique style at first. If you want to strut around your house wearing what makes you happy, full support! Your hallway is a runway. Hunter Schafer would be proud. 

If you want to try to change up your look but you’re scared to do it alone, reach out to your support system, have an eighties makeover montage, and let them give you all the emotional support you need (and maybe a borrowed outfit) to look like your true self. 

4. Find Activities and Hobbies That Bring Joy

Living with a gender expression other than cisgender can be stressful. That’s why it’s important to pursue experiences that bring you joy!

Artistic expression can be a great way to lose yourself in something while working through how you feel. And if you don’t think you’re very skilled at the art you create, remember Bob Ross’s wise words: “It’s the imperfections that make something beautiful. That’s what makes it different and unique from everything else.” 

Of course, art isn’t the only option. You can go for a hike, play some video games, bake, and do any number of activities that make you happy!

5. Get Moving

Speaking of hiking! 

Physical activity is a fantastic emotional regulator and it includes so much more than just hitting the gym. But we know that exercise can be intrinsically connected to diet culture so here’s the type of movement we want you to focus on. You should move in a way that makes you happy and do the type of activities that you genuinely enjoy — whether that is stretching, yoga, dancing, running, biking, swimming, or going for walks in your neighbourhood. As long as you’re bringing some joyful movement into your day, that’s all that matters.

6. Become An Activist (With Safety In Mind)

It’s an unfortunate reality that it’s more dangerous to be transgender than it is to be cisgender. 2021 saw the most violence on record against transgender people than any year before (“on record” is being specified because a lot of violence will go unreported). In the United States in 2021, a record breaking amount of states passed anti-transgender laws that allow awful exclusionary policies like banning trans women in women’s sports leagues, letting businesses signal customers when trans people are using public washrooms, banning gender changes on birth certificates, and medical professionals being allowed to turn away trans people simply for being transgender. 

You have every right to be upset about political moves like these and want to get involved. Part of self-care can be taking action towards making the world a better and more accepting place. Look up local 2SLGBTIA+ organizations that you can get involved with, join online communities that are fighting to make a change, and donate to 2SLGBTIA+ shelters and funds that help at-risk youths get the financial aid they need.

But you have to take care of yourself in all this. Activism can be self-care, but it can also become destructive if you let it take over your life. 

As registered therapist Hannah Fuhlendorf explains in our DiveThru course Sustaining the Activist: How to Take Care of Yourself While Changing the World, the idea of the self-sacrificing activist is not worth it. You must prioritize your time, money, and energy for yourself so that you can help the world and yourself when you do get involved in a cause! 

Check out the course in the DiveThru app for more tips on getting involved, finding your community, and how to take care of yourself while making a change. 

7. Follow 2SLGBTIA+ Influencers and Activists

Social media affects how you think and perceive the world. So curating your feed is a big step in finding people that share your values. Whether you want to follow 2SLGBTIA+ activists who are trying to make changes in the world, or trans and enby people who post OOTDs and cottagecore inspo pics, your feed is yours to control! Unfollow toxic and unsupportive people and fill your feed with amazing Queer influencers and adorable animals. You’ll be much happier while scrolling social media.

8. Allow Yourself to Disconnect

This goes along with the previous two points.

Yes, it can be a form of self-care to be involved in the 2SLGBTIA+ community, and to follow people on social media that inspire you, match your gender politics, and generally have a positive vibe. But along with activism and social media comes that 24 hour news cycle, clickbait-y articles and posts, and the sometimes ignorant opinions of strangers on the internet. Every once in a while, a break is needed.

Taking a break to disconnect doesn’t invalidate your activism, involvement in the community, or how much you pay attention to the world. Disconnect for a bit and read a good fiction book, take a leisurely walk in your local park, or just have a nice, long nap. Do what works for you!

9. Practice Mindfulness

It can feel comforting to repress your thoughts and feelings sometimes. As a transgender or non-binary person, you may deal with a lot of shit from a lot of different angles, and may even be struggling with trauma and PTSD. Practising mindfulness is a way to bring awareness to those thoughts and feelings and work through them in a way that reduces stress and, with practice, brings a lasting sense of calm when you need it. 

Mindfulness is used to check in with your thoughts, allow them to come, and accept them without judgment. In a mindfulness practice, thoughts aren’t good or bad – they just are. For someone struggling with gender dysphoria, that can be a helpful tool!

Studies confirm the potential benefits of mindfulness for transgender and non-binary people, too. In a 2016 study on 2SLGBTIA+ youth, mindfulness was shown to help young people deal with sexuality-based victimization. As well, a different 2016 study found a positive correlation between trauma-informed mindfulness practises and a reduction in PTSD symptoms, which many transgender people struggle with.

Mindfulness will look a little different for everyone. Whether you want to do a full 30 minute meditation, or a five minute check-in before bed, play around with it and see what sticks!

