Therapist Kati Morton, LMFT, has a YouTube channel with over 900,000 subscribers. She talks about mental health online, and though it's not a replacement for therapy whatsoever, her tips are wide-reaching, and she tackles catastrophizing, self-forgiveness, phobias, and other topics related to mental illness. Her video from May 4 hits close to home; it's about managing feelings of isolation during this difficult time of the novel coronavirus pandemic when some of us live alone or, generally, just crave human interaction more than ever.
"If we were already struggling with mental health issues like anxiety or depression or really any mental illness, the lack of in-person therapy, support groups, connecting with others, can make our symptoms and struggles so much worse," Morton said in the video. (Note: here are free mental health services you can access right now and an explainer on online therapy during this time.)
In her video, Morton discusses a few key tips for coping with this isolation. First, start small with starting to become more social from a distance — you don't need to set up Zoom dates with family or friends every night of the week. Instead, you can begin by texting someone you love to ask how they're doing. Next, create a flexible schedule to the best of your ability. While setting up a routine helps keep people feeling on track, make sure you're giving yourself room to shift that routine.
One quote I really liked from Morton's video is for those who are currently working from home: "We didn't normally work 24/7, so why should we feel the pressure to do that now? Especially with all that's going on in our world." Yes, some people are sharing online that they're accomplishing so much more at home than they ever have — they're learning new languages and tackling big organizational projects — but it's OK and normal, Morton added, to be "struggling to sleep, feel anxious all day, and not be able to focus." Take care of yourself.
Other tips from Morton include increasing positive self-talk and "loving touch," giving ourselves a massage or a hug — something that helps soothe anxiety we might be experiencing. She also wants us to remember that we're not alone. Translation? We can still connect with others going through the same thing without being physically with them.
Watch the video above for Morton's full commentary, and you can support her mental health videos by signing up for her Patreon membership, which helps fund her work online. Plus, read up on more ways you can cope with missing your friends and family and ways to manage anxiety while at home.