When my Generalized Anxiety Disorder was at it’s worst, the thing I struggled with the most was social events. Any sort of upcoming event; whether it was a holiday, a day out, a party – whatever. I really needed to hone in on how to cope with social anxiety for those sort of events because if I didn’t, it would make my life very difficult. Sometimes for MONTHS before the event itself!
Thankfully, I no longer suffer from my anxiety disorder anymore, so I can quite happily look forward to events without worrying about every eventuality. Which trust me, I never thought I’d be able to do.
Social anxiety can be all consuming and really tricky to navigate around. When you’re learning how to cope with social anxiety, ESPECIALLY if it’s events that you struggle with (which is likely), it’s not just the event itself you have to think about.
Everything before, during and afterwards can affect how you feel, how you manage your anxiety and what you take from that experience going forward. Nobody wants to live their life terrified of every event that they might have to attend.
Life is for living. Events and social gatherings are supposed to be fun. And when you have social anxiety (or any anxiety), it can be really difficult to find any of it fun.
So here are 7 small but helpful tips to help you learn how to cope with social anxiety that I’ve used in the past before and during social events!
Look after yourself first
Despite how nervous you might be about something, particularly on the day it’s happening, always try and make sure your feel okay in yourself before I attempt to do anything.
To me, this means drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Taking a multi-vitamin and my hay fever tablet to prevent any unwanted sneezing fits or sinus headaches which are bound to make things worse and taking the time to just sit and breathe.
If I’m going on holiday or going out for the day, I try and be super organized – usually with a to-do list – and get all my stuff together and ready the night before so that on the day, I’m left with the bare minimum to do and worry about having to do.
I will leave the outfit I’m wearing for the day out, along with underwear, jewellery and anything else so I literally don’t have to think about a thing and will avoid any unnecessary rushing.
Eat plainly and sensibly
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I feel nervous, I find it extremely difficult to eat. Then when I do eat, sometimes the overwhelming nerves make me feel sick.
So whenever you have an upcoming event that’s likely to make you nervous, on the day, always try and eat and plainly as possible and avoid any strong smells or flavours that could make you feel even more sick, especially when you don’t want to eat in the first place.
Take your medication
Whether that’s herbal remedies, CBD oil or anxiety medication, make sure you take it. On time, with water. It can be easy to forget important things like that when you’re so caught up with nerves.
I always set a timer on my phone with a note to remind me, especially on days where there’s an event to go to.
Take the time to do something you enjoy
Even though it may only take your mind off of it for 10 minutes, it’s still so important to forget about everything for a while and just do something fun.
Whether that’s reading a book, gardening, taking the dog for a walk – it doesn’t matter – just try and get out of your own head and put your focus elsewhere.
Talk about it
Like with any mental health worry, talking about it is sometimes the easiest and best thing you can do for yourself. It doesn’t matter who – mum, dad, friend – just someone you trust.
I also find writing things down helps, which is why I am writing this post! Get all your thoughts down onto paper or into a blog post and not only does it distract you for a while, it can sometimes put your worries into perspective.
Related read: 30 Journal Prompts For Mental Health
Take it one hour at a time
Time is a funny thing. When you want it to go slow, it flies by and when you want it to go quick, a minute can feel like an hour.
Naturally, when you’re terribly nervous about something, time always goes so ridiculously quick. When that’s the case, take things one hour at a time. If you have lots of things to do, pick a couple of them to do in that hour and try and focus as much as I can on the hour you’re in and not worry about how much closer to the event I’m getting.
Check out this post on my one amazing technique to help calm your nerves for more about how to take things hour by hour!
Although it’s called “social” anxiety, it really does start with you. Any social situation can be draining and worrying but by doing the above steps, you can feel calmer before the event and hopefully enjoy it a bit more!
Do you suffer with social anxiety? If so, do you have any tips to add to this post? Let me know in the comments?
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