An event pops into your inbox. You feel excited and put it in your calendar. Yet as the days draw closer you start to feel that panic. Does that sound familiar? If so, you might suffer from social anxiety. Me too. But I got fed up of letting it beat me.
Social anxiety and blogging just don’t mix. I would end up in a state of utter panic in the lead up to an event. Sometimes to the point, I just couldn’t go. One time at the Professional Beauty Show a lady asked my address. I had got myself so worked up, I just couldn’t remember where I lived! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
This week I went to two events. Admittedly, only one was alone. If though, I think back to even a few months ago, I would have struggled. Well, I still struggled, but I got myself there and after the initial nerves, I totally enjoyed myself. I also met up with some lovely ladies who made it feel such a lovely experience. Thank you, Abigail Kathleen, Afshanesque and Ola Lella.
Here are a few things you might want to start doing if you have social anxiety.
1.Push yourself out of your comfort zone
There were times that I was so anxious, that I couldn’t even go to the local Sainsburys alone. It was made worse by the fact that I was a supply Teacher. I spent my time dreading the phone ringing about work. Not the best job when you have social anxiety. Yet, if I could answer the phone and go on a longer-term placement, I felt good. And with each assignment my confidence grew.
What can you do to push yourself out of your comfort zone?
2. Prepare yourself
Get out everything you will need the night before. Then do a bit of self-care to relax your mind.
Prepare your route. I am forever getting lost when I have somewhere new I need to go. I get in such a panic about what is going to happen when I get there, I can’t focus on what Google Maps or Citymapper is telling me. Although, be prepared for the unexpected. I was all set and the Central line wasn’t running! Plan your back up too.
3. Practice your social skills
Observe yourself. What do you do when you feel social anxiety strikes? I wring my hands, laugh nervously and talk rubbish (although, if you know me I tend to talk rubbish anyway!).
I know you will feel a bit of a tool, but who is going to know! Smile in the mirror. Notice your habits and be mindful of how to calm yourself down. The event the other day was the #LibertyLivingHealthy Wellbeing event and made me realise how powerful mindfulness can be and I took away some great techniques.
4. Have something to talk about
Hands up, I hate small talk and gossip. I haven’t got a clue what went on in Love Island or whatever is the most popular tv chat. So I’m quite limited in what I think I can talk to new people about.
I’ve started up a mental bank of things to talk about and hopefully strike a conversation. Especially, for that awkward part when you first meet a group of people.
Don’t forget to ask questions. You want the other person to talk too. That way you have time to breathe.
Just be honest that you feel nervous. Chances are there will be someone else there who will be nervous too.
5. Reward yourself
Don’t forget to reward yourself. No matter how big or small the achievement.
Even if it was because you lasted half an hour at an event. You went! Next time you can aim to stay for an hour. You CAN do it!
How do you deal with social anxiety?