Five Things To Start Doing If You Have Social Anxiety

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.

Lady walking away from the camera feeling anxious

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?

10 Things You Can Do To Fix A Bad Day

Bad days. We’ve all had them, haven’t we? Yet, how we deal with them can make all the difference between an incident that goes wrong and it feeling like the entire day was ruined. Well, hang on in there. It’s all about changing your mindset and keeping that “bad” incident in perspective to fix a bad day.

I’ve previously talked about how I can easily end up in disorganised chaos and things like a GYST routine help me stay on track. What though if it all doesn’t go to plan, or life just chucks you some big, not so juicy, lemons? If you’re anything like me that would just make a mountain out of a molehill and the whole “bad” day would turn into the worst week and I would just feel overwhelmed. 

With that in mind, here are 10 things that have worked for me that you might want to if you’re having a bad day:

1. Step outside.

A fast fix for a bad day is simply stepping outside and removing yourself from whatever is causing tension. Get a breath of fresh air, go for a walk and take a break. The little break away gives you a chance to change perspective. It gives you chance to think, so this has gone wrong, what can I do to fix it.

2. Exercise.

Whether it’s going to the gym, for a run, or some simply yoga stretches. Exercise gets the endorphins going and makes us feel happier. Yoga is also brilliant for ridding yourself of the negativity and creating a more positive, centred mindset. I am terrible for not exercising enough, and I know this is something I need to work on.

3. Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a great way to improve your physiological state. I find that my mind is all over the place when I feel anxious, so I’ve been really interested to learn about the benefits of mindfulness and breathing exercises.

A quick breathing exercise I’m loving: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As you inhale notice as your breath works it’s way around your body, filling you with life. Notice how as you exhale you expel the negative energy. Repeat.

4. Listen to music.

Pop on your favourite playlist or your favourite song. Even better put on your favourite dance tunes and dance away. Music has such a positive effect on our mood. I just love popping in my ear phones and dancing in the flat. My mood shifts so quickly and it’s amazing what it can do towards feeling it’s helped to fix a bad day.

5. Talk to a friend.

Talking to a friend or family can instantly change your mood. Just letting them know how your feeling can also give you a change of perspective. I have always been really bad at talking about things, but the more you bottle things up, the worse it gets.

My mum always says to me “Will (this) really matter this time next week, month, year…” Chances are it won’t, but if it is a big deal, you can start sorting it out now, rather than letting it all build up. I found myself in a position a few years ago where I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through and eventually it all became too much. Don’t suffer in silence, talking to someone will help you realise if it’s a big deal or you’re just being a drama queen.

6. Take time out for self-care.

If you’re anything like me, self-care is the first thing I forget to do when I am going through a tough time. Yet, self-care can help us feel less stressed and happier. For me this would be something like a relaxing bubble bath or go for a nice long walk. It gives me the perfect time to clear my head, that all important head space and a change to change my mindset.

7. Read a book.

Take a few minutes to mentally escape and read something that you enjoy. I find fiction is great for escapism, or non-fiction to read something positive and uplifting for a quick change of mind-set. Alternatively, if books aren’t your bag, watching a favourite film or box set does the job just as well.

8. Do something that makes you laugh.

Watch a comedy film or TV show or something that makes you laugh. I have a few favourite TV shows and films which are my ‘go-to’ when I need a giggle. I’ve recently been popping on an Inbetweeners episode whenever I feel I just need to have a laugh. The physical act of laughing almost instantly relieves that horrible stress feeling.

9. Write it out.

Got a few things on your mind? Write out your frustrations down.  The act of writing our thoughts down can help us reflect on how we are feeling and what is causing us to feel that way. I find journaling is such a great way to download, as well as writing down what I am thankful for. I did start doing morning pages (basically writing down your thoughts every morning), but I stopped for some reason. This is something I’m trying to get back into, as it felt more of a prevention, rather than a cure for a bad day.

10. Change perspective.

Are your feelings part of a bigger issue? Are you actually feeling stressed and tired? Maybe by sitting down and tackling the stress, your sleep pattern or changing your routine, you can change perspective.

