TikTok is the New Therapy

From one made with my friend, Madeline (via social distancing)

Quarantine has proved to be a mental health struggle, even for folks with no known previous history of mental illness. Living in uncharted territory has been a jarring experience for everyone. People are trying to find different things to cope by either attempting to keep normal routines, staying productive with projects or even curling up on the couch and making self care a major priority. My go-to’s have been knitting, movie marathons, catching up on my reading and making TikToks.

Yes, you read that right. Making TikToks.

I was a Vine loyalist, so the idea of this new app irritated me at first. Last year, after friends had sent me enough funny ones, I caved and made an account to follow along. With the help of Balaga, my superstar cat, I made my first two in February and a couple more in March. Since quarantine started, though, my profile now holds 85 videos, view numbers ranging from 54 to 17.2K (I admit, I got lucky with that one). My profile reflects who I am—Poking fun at myself and my life in various ways and somehow this app has been a huge help in keeping my sanity.

With all of the jokes about millennials jumping on board and attempting to learn some of the dances from the Gen Z crowd, this app has served as a creative outlet for people since its conception. I never expected it to be something I dove so deeply into. Like makeup being a staple in my self care, I’ve found making these short, funny videos has kept me afloat.

Not too long after jumping on the trend, I re-discovered the peace I find in doing my makeup, so that’s become a regular part of my routine most days. On days where I’m feeling inspired, I make anywhere from one to seven TikToks a day. There are even a couple where I’ve enlisted the help of a friend (via social distancing of course) to add to the fun of it while remembering that I have friends that also want to keep things fun during this time.

Poor Balaga has been subjected to so many of these (but he’s agreeable!)

Yet I keep seeing posts poking fun at those using the app (I even got into a bit of a Twitter war about it, but I gained over 50 Twitter followers from the exchange so I’d call that a win) and taking pride in the fact that they haven’t jumped on board. I know I’ve addressed things like this in a previous blog but if it’s not your thing, that’s fine; Don’t tear down anyone that’s having some fun using it as a creative release.

In any sort of situation where a tragedy hits, especially when there’s one we’ve entered into with no sort of guidebook, keeping hold of positive mental health is vital for survival. It would be so easy to fester in the negative and let this take over our souls, and I’m speaking as someone that’s had to take a Xanax or two at one point or another to stop me from spiraling. It’s a weird time and we need to take care of ourselves in any way.

I’m not calling for a mass entry to TikTok or saying every human needs to make their goal during this time to become TikTok famous; I simply believe that everyone needs to have at least one creative outlet during this time to help express whatever emotion you’re feeling during this time. Redo a room, take on a new craft, start that blog you’ve always wanted to start—the possibilities are endless right now (as long as you stay inside, that is).

We also need to be taking care of one another right now. Make sure you’re still talking with friends and family. Do a video game night or dinner party a night or two. When someone pops into your head, shoot them a quick text. Use this time to practice letter writing—it’s fun, I promise.

Let’s not get caught up in the negativity during this time. Learning the “Savage” dance might not be the way for everyone, but it never hurts to try something new.