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?

What Made Me Happy In September

Hello October! September felt like it went by in a blur. Anyone else feel that way? As part of my self-care, I always like to take a moment and reflect on the month gone by and focus on what made me happy in September. And as something a bit different, I like to share it in a more personal post.

So, what made me happy in September:

September was a strange old month. It seemed to be filled with lots of uncertainty, until the very last day of the month when it all fell into place.

I’m about are to embark on probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I’m going to be taking over a pub in Reading. Therefore, much of the month was spent not knowing if it was going to happen. It still feels in some respect as it might all be a dream and it will all fall through. 

Feeling grateful

A real focus of mine for the last few months has been to spend time with important people and to consciously remember the moments we spend together. Journaling has become an important part of my self-care. When I get stressed it affects my memory and I can’t for the life of me remember what I did on certain days.

This month we had my auntie and uncle over. They had a massively impressive and important influence on my childhood. As well as a good catch up, we went to explore Kew Gardens and get some inspiration for the pub garden.

Generally, though I have just been enjoying spending time with family and friends. Everyone has been really happy for us.

Out of my comfort zone

I also started doing office admin work. Supply work terrifies me, as each new assignment is like the first day in a new job, but I really enjoyed it. Also, I think brushing up my office admin skills is going to come in very handy running a business!

Goodbye

The thought of moving out of London and saying goodbye to London and all of our friends here is hard for both of us. 

I’ve already started saying goodbye by going back to places that built memories. Of course All Bar One, Butlers Wharf had to be included. I lived at Docklands when I first moved here. London back then scared me. It was huge compared to Manchester. Butlers Wharf can be really quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of central London, so will always be my “safe and cosy” place. So it was very apt to say a goodbye where it all began.

New chapter

Events in September hopefully marks the end of a massively uncertain and stressful period in our lives. Although I’m sure there will be lots more stressful times ahead! I’ve really had to focus on self-care and ensuring I had regular reset days to cope. Although, I have started to notice the more physical signs of stress, which I want to explore in another post.

September, therefore, feels like saying goodbye. I’m grateful for what we have had, achieved and built together here. It makes me feel like I need to do a sentimental post about my time in London.

Autumn is here

The weather has started to feel very autumnal this week. There is something really cosy about this time of year and I’ve loved lighting the candles and getting the blanket out for cosy evenings in front of a box set. Pure bliss.

 

What made you happy in September?

Lots of love, Helen xo

Photograph of me smiling by the seaside

Ten Easy Ideas For Your Self-Care And Reset Day

We all need a moment of me time and self-care once in a while. I know when I haven’t had a self-care and reset day in a while, things start to fall apart and I feel overwhelmed. I forget important stuff and then actually looking after myself goes out of the window.

Self care is a combination of taking care of your body, but also mentally taking care of your mind. Taking a reset day to GYST, to get your life admin done, clear your space and make yourself feel good both mentally and physically is so important.

So, you haven’t had a self-care and reset day in a while. Book a date with yourself. For me personally, Sundays are the best day for a self-care and reset day. It helps me tie up all my loose end and shift my focus to the upcoming week, or few weeks. Put all my dates in the calendar, prep my meals, get my life admin done and indulge in self-care. I feel great and on top of things when I’m done.

I can’t emphasis enough the importance of scheduling that date with yourself and putting it in your calendar. Just do it now and then there will be no excuses.

I’ve come up with ten easy ideas for your self-care and reset day if you need some inspiration:

bath and candle light for relaxing self-care

1. Clear your space

Whether that’s by decluttering or just cleaning your house, your self-care and reset day will get off to a great start in a clean and clear space. Put the washing on, put your favourite playlist or podcast on and just clear your space.

Don’t just focus on our physical space. Think about things like make-up brushes and things you don’t automatically think about cleaning.

Also, clear out your digital space. Delete photos and documents you don’t need anymore. I always take screenshots of things that I need to remember, then forget to delete them when I’m done. It amazing the space all these screenshots take up.

2. Create home for everything

Since I’ve started decluttering and organising things, I’m making sure that everything that I keep has its own home. I can’t express how easy it has been to find thing now. I used to spend such a long time trying to find things, it was unreal.

Again as with clearing your space, don’t just limit this task to physical possessions. Check through your digital folders, or create folders so that again, everything has a home. Any folders you don’t need daily put them onto a hard drive or iCloud, so everything is organised and it will also hopefully speed up your laptop.

3. Brain dump

Once everything is clear, you can sit down and clear your mind. I always do this after I have cleared my physical space as a mess always makes me feel stressed. Grab an A4 sheet of paper. I will either just write everything that comes into my head and then colour pink for urgent, yellow for the need to do, and no colour – I just need to remember.

Or you may find it more helpful to draw four boxes and divide up your tasks. I put them into: Urgent, Important, Not urgent, but need doing and Not urged, to remember. Whatever works for you. Then just set about doing or scheduling in time to complete the urgent and important tasks.

