I’ve been having a bit of a tough time of late, mentally speaking. It’s not unusual but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
I’ve overstretched myself and my mental wellbeing has taken the hit. I’m peopled out. I have no socialising left in me. Any fellow introverts and social anxiety sufferers will know what I’m talking about.
Other the years, I’ve built up a small repertoire of helpful things to keep me sane(r) when out and about to minimise the fallout afterwards. You’ll find them below.
That’s right, remember to breathe. Obvious, non? Often when I’m in a social situation and can feel the panic rising, the first thing I notice is that my breathing becomes rapid. If you notice this happening, try to concentrate on slowing it down. Breathe in and out evenly, counting each breathe as you do.
Distraction is one of the most used tools in my mental health toolbox. When in a group of people, the best way to calm that inner whine is to concentrate. Focus on what the person you’re talking to is saying. Not only does it make you an awesome friend but it may stop you from dwelling on intrusive thoughts.
3) Ask questions
You’ve upped your friend game by showing yourself to be actively involved in the conversation so why not step it.up a notch? BAM! Engage in the conversation. It might be the last thing.you even want to try to do but it will help.
4) Take a Break
Pop out for a smoke or a “vape” (ugh), nip to the loo or just say you need to make a quick call. Taking just 2-3mins to yourself can be enough to ground you and get yourself back under control. Make sure to use this time wisely though, with breathing exercises and the like. Try not to spend it obsessing over everything that’s been said.
5) Avoid Caffeine & sugar
Having given up alcohol for the year, this is one that I often struggle with. Most pubs will have a variety of soft drinks avaliable but these can still be quite expensive. Cola and lemonade, while the cheaper options, do come with the downside that you’ll be awake for hours afterwards.
I know these all seem super obvious but they’ve helped me in the past and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simple things. If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear them.