One of the problems with not having a set routine is that extra time on your hands can invariably lead to over thinking. If I’m honest, I’ve found that my anxiety has become harder to deal with recently, and I think a lot of that is down to spending more time by myself. It makes even small social events seem more of a big deal, even when I’ve spent half my time wishing for some company. I’ve had to break things down a bit more and find ways to make moments before and during social situations less scary, so I thought I’d share some of the things that I find helpful…
If it’s a with a big group of friends, speak to whoever you feel closest to beforehand – maybe time your arrival with theirs so you don’t arrive somewhere by yourself – one of my biggest worries is arriving somewhere by myself as I panic that I’ll be the first there, or that I’ll arrive in the middle of a big inside joke that I won’t understand or that there won’t be anyone I know well – much better to start the whole thing off on a positive note 🙂
Have a shower or bath before getting ready. Wear something you feel comfortable in. My boyfriend can attest to how often I stand in front of my wardrobe throwing a strop because I’ve decided I just have absolutely no nice clothes at all. It’s a cliché but you’ll feel better if you’re wearing something you feel good in.
Take a few deep breaths. I’ve recently started doing yoga videos every morning in an attempt to get each day off to a positive start (I love Yoga With Adriene’s videos). If you’re anything like me when it comes to getting ready, you might not have time to do a yoga video before going out, but take a few minutes to sit by yourself, visualise something lovely that makes you smile and focus on your breathing. Don’t think of the social occasion as a big, scary event, break it down and take it slowly.
It sounds obvious, but remember you’re going to whatever it is because you’ve been invited, because people want to see you, they do want you there. This is something I need to get better at thinking, rather than assuming no-one will miss me if I don’t go at all.
I’ve said this idea in my previous post about anxiety, but I find it helps to set a time frame. If you want to leave a bit early, then do that. If you need a bit of breathing room while you’re out, go outside for some fresh air or go to the toilet (less fresh air but at least you can sit down!) – if I find things a bit overwhelming I’ll sometimes go to the toilet and play a game of scrabble on my phone or scroll through some photos on my phone that make me smile. I find this clears my head a bit and then I can take a deep breath and go back out.
There are so many things that are great for helping if you’re feeling anxious, but these are a few I find really helpful when I need them there and then. If anyone has any others, I’d love to hear them 🙂