Wellbeing: Be a better you in 2016 - New Year thoughts from Birmingham LGBT
Health & Wellbeing
Posted on 20 Jan 2016

Are you thinking about what changes you might want to make in the year ahead? We asked our friends over at Birmingham-based charity, Birmingham LGBT for some top tips! Here are a few ideas for those New Year’s resolutions from Dan Auluk, Penny Barber and David Viney...

Birmingham LGBT are dedicated and passionate about improving the wellbeing of LGBT people. What’s wellbeing? Well-being is simply seeing your life in a positive light and feeling good.

We provide and support a wide range of Sexual Health & Wellbeing services to motivate and inspire our communities, enabling people to grow and achieve their full potential.

Have healthy relationships
Why? Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and wellbeing. Strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, happy life. 

We believe everyone is entitled to enjoy long, healthy lives with fulfilling social and sexual relationships. So don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Avoid “friends” and “partners” who put you down - and don’t try to coerce anyone else. Respect yourself and others in intimate and other relationships. Call us if you or anyone you know might be experiencing abuse. Ask for our specialist Domestic Violence Worker.

Get tested regularly
Why? Most people think they would know if they had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV, right? Wrong!

The truth is many STIs have no noticeable symptoms - or they have mild signs that are easily overlooked. If you are, or ever have been, sexually active – get tested.
Testing is quick and easy. There’s no need to book an appointment at a clinic. Take control of your sexual health - just order a self-sampling kit and send it straight to the lab.umbrellahealth.co.uk/our-services/self-sampling-kits.

If you’d prefer to see someone face to face, drop into Birmingham LGBT any Thursday 1pm – 7pm.

Stock up on condoms and lube
Why? Condoms reduce the risk of HIV and STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis. Other strategies reduce the risk of HIV transmission, but may not reduce the risk of STI transmission. STIs can increase your risk of HIV transmission. Lube reduces the risk of abrasions (transmission sites), and of condoms splitting. InBirmingham & Solihull we have access to free condoms and lube from the Birmingham LGBT Centre and from most LGBT venues, bars and clubs in Birmingham. You can also visit the Birmingham LGBT Centre for a choice of condoms, lube, gloves and dental dams or use our postal service.

Be more active
Why? Keeping active improves and sustains wellbeing, providing many physical and mental health benefits. No need to join a gym! Activate runs FREE drop-in fitness sessions for all levels and abilities. With classes throughout week, you’re sure to find something enjoyable! Activities include stress box, table tennis, line dancing and yoga.

You can also join one of the City’s many LGBT Sports clubs to get fitter. They have great social activities for members too.

Make new friends 
Why? The health risks from being alone or isolated are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity. A broad range of social interaction improves wellbeing. The LGBT scene in Birmingham is thriving, from the vibrant bars and club life, to social and community groups and new social activities facilitated through websites and apps like Meetup. Now is a good time to find new social activities that work for you.

And finally... be PROUD of YOU!
Why? It’s all too easy to internalise the stigma and discrimination we may face or fear, because of our sexual identities, trans status or HIV status, and become self-prejudiced. This can have a massive impact on our self-worth, social relationships and community involvement. 

Think critically about how internalised discrimination could be impacting your life. Don’t feel guilty or shameful, just take the steps, one by one, to free yourself of this weight that can keep us all down.

For more information about Birmingham LGBT’s services and Umbrella Sexual Health visit www.birminghamlgbt.org.uk or call 0121 643 0821.

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