4. Make all your appointments

Most of the to remembers on my to-do lists are things like make a dentist appointment, and get my roots done. Every month or so, I like to sit down and just make all the appointments, so I can book them into my calendar. For me, I hate making phone calls. I will procrastinate and spend so long putting it “until tomorrow”. It feels so good to just know I no longer have to think about them.

5. Write in a journal.

Being in touch with your emotions and thoughts is really important for your emotional wellbeing. Especially, if you’re like me and you find it hard to talk about your emotions. Having an outlet, such as a journal for those thoughts and feelings can be so important to be able to process your emotions. Even if you have nothing to write, just write down how you felt today.

6. Do something that scares you

Have you put something off because it scares you? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Take yourself out of your comfort zone and just do it. Just do it. Trust me, you will feel so good about yourself afterwards.

7. Read a book.

It doesn’t have to be a self-help book, it can be just enjoying a novel. You can just escape, reflect on your own life and relate to the characters.

Pop a face mask on whilst you’re reading to make it extra pampering.

8. Take a walk and enjoy nature.

I am such a lover of the city life, but sometimes you just need to get out there and enjoy the fresh country air. There is something magical about just walking in the countryside and letting your mind wander and appreciate. Especially, at this time of year in the UK when the leaves are changing colour and the conkers are on the ground.

9. Prepare yourself for the week or month ahead

The reason why I like to do a self-care and reset day on Sunday is that I use it to help me prepare for the week ahead. I will get out my calendar, look at what is to do that week. Are there any important dates, such as birthdays? What food will we need for the week ahead? Then I like to get things like shopping and meal prep done.

Finally, I will pack my bag for work. I always make sure things like my Fitbit and my battery pack are charged.

10.Take a pampering bath or shower.

Once I feel organised and relaxed, I like to end the day with a pampering bath. For a self-care bath, I always get in a Lush bath bomb in advance. I now associate a bath bomb and self-care, so I instantly feel more relaxed.

I will light candles, maybe pop on a film or YouTube on my iPad. Pop on a hair mask and just relax.

 

What do you like to do on your self-care and reset day?

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 Things You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

I am a great fan of the expression when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I need to look for the positive and what can be done in the face of adversity or misfortune. Sometimes though life throws you another curveball and you feel completely overwhelmed. Time to go back to the drawing board, clear your mind and find a way to get back on track. I will hopefully do a more in-depth post on my personal experiences very soon.

In the meantime, here are a few things I’ve found to work that you might like to try if you feel overwhelmed:

6 Things You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

Brainstorm.

A simple one, but the first thing that happens when I feel overwhelmed and out of control is I forget simple things. I don’t check, or remember to update the diary. My brain whirls in a state of panic and I struggle to remember the important details. I forget the birthdays and the anniversaries. The more I forget, the more I feel guilty, overwhelmed and out of control. It is important to just sit down with a blank piece of paper and write it all down and download, so you can see what is going on.

Prioritise.

So that brain dump now looks pretty overwhelming in itself. I use a pink highlighter for important tasks I need to do. Then yellow for easy tasks I want to do and then leave the ones I don’t have a feeling about, or can’t quite face today. Use whatever system works for you, but I find by going through the yellow, I tick off easy wins and by doing one of the pinks, I feel like I’ve started to hack away at the overwhelm. You revisit the other tasks tomorrow.

Talk.

If you know me personally, then you know I find it so hard to talk about my feelings and what is going on in my life. Yet not talking about your emotions is a sure-fire way to end up with everything becoming overwhelming. I’ve learnt this the hard way. I think though talking to people is a big trust game when you’re feeling vulnerable. If you know you can trust your nearest and dearest, then they will have your best interests at heart and will do all they can to help you. Just find that little way of opening up.

Clean your space.

If you feel overwhelmed, often cleaning and tidying your space can help. If you have stuff everywhere and can’t find what you’re looking for. Maybe it is time to do a de-clutter. Even if it’s just clearing the table so that you can grab a notepad and plan with clarity.

Journaling.

I often find that initial brainstorm gives me a feeling of relief, but it soon gives way to more thoughts and feelings of anxiety. I like to carry on the benefits of the brainstorm in the form of journaling. I popped into Poundland the other day and picked up a page-a-day academic diary to use as a journal and I can already feel the benefits of a daily download.

Get out and do something.

My natural default when I feel overwhelmed is to hibernate. I find I have to virtually push myself out of the door to avoid getting into that rut. If you can though, get out there. Run, walk or shop. Whatever gets you out of the house, just do it! Feel the sun on your face, the air in your lungs and just breathe.

 

This morning I woke up in the early hours feelings so overwhelmed. After a few more hours sleep, I packed my bag, my two diaries in hand. One for journaling and the one for getting my sh*t together and headed for a coffee shop.  Thank you to the nice man in Pret who gave me a free coffee. He said it was nice to see a smiley face. I’m trying to follow my own advice 🙂

 

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? 

Lots of love,
Helen xoxo