June marks Pride month and we’re exploring what ‘self-care’ means to the LGBTQ+ community. As part of this, we were lucky enough to chat to Grace Shush, a 30-year-old micro-influencer and drag artist, about their experiences and feelings towards health and wellness, as well as what their daily regime looks like.
Honey, this is for me
Self-care has been officially defined as being a “multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement [to] promote healthy functioning and enhance wellbeing." So, in simple terms, that means doing something consciously to protect our emotional, physical and mental health.
It can mean different things for different people, however. And Grace began our conversation by revealing, “self-care to me means taking the time to look after yourself. That can be absolutely anything…”
“I remember during the pandemic, when we didn't go out, there was one specific day that I had a shower, I washed my hair, put some moisturiser on, and then I put some perfume on. And my housemate was like, ‘Where are you going? Why have you got dressed up?’ and I was like, ‘Nowhere. Honey, this is for me.’”
“[Self-care] is for nobody else. This is just for me to get ready and feel gorgeous. And just to feel really beautiful about myself.”
Recharge and reconnect
Self-care for you might look like a long soak in the bath. Or perhaps it’s about getting up early and finding time to do yoga. There are many forms of self-care but the most important thing is that it helps you to build strength and resilience towards those life stresses. After all, when you’ve taken time out to care for your body and mind and build it up, you’ll have all the tools you need to face each and every day.
Grace explained that while they can only talk about their own experiences and feelings, for them, self-care in the LGBTQIA+ community is really important. “As a performer, I give so much of myself to an audience - whether that’s hosting, performing or even being a DJ. Self-care is so important to recharge and reconnect with myself and allows me to take a deep breath.”
“On a more serious note, self-care is really important because as LGBTQ+ people, we can get bombarded by so much negativity, hate, and abuse - in person and on social media. I think that finding something that really helps you to feel good about yourself, and to feel beautiful, is so valuable.”
Grace talked us through their daily self-care routine. “I try to say thank you to the universe every morning. I try to meditate too. But I think it's knowing when to say no, as well. Self-care includes a lot of face masks and supplements. But I think mental self-care is about learning how to say no to people. As queer people, we often want the approval of others so we feel like we can't say no to people.”
Don’t worry if you struggle to find time to practice self-care though. For many of us, self-care has become a luxury instead of a priority and we only look to make some changes once we’re already feeling tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. New research has shown that nearly 85% of us feel there should be more of a focus on self-care though.
The idea of self-care starts with us as individuals and it’s so important to evaluate exactly how we’re caring for our body and mind. This is something that Grace knows all too well. “I have diabetes and ADHD. The pandemic was actually a blessing in disguise as it made me stop and focus on what I was doing - and when I did, I realised that I still felt terrible.”
“I couldn’t blame how it was feeling on work. I couldn't blame it on going out. I couldn't blame it on my diet. I could only blame it on not looking after myself. So the pandemic was the turning point. I've had diabetes for over 20 years and it was the turning point for me to be like, ‘You should look after yourself.’ I'm happy to say that it's the most perfect it's ever been.”
“I think the single most important thing I've ever done is genuinely just listen to my body. It's so cliche, but it's the truth.”
We’re opening up the conversation on Instagram about LGBTQ+ and self-care so if you’ve got anything to say, or want to share your experiences and attitudes towards health and wellness as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer person, we’d love to hear from you. And remember, if you need any help with creating a self-care routine that’s good for your body, mind and gut, we’ve got you covered there too!