10. Go to Therapy

At times, self-care will need more than one person to do it right. It takes a village, as they say. Pretty sure they were referring to raising children but it can take a village to prioritize your mental health, too! That’s what mental health professionals are here to do.

Therapy can be an amazing tool to help you work through your concerns and talk about things like your gender identity, trauma, and any other concern you might have. Finding a therapist who is transgender and non-binary affirming will be key, so that’s why we wrote a whole article on it. 

Self-care is an ongoing process. Doing any of these just once when you’re having a bad day won’t make a lasting difference, even if it helps in the moment. So take these tools, put them in your metaphorical self-care toolbelt, and practise using them regularly! Go out there and live your best gender-affirmed life.

How To Support Your Grandparents With Their Mental Health

Ahh, ageing! It’s challenging to get older and see your parents and grandparents age. They used to take care of you, and now you may be returning the favour. Don’t you wish getting old could be avoided??

Grandparents can have a special, wholesome, and unique relationship with their grandchildren. But getting older isn’t easy, especially when ones’ physical and mental health begins to deteriorate. It can be difficult to watch them go through this, but you can help—just by being there! Showing them emotional support is highly beneficial to their mental health.

According to research published in The Gerontologist, grandparents who have continuous positive, supportive interactions with their grandchildren had fewer and less serious symptoms of depression and better psychological health than grandparents who do not have strong emotional attachments with their grandchildren.

And if topics like mental health, worry, or sadness were not talked about openly when you were younger, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! Let’s look at how to broach these subjects with your grandparents and encourage them to talk about mental health.

1. Lend A Listening Ear

When you were a kid, you may have been told to “have your listening ears on” at school. So often, when a loved one is going through anything, our initial impulse is to fix it as soon as possible by providing solutions. Vulnerability isn’t easy for everyone. Seniors may have had negative experiences sharing emotions in the past that continue to influence them today. Because showing vulnerability hasn’t always been (and still isn’t) normalized from a societal standpoint, it can make people feel exposed. 

Something as simple as listening to your grandparents share stories from their life can make a big difference. If they feel isolated, just having a loved one to talk with might boost their mood. Similarly, there may be times when your loved one requires a safe space to express themselves without being judged or given advice. So when you lend a listening ear, make sure to be actively listening as you create a safe environment for them to communicate their feelings. 

2. Be A Resource

Through those conversations, you can get a better picture of your grandparents past and present experiences. That can help you piece together what resources to recommend. You can even involve them in some of the resources that you yourself use for your mental health! That could mean sharing an article about journaling, taking a mindfulness course together in the DiveThru app, or watching a YouTube video about a topic they’re interested in. 

You don’t need to have all the answers yourself, but just by knowing where to look, you can be a big help for your grandparents. Maybe online research is daunting for them, so having a loved one they can turn to helps a lot! You can also pick and choose what you activities you share based on what they like most.  If they like to write, send a journaling prompt. If they’re more of a sit on the couch and chill kind of grandparent, send a breathing exercise. Just as long as they know you’re there to help them when it comes to their mental health.

3. Celebrate Their Growth

Because of your support, your grandparents might take steps like journaling, practicing mindfulness, or see a therapist for the first time (it’s never too late in life to start!). It’s important to remember to celebrate each step of their journey. Recognizing their accomplishments is an excellent way to show that you are their biggest cheerleader and want them to succeed by acknowledging each milestone.

4. Ask Your Grandparents How They Like To Be Supported 

You know what they say about assumptions. There are times when we don’t know what our loved ones need, so we just share everything that we know and hope something sticks. Instead, try asking basic questions like: 

How can I support you right now?
How can I help you when you’re in need?

Simple and straight-forward questions like these are great ways to help someone open up and understand what support means to them. It means various things to different individuals, so the best way to find out is…well, to ask!

5. Introduce Them To Self-Care Activities 

Older generations may not be familiar with the familiar term “self-care.” And if they have heard it, they may have discounted it as luxury not meant for them.

They may have spent a good majority of their lives pouring themselves into taking care of their family, putting themselves second. Talk to them about self-care and what it really means to prioritize caring for yourself. They might not know that self-care can be simple things like going for walks, taking a moment to be mindful, practicing a hobby, or simply doing some deep breathing. 

Whether a grandparent in your life has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or you just want to encourage them to be more aware of their mental health, you can help them create their very own self-care routine. Ask them about ways they’d like to prioritize themselves and make sure to include those alongside your own suggestions! Help them establish a structure for self-care and if you’re up for it, participate with them as a bonding activity. Starting a new habit is hard and they might love your company while doing it!

6. Show Them Lots Of Loveeee

Older generations may find it difficult to open up to someone if they were not encouraged to open up or express their emotions in the past. You can provide them a major boost just by showing compassion and being there for them. Those actions show your grandparents that they are a priority. The bond you have with your grandparents is pretty special and we hope these activities to do with your grandparents will only make that bond stronger! As much as these ideas are to support their mental health, they will also be supporting yours.