A peaceful Japanese garden with fall colors

Every Tuesday, our very own Antonia Jurkovic, Psy.D., hosts the Queer Mindfulness Drop-In Practice Group. We spoke with her recently about what this group is and how it can be a useful space for the queer community.

What is the Queer Mindfulness Drop-In Practice Group?
Queer mindfulness is weekly, virtual, drop-in support group where queer folks can connect and practice mind/body interventions, such as mindfulness, together. 

Why did you start Queer Mindfulness?
There are a few reasons why I wanted to start Queer Mindfulness. First, as a result of the past several years (and more) — I have never seen more people struggle with regulating their nervous systems! More and more people are experiencing chronic stress, fatigue, poor attention and focus, and increased difficulty with regulating emotions. Second, I think that these stress symptoms are often amplified for queer folks. Not only do queer folks face specific stressors that are not always shared by their cis/het peers, you can experience chronic stress that comes from moving through a world where you are often subtly or overtly discouraged from being your most authentic self. Queer Mindfulness attempts to create a space where you can show up fully as yourself. Together, we slow down, breathe deeply, and work together to regulate our nervous systems and build more resilience. 

Who can join, and who would benefit from joining Queer Mindfulness?
Anyone, 18+ years of age who identifies as queer or within the LGBTQ+ community, can drop in. As humans, we all have nervous systems that benefit from breathwork and meditation. Honestly, anyone would benefit from this group but I wanted to tailor this group to the queer community. Allies are respectfully asked not to attend, so there can be a container of shared experience.

What have folks found beneficial in this group?
So far, people in the group have appreciated having a space that encourages them to slow down and feel themselves and notice their feelings. Others have valued the ability to connect and know that they are not alone in their struggles. More specifically, some people have found mindfulness as a useful tool to manage unwelcome thoughts. 

Are there any key takeaways from previous groups you can share?
I believe a key takeaway has been that this time has taken a toll on all of us. There are very few individuals that feel that their cups are full right now. It will take time to heal and one way of starting to recover is to engage in mind/body interventions. 

Why do you think this practice group is important?
It is important to know that we are not alone and that it’s okay if things are hard right now. 

Any closing words?
I would like people to know that it’s okay to show up to this group in whatever way feels most comfortable. If that means staying off camera, turning your mic off, just being present and witnessing — then, that is how you show up. Also, please feel free to attend when you want to. Signing up does not mean that you are expected to attend every week. You are welcome whenever you would like to attend. 

We hope you’ll join us for Queer Mindfulness, every Tuesday at 6pm CST. RSVP here.