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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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GLL’s Wellbeing Guru Taofique talks Stress and the City

Gay London Life’s Fitness and Wellbeing Coach, Taofique Folarin, shares some ways for Londoners to look after their mental health in 2024.

London is a bustling metropolis that can be exhilarating, but its fast- paced nature also presents mental health challenges, such as increased anxiety, exhaustion, and a sense of social isolation. The LGBTQ+ population in urban areas often encounter additional stressors that stem from our identity, acceptance, and discrimination.

For some of us, the winter months may intensify the struggle with mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a prevalent challenge, particularly in a part of the world
in which sunlight can be scarce and limited daylight hours during January can exacerbate feelings of depression and fatigue.

This month, I wanted to explore innovative mindfulness techniques tailored specifically to us, so without further ado, here are some tools to help combat the seasonal blues and foster resilience for 2024.

Stress Reduction through Exercise

Living in the city can be stressful, but there are ways to cope. One effective method is to engage in physical activity regularly. This could involve going to the gym, practicing yoga, or participating in outdoor activities. Exercise has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. This, in turn, can help to alleviate stress and promote a more positive outlook.


Meditation and Breathwork

Encouraging individuals to take a few moments each day for mindfulness, meditation and intentional breathwork can significantly reduce stress levels. This practice creates
a space for self-reflection and emotional regulation, allowing us to navigate the challenges of city life more effectively.


Art and Expression

Creativity can be a powerful means of self-expression and stress relief. Taking part in artistic pursuits — whether that be visual arts, writing, or performance — allows us to explore and communicate our emotions. Artistic expression can be a therapeutic outlet, contributing to a more balanced and resilient mental state.

Community Connection

It’s essential to develop a strong sense of community to enhance our mental well-being and overall quality of life. Support groups, social events, and online platforms play a crucial role in fostering connections and promoting a sense of belonging and mutual understanding.

Sharing experiences, challenges, and triumphs in a safe and non- judgmental environment provides us with the opportunity to learn from others. By connecting with other people, we can feel less isolated and more confident in taking control of our lives.

There are various organisations in London providing active support to promote mental wellness within the LGBTQ+ community, including MindOut, London Friend, and Stonewall Housing.

Nature Retreats

Recognising the healing power of nature, I encourage getting out of the city and away from urban chaos. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a day trip to a nearby park, spending time in nature provides us with a refreshing break and an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves.

Happy New Year readers. I hope you all had a fabulous festive period and I wish you a sensational 2024 @TaofiqueFolarin


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