Lifehack event for LGBTQIA+ students teaches self-care


Danielle Ferguson/Iowa State Dai

Iowa State LGBTQA and other ISU students attended the LGBTQA Student Services ice cream social on Aug. 28 at the Union Drive Community Center.

Logan Metzger

For many students at ISU, heading home may be a tough time. The “Life Hack: Lgbtqia+ and Going Home for Break” event, looking to alleviate some of this stress, was an informal meeting of 10 individuals in the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success.

The event was hosted by the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success and facilitated by Fallyn Lee, a doctoral intern at Student Counseling Services.

“This event is important because our staff often notices LGBTQIA+ students experience heightened levels of stress or anxiety about the prospect of spending time with unsupportive family or community during breaks,” said Clare Lemke, assistant director for the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Services. “Certainly, this is not the experience for every LGBTQIA+ student, but we see it often enough that we want to provide more resources and a supportive space for students in this position.”

The event had a deep breathing therapy session ran by Fallyn Lee. The session was a “square breathing technique,” which consists of: breath in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breath out for four seconds and hold for four seconds.

Students said this technique was “calm and relaxing.”

“Practice coping skills when you think you don’t need them,” said Lee.

Lee said that finding a coping strategy such as “calling a friend or reading a book” is important.

For emotional regulation, Lee said “instead of yelling what if I just stay quiet and walk away” and “think about situations as “yes, and…” not “yes or no.”

“I really liked when we talked about emotional regulation and how you actually have to stop and think about the physiological stuff that goes into it,” said Lucille Murphy, a junior in mechanical engineering.

Lee also talked about physical care and self-care, “make sure to take care of your body at home and before going on break.” Lee then went on to talk about taking medication and making sure participants understood that taking too many mood-altering drugs, such as alcohol, could negatively affect their experience at home.

“Sleep hygiene” is something Lee focused on, such as “using your bed only for sex or sleeping, not homework or relaxing.”

“I enjoyed every part of the event, but the dealing with triggers topic was very informative because I know a lot of family members have gotten angry with some aspects of my identity,” said Abby Espinosa-Gonzalez, a sophomore in industrial technology and spanish.

For advice on dealing with hostile family members, Lee brought up “radical acceptance” which is “accepting things for what they are, not liking, not condoning, just accepting.”

Lee also brought up boundaries, which she described as “fluid and can change depending on the situation.”

“I think we should host more sessions like this, I really liked the turnout and I hope more people can come in the future if there are sessions,” Espinosa-Gonzalez said.

“Our staff is here to help, Clare and I are here to help,” Brad Freihoefer, director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, said, concerning students who need to talk about fears of going home.

If you or anyone you know need someone to talk to text ISU to 741-741 for a support hotline.