Lockdown is lifting – could TikTok help you re-learn how to socialise?

Sarah Tetteh
·5 min read

Many of us have felt as if we’re living in a parallel universe as our social lives have come to a standstill this past year. Having a new baby has been a joy, but during lockdown it has made me feel even more removed from reality. The fact is, staying at home has been the complete opposite of my former existence as Mrs #outout. As a showbiz and lifestyle journalist behind the showbizmama blog, I was always looking for the next party.

Nonetheless, with the prospect of lockdown being lifted, a monologue of worries has started going through my mind at fever pitch: “I haven’t got rid of my baby weight, my wardrobe is a joke, my glam … well, do I even remember how to contour to conceal my chubby lockdown cheeks?” I knew it was finally time for action when my eldest son looked at me all concerned at the school gates one morning and asked me: “Mum, where are your [false] eyelashes?”

The reality was, as much as I longed to see my friends and my family, the thought of getting back out there was a daunting prospect. Feelings of self-doubt and a sudden lack of confidence consumed me. Like many people, I’ve been wondering how to actually socialise again. My anxiety levels have skyrocketed. Lockdown has played tricks with my ego and confidence.

The question has been what to do about it. As a busy mum-of-three, I don’t exactly have bags of spare time. During lockdown I’d become intrigued by TikTok. I’d looked at some of the uplifting videos that had gone viral and grabbed the whole world’s attention. But I sensed there was more to TikTok than just dance fads. Could its wealth of videos about every subject under the sun help me regain my social skills and self-confidence?

I start my exploration of motivational TikTok videos by granting myself permission for some basic “me time”. Given my hectic schedule, I’ve never really been one for so-called “me time” – but watching and listening to some everyday women with little sprinklings of genius on TikTok really made me stop and think: hold on, it is actually about me. “You can’t give to your family from an empty cup,” explains TikTok creator @ivanarichey – one of her many short and snappy pearls of wisdom. I scoffed at it at first, and thought what a cliche. But then I realised that, actually, if I go down, then pretty much the whole ship goes down too.

From then on, whenever I could grab five minutes in between the school run and dinnertime, I’d have a quick browse at some other motivational accounts to give me that extra perk I needed to make it through to bedtime. “Compliment yourself, praise yourself,” says TikTok creator @spencer.barbosa, whose motivational gems and quick and quirky style tips will perk you up in an instant. Another of her quotes that I loved was: “You don’t have to be the best, just be the best version of yourself.”

I don’t know what it was that made me more receptive to heeding advice in this format. It could have been the sincerity and authenticity of the TikTok creators themselves. It could have been their uplifting vibe or disarming humour. Or it could have been the snappy, no-nonsense format. But pretty soon, I was hooked.

I honestly hadn’t actually realised until now just how important and effective it is to consciously lift yourself up, dust off that crown, and so on. Suddenly, the prospect of seeing my friends and socialising again after nearly 18 months didn’t seem so daunting.

One of the things I used to love doing before lockdown was get a makeover in the lead-up to a glam event. Given that this has not been an option for quite some time, I wondered if I’d ever be glam again and didn’t want to shock people when they saw me in person. I realised I was a far cry from my filtered image on social media. So I started scrolling for quick makeovers for those of us with not much time to spare.

Related: Clean cuts: the top tidying tips for busy people on TikTok

And @thepatriciabright was just the tonic I needed to give me the lift to get my face back on and get back out there. Her videos were great for providing seemingly instant glam, and they were so funny, too – especially when she teamed up with her hubby for a parody clip.

It’s amazing what a sprinkling of gold dust over your cheekbones can do. And makeup artist @dominiqueallison taught me some awesome mum tricks to hide those bags by putting a slick of concealer on over your foundation. She also whipped up some funky retro looks for when we are allowed to go #outout again.

I’m also a big fan of videos posted by @jaimykoroma and @werejagreeneyes, which had me in hysterics with her life hacks in ultra-short, 10-second videos.

A change was coming and it didn’t have to be scary. Something remarkable was happening. Thanks to TikTok, I realised I could love life – and myself – after lockdown.

Why not try something new? Discover the benefits of just having a go #LearnOnTikTok