Let’s change that perspective and  fix that bad day!

 

‘Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place’. – Unknown.

What do you do to fix a bad day?

6 Ways We Can Live A More Simple And Intentional Life

How can we live a more simple and intentional life? I am committed to seeing what intentional living and simplifying my life has to offer. I’ve put this off for so long, but I have more stuff than our flat can comfortably “house” and the “backups” are getting overwhelming. How much of this overwhelming stuff is impeding my mental health journey? I have been exploring how we can live more intentionally and the benefits it can bring. Following my little journey, I’ve come up with 6 ways we can live a more simple and intentional life:

6 Ways We Can Live A More Simple And Intentional LifeWhat living more intentionally means to me

A few years back I saw the whole intentional living thing going about the blogosphere and didn’t think it applied to me. I was on a mission to “find myself” and in doing so I needed to buy the perfect outfit or thing. I had no idea who I was or what would make me happy. Parcels would arrive daily, but they didn’t have the answer for me. I was trying to create this life that I loved by consuming more and more things. Yet, in reality, my life was just getting filled with stuff.

Intentional living is about living by the goals and values that mean the most to us. As we all have values and beliefs that are unique to us, intentional living will mean something different to all of us. It means putting the things that are most important to us, at the centre in our own lives.

With that in mind, here are 6 ways we can set towards living a more simple and intentional life:

1. Living in the moment

How much of your time do you spend living in the past or for tomorrow? I am extremely guilty of this. But in doing so we’re sacrificing the precious time that we have right here and now in the present.

All the time I spend worrying about the “what ifs”, is time away from making memories. All the time I spend on my phone when I could be having a meaningful conversation is a time I won’t get back.

I had counselling a few years back and she told me to stop and look around me. It didn’t happen overnight, but by looking into mindfulness, I started noticing the small things. The small things, which allow you to appreciate the bigger things.

2. Being grateful

Start every morning by reflecting on your blessings. Say “thank you” for everything and everyone in your life. I try to work gratitude into my morning routine. I have started going back to writing in my journal the things I am grateful for.

Also remembering to say thank you. Saying thank you to the bus driver or the lady who served you in the shop, costs nothing and everyone feels better for it.

3. Placing value on experiences, not things.

Placing value on material things, won’t always make you happy. As I said I have so much stuff, I don’t even know what half of it is. I have no idea how much money I have spent on all of this stuff, but it doesn’t make me happy.

Looking at it now, the space I was trying to fill with stuff, was an attempt to fill some emotional gap. I had a bad day at work, so I bought crap. I felt down, I bought something to make me feel better. Any blank space was a space needing to be filled.

Experiences, on the other hand, don’t even have to cost anything. Yet, they leave us with lasting memories. Memories we can call on when we are having a bad day. We recently had a spur of the moment drive to the seaside and it brought back good memories and created new ones. Much more lasting than clothes I bought after a bad day, which invariably have ended up in the charity bag because they were impulse purchases.

4. Declutter your space

Dan always jokes that I open the wardrobe and stare at it. He thinks I stare in awe. I stare because there is so much stuff that I can’t work out what is in there! I did a post recently on how the Keto diet helped me lose weight. The excess clothes was a massive stumbling block on Marie Kondo-ing my wardrobe.

As well as my wardrobe, I’m doing a thorough assessment of everything I own. Deciding what I need, what to donate and what is beyond repair. I mean I have a drawer just packed full of face masks. How many face masks does one person need! It is truly liberating.

Although, it’s not the first time I have been in this position. I have had many a mass declutter in the past. Yet, the need to fill some emotional void, means I end up with stuff once again. This is something I am working on as stuff doesn’t equal happiness.

Going forward I will make an effort to make only purposeful purchases. Thinking about what I am purchasing. Finding more natural and ethically sourced items. For example, I want to make the change from shampoo and shower gel to soaps once I’ve used up the mountain of “backups”.

