Illustration of different people expressing positive emotions, smiling , making hand gestures and hugging themselves.

Quick Mindfulness Exercise

5-4-3-2-1 Senses

Reduce stress & restore emotional balance using your 5 senses in a few minutes or less.

Sit outdoors or facing a window. Get comfortable. Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing until you feel more calm.  Open your eyes. Then…

  • Notice 5 things you can SEE
  • Notice 4 things you can HEAR
  • Notice 3 things you can FEEL
  • Notice 2 things you can SMELL
  • Notice 1 thing you can TASTE

Common COVID/Quarantine Stressors for LGBTQIA People

  • Feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness that lead to sadness or depression
  • Worrying about health and safety of self and loves ones
  • Quarantining in homophobic or transphobic places
  • Racism and anti-blackness
  • Limited access to resources and financial insecurity
  • Unmet transition care and support
  • Little to no access to LGBTQIA community

Ways to Combat Stress

Focus on Things you CAN Control

  • Finding fun things to do at home
  • Limiting social media / news
  • Following CDC Recommendations
  • Everyday Self Care - Sleep, Eat, Shower, Take Meds, etc.
  • Holding Space for Others / Allyship
  • Reaching out to other LGBTQIA folks

Things OUTSIDE of your Control

  • How others react
  • The actions of others
  • How long this will last
  • If others follow the rules of social distancing
  • Predicting what will happen
  • Discrimination/Prejudice
  • Other people’s motives

ABCD Technique for Managing Anxiety/Stress

Adversity or Activating Event

Identify the adversity or stressor. Might be more than 1 thing. If multiple, choose one.


What is your belief (internal narrative) about the adversity?  Thoughts may be irrational.


Identify the consequences of believing that belief/narrative (i.e. heart racing, isolation, sadness, etc.)


  • Dispute that narrative.  Argue the logic of the negative belief.  If possible, others can help you dispute it too.  Our friends oftentimes help us with overly-negative self-narratives.
  • Distract. Sometimes the adversity we face is indisputable or traumatic.  In this case, sometimes a Distraction (i.e. a self-care strategy) can be best to help you get back to a more positive emotional balance.
  • After disputing/distracting, see if you can recognize a change in your C (consequences) and what you are feeling.

COVID Self Care Strategies for Physical, Mental, Social, Spiritual, & Professional Well-Being

  • Eat balanced meals throughout the day
  • Get outside to stay active or try virtual workouts
  • Maintain a sleep schedule
  • Take breaks from news and social media
  • Talk it out instead of just texting
  • Find sources of queer inspiration each week
  • Virtually connect with family and friends
  • Tune into live-streaming and podcasts
  • Try a new hobby
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation
  • Speak/Journal at least 1 affirmation for your identity/sexuality daily
  • Tap into gratitude. Try 3 Good Things per day
  • Create a designated workspace
  • Connect with an LGBTQIA mentor
  • Set a daily schedule
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Finding Community While Physical Distancing