Mental health tips from a therapist for coping during a pandemic

May is mental health awareness month. Inglewood therapist, Soco Reynoso, shared some tips with a ABC7 on how to cope during a pandemic.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Coronavirus is challenging all of us in different ways, including mentally.

Since May is mental health awareness month, Soco Reynoso, owner of Soco Rey Therapy, a mental health agency in Inglewood, shared some coping skills that could help with mental health during this time.

Reynoso said she approaches mental health in a preventative way.

"All of my coping skills are pretty much like how to get yourself set up so that when the stress we know that's coming hits, you can manage it a little better," Reynoso said.

For her first tip, Reynoso said don't check social media first thing in the morning because this could feel overwhelming.

"What that does is that gets us in the habit of checking in with things outside of ourselves and outside of our physical space," Reynoso said. "And it creates this habit throughout the day where we're checking, checking, checking."

She advises not to check social media until after lunch, but she does say we should be checking in with ourselves.

"While you're not checking your social media, what you can do is check in with yourself," Reynoso said.

"Every day is full of joys and every day is full of stressors," Reynoso said. "Prepare yourself for how you will handle both."

Reynoso continued saying we should take one minute each day to rehearse what the day will be like.

Her third tip is to show one kind gesture to ourselves every day.

"This might look like dancing across your living room floor listening to Luther Vandross, or maybe it's oiling your scalp," Reynoso said. "It doesn't have to cost money, it just has to be a reminder that you are worthy of feeling good for at least one moment each day."

Tip number four from Reynoso is to limit how many 'Zoom Happy Hours' we attend.

"You don't have to go to every happy hour that you're invited to," Reynoso said. "We begin to feel exhausted and we feel obligated because we think that they know we're just going to be at home."

Reynoso even gave a response suggestion for the next time there's a meeting you don't want to attend.

"You can thank the person for inviting you," Reynoso said. "Tell them that you wish you could be there. However, you're taking a break from technology, and that you're sending all your love and good vibes."

Reynoso said she's not a doctor, but she does write prescriptions and her fifth tip is a prescribed six minutes outdoors each day.

"Three minutes during daylight, take a step outside of your home and just allow the sun to kiss your skin," Reynoso said.

She said nature provides a beautiful reminder that we don't always have to be alone with our thoughts, you can just be with nature.

"The second set of three minutes should be done at night," Reynoso said. "Take a minute to look at the expansiveness of the world and be reminded that you are very small, still very important, but very small in this world."

Reynoso said it's OK to not be OK all the time and advises everyone to reach out to a professional if they need someone to talk to.

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