5. Declutter your mind

Now that your space is clear, you can move your focus to de-cluttering your mind. Most of your mental clutter comes in the form of ‘to-do’s’. The constant thought processes of ‘don’t forget to buy milk’ or ‘I should decide on x’, is cluttering your mind. I talked in my post about dealing with overwhelm, about the importance of a brain dump and writing it all down.

Now that you’ve got it all out, go through every item that you’ve written down and make a decision. Do you want to spend your mental energy caring about this item, or not? If not, and it’s not important, cross it off. If it’s something that needs doing, prioritise.

6. Setting out your personal policies

What are the values and beliefs that are important to you? More importantly, learning to say ‘no’ when something conflicts with your personal values and beliefs. This is the bit I am currently at. The decluttering has given me space to think.

So going forward, I want to value the important moments by being engaged and present in the moment. An important aspect of this for me is capturing the moment by recording a 1 Second (not sponsored, just love the app).

I also want to be mindful of what I’m buying. If it doesn’t fit with my purposeful purchasing, then I need to think before I buy.

Hopefully, all of this combined will help us lead a more a more simple and intentional life!

 

Have you embarked on an intentional living lifestyle? 

I would love to hear your thoughts or tips.

Lots of love,

Helen xoxo

Creating A Travel Bucket List

If you’re anything like me, are you’re starting to feel like the holidays are within touching distance? I’m just about to finish my Master’s Degree and I desperately need to recharge my batteries, catch up with Dan and shift my focus from study to life. What better way than to create a travel bucket list of all the places we would love to visit.

Obviously, unless we win the lottery, this list is not confined to 2019. We just wanted to create a list to give us some focus and motivation to save. More importantly, it gives us something to look forward to, make some plans and ensure we don’t miss anything off. Although, we are very much open to any suggestions of places we could add.

‘I’m ready for this, there’s no denying…’  You can probably guess the advert we’ve just heard.  So, here we are sat on the sofa, our holiday heads on. The conversation turns to places we both want to visit or just visit again.  We top up the wine glasses and let our minds go for a tour of the world. 

It was a fantastic fun chatting about our past holidays which to be fair were very different. I was for city breaks and beach holidays, while Dan was more about the raving in Ibiza and the party cities in Europe. It’s great that since we have come to be as one, we can now share and dream about our future adventures combining all elements (Dan says providing he can go back to Ibiza one day!).

Creating A Travel Bucket List

We probably could have added a zillion more places, but for now, these will do to create some new memories. All we need now is lottery win to pay for it all! Where have we missed off? Have you been to any of these places? If so, do you have any recommendations?

 

What are your holiday plans?

Lots of love,
Helen xoxo

Falling Back In Love With Yoga

After around five years (where did that time go). I finally went along to a yoga class. I put in my Life begins at forty post (here), that one of things I wanted to do is get back into yoga and although I didn’t go alone, I can’t believe I left it so long.

So this morning, I shoehorned myself into one of my old yoga outfits. The outfits I just couldn’t throw away because I was ‘imminently’ about to sign up for a yoga class. Although, I have to say, the said yoga outfit is now a little tight. You can, I am sure, read my mind and know that I think I’m going to fit right back into it them after a session or two, won’t I?!

I pottered along to my local yoga studio. I know I’m unfit so I opted for the Gentle Flow class. After such a long time, I thought it would be better to start at the beginning again. Also, I’m not the most graceful of people. I’m the one with my bum in the air and who falls flat on her face the minute balancing comes into play, so I thought better of pretending otherwise.

Well, I soon realised I was VERY unfit! I haven’t, I’m ashamed to say, probably done any real exercise, other than walking in all that time. I lived on a diet of cheese and pizza (yes, more cheese) and thought wine was part of my five-a-day, until I started to make changes to my diet earlier this year.

Besides the physical benefits, yoga is so good for your mental health. That’s ironic as I have suffered with anxiety for the last year or so. I left the class a hot sweaty mess, but with that euphoric, endorphins flying feeling, saying ” why haven’t I done this before”! I can’t wait for next week…

 

If you’re thinking “why haven’t I…” Just do it! AND more importantly, ENJOY!

Lots of love, 

Helen xoxo