5 great reasons to practice mindfulness over the holiday season

… not just for gay men 😉

With still a few days to go until the “big days”, here are five great reasons why you should make mindfulness an integral part of your holiday season this year:

1. Holiday time can be stressful – especially for gay guys
Holidays, parents, friends. So much is great about the holiday season, but some can be downright horrible and stressful. The mini-agression from the aunt asking if you still haven’t found the “right woman”, being away from your partner – or being reminded of not having one. It’s just not an easy time for many. And it is ok to admit that not all is glittering joy at this time of the year. Luckily short bursts of mindfulness can centre you again and arm you against the stress and tribulations of navigating this family feast and holiday season.

2. You can connect better, when you are connected to yourself
Even if all of the socialising and family affairs are great news for you, mindfulness can make you more connected. Not just to yourself – but also to others around you. Regular mindfulness training increases your empathy and allows you to connect more intimately to people around you.

3. It’s bleak outside, so be kind to yourself
Unless you are lucky enough to be in the southern hemisphere, you’ll probably already had a few of those days where really the best option was to stay in bed. Rain, drizzle, mist, cold, fog, and a symphony of grey in grey outside. The best method to brighten up your day? Take a short break and treat your mind to a little vacation in a place the sun always shines!

4. Remember? Taking a break makes you more productive!
How many presents do you have to buy? Cards to send? Things to do? If your to-do-list is becoming longer than your Christmas card list it is definitely time to aim for maximum productivity power. Best power up? No, not more coffee… Instead a short, 15-20 minute mindfulness bodyscan will fully recharge your batteries. Try it out!

5. … And it lets you appreciate quiet moments, more!
And don’t forget, while the run up to Christmas and the New Year can be often hectic. The actual days (and sometimes the time immediately after) can be days with lots of opportunities to recover and rest. Sadly, many people are so in stress mode, that they don’t realise. There is a simple trick here though: Actively seek out quiet moments to check in with yourself. Not only will you find more than you probably expect, with a quick mindful “check in” you can enjoy the quiet time even more!

Have a great holiday season all around – and don’t forget to treat yourself to the most special gift of all: a healthy dose of self-love!

Check out more posts about mindfulness from the urbangay blog. And if you want to find out more about practicing some self-love and mindfulness, why not treat yourself to 30 Days of Self-Love, the workshop that transforms your mind and makes you fall in love with yourself again.

Surviving (not just the holidays) on hook-up apps

Home for the holidays and in need of a quick getaway from the family? Luckily there is an app for that… Grindr, Scruff and co can be great fun and add some variety to your sex life  but it can be also be frustrating experience. So here are 3 tips to make the best of it:

  1. Know what you want
    This should determine the app you use. Go with the reputation of the app: Grinder is mostly for casual sex – apps like Tinder, OKCupid etc are more for dates. Yes, there are people who find love on Grindr, but that is probably despite of the app and not because of it. Equally, on Tinder it is possible to find quick hook ups – but generally they tend to be more chats and dates.
  2. Use it when you have the time
    Especially for hook up apps, remember often things happen quickly. For dating apps, you may go for a drink in a few days. So make sure you connect to the right app when you actually have time – either fairly quickly to meet for a hook up, or when you are staying a few days, why not try a local date?
  3. Don’t be nice to bad guys
    Yes, the truth is, all of these apps have quite a few annoying weirdos hanging around (here are some annoying examples). Remember: their problem isn’t yours, and a hook up app isn’t a replacement for personal counseling (and you’re not their therapist). Shrug them off and move on … or block them… It’s self-care – and you are home to enjoy the holidays!

With these three tips in mind: Have a great holiday season wherever you are … and whatever you are looking for may you find it! Happy hunting!

Albufeira … Coast, Cliffs, Beaches

Our weekend away was pretty much an exploration of the coast around Albufeira. Prior to heading there, I had fairly little idea what we would find. I somehow imagined that it would be a bit like some of the Costas you can find in Spain: with large hotels and long beaches. To come straight to the point: It is not, although it has some aspects of it.

Albufeira itself is a pretty cute little town. Continue reading “Albufeira … Coast, Cliffs, Beaches”

Praia 19 – The Gay Beach of Lisbon

Praia 19 – or Beach 19 – is the “must do” gay beach after partying all night in Lisbon – or maybe just to top up your tan (without the tan lines if you so wish).   I had been to Lisbon a few times, but as I’m not really a beach person (sorry, I get bored too easily), I hadn’t been to this mystical wonderland of sun, sand … and men.  Nevertheless, I decided to check it out – and so here is the “lowdown” on the beach some people call the best gay beach in Europe… Continue reading “Praia 19 – The Gay Beach of Lisbon”

Summer Plans

Have you noticed? It is almost summer! Time to make some summer plans… FullSizeRender

Luckily (I guess) I still have heaps of vacation time left before leaving my job. So I’m now making plans what I’ll do this summer… after all, what is a single gay boy (ok, the boy bit is maybe a bit stupid)… so what is a relatively newly single gay guy to do?

Lisbon is obviously high on the agenda. Not least because I have started to learn Portuguese … so it is time to practice those skills. And learn a bit more… more about that in the next post about learning Portuguese! Continue reading “Summer Plans”