Self Care Ideas for Social Anxiety
In this article, you’ll learn self care ideas for social anxiety that are low maintenance and help you take better care of yourself after interacting with others. These self care tips will help to manage your social anxiety while practicing a sustainable self care routine for good mental health.
Social anxiety can be extremely taxing when there are flare ups from interactions. Not only do we experience fear, but we also experience lasting thoughts afterwards as well.
Needless to say, self care is a must for those with social anxiety, but where do you start? Sometimes you’re so zapped after an interaction or even at work that adding something else can seem like more than you can handle.
Social anxiety can be debilitating and exhausting at times. Most of the time, the symptoms arise before and after you’ve interacted socially with others.
According to the ADAA, social anxiety is the intense fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation. Social anxiety disorder affects approximately 15 million American adults and is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder following specific phobia.
Before an interaction, we tend to overthink every possibility of what could happen and start to predict how we’ll start feeling as well as how others will start thinking. After interacting with others, we’ll tend to overthink different social cues that other people made around us.
Many times, people mistake social anxiety as being introverted or just awkward. Although you can be introverted and have social anxiety, social anxiety has more severe symptoms when it comes to interaction.
These interactions can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, uneasiness, and just a very deep sense of fear rooted with interaction with others.
After suffering with social anxiety through teenage well-into adulthood, finding a self care routine was very difficult for me, especially after dealing with a difficult interaction.
Not only were there just not a lot of self care ideas that focused on social anxiety, but the “regular” self care didn’t really touch on the key points that makes social anxiety a struggle.
For today’s article, let’s dive into the best practices for self care and social anxiety. These self care tips focus on how to manage your social anxiety while taking care of yourself.
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Planning your rest periods
When it comes to social anxiety, having an after-interaction plan was something that made a huge difference in my recovery time.
After worrying before, during, and after socially interacting, I found myself completely drained. The simple task of going to the grocery store and interacting with the cashier was a huge burden to carry and handle.
A lot of energy was poured into just that one task. The thought of having to do anything else seemed unbearable and completely impossible.
When I started planning for real rest periods between my interactions, I started to notice a huge difference. Not only was I not carrying any anxiety from the last interaction, but I wasn’t overburdening myself thinking of what else I had to do after.
A rest period could be anything from just taking some time to yourself in a book to some quiet, meditation to settle your thoughts.
When I first started incorporating this self care activity, I noticed that I began to better move between tasks that had to do with interaction.
Interacting at your own pace
Just as you plan your rest periods, planning your interactions out on paper is also crucial to caring for your well-being.
Being mindful and walking through your thoughts can help to rationalize your fear with interacting with others.
With this planning, you can rationally think through what you’re feeling and dissect the fear of what could happen.
For example, asking yourself a few questions can really bring to light what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling a certain way.
When you’re planning on going out into a social situation, write out what you’re experiencing.
My favorite questions to answer before interacting with others are:
Am I 100% sure that (your situation) will happen?
How many times has (your situation) actually happened?
What is the evidence that supports my thought? What is the evidence that does not support my thought?
Is (your situation) really SO important that my whole future depends on it?
Does (a person)’s opinion reflect everyone else’s?
Am I responsible for the entire conversation?
What is the worst that could happen?
What can I do to cope/handle this situation?
Do I have to please everyone – is that even possible?
What is another way of looking at this situation?
What would I say to my best friend if he/she was having this thought?
Again, writing these out will help you tremendously to see them and process them.
It’s so easy to fall into this big-kid-on-the-block mentality where you don’t think that writing it out doesn’t help, but I can promise you that this was one of my biggest game changers.
When you bring a thought out and put it on paper, you “clear the cobwebs” and the “static” of constantly ruminating thoughts that are on loop.
Writing them out breaks that loop and answers the question that we tend to spin over and over.
Taking it back to the basics of the basics is the best we can do for ourselves during this time. Mindfulness is just another basic we can do to keep ourselves taken care of.
Especially during the period after an anxiety attack triggered by an interaction, we can sit there and just spin everything wrong in our life in every which way. Slowly replacing those thoughts to more mindful, “in-the-moment” thoughts takes practice but it can really keep you afloat during these hard times.
Even just starting off with a journaling practice can be a step in the right direction to keep yourself present. In this article, I go over all of the different types of journals and which one best suits your experience level and what you want out of your journal. You can find it here!
During my own struggles, I keep a separate blank notebook to put all of those ruminating thoughts into. When I’m finished writing it out, I crumble it up, and throw it away. It’s so important that just getting those repeating thoughts out and into reality can cut down on how much time we spend just re-thinking old situations over and over.
Before and after interacting with others, finding time to center yourself with a quick meditation or even a few deep breaths can relax and dispel those ruminating thoughts.
When you focus on your breath or on a guided meditation, you begin to quiet those racing thoughts.
Even if you’re in the thick of a social interaction, taking time to realign with your breath can be the lifesaver you need.
Daily centering in and out of social interactions will help you to “grow” those mindfulness muscles when it comes to social anxiety.
We tend to focus so much on what others think that we push our own thoughts and own views to the side.
With daily centering, you’ll begin to tap back into that deeper understanding of yourself and help to lessen the value of the presumed opinion or judgement of others.
Examining your thoughts
Along with writing down and pre-planning your interactions, examining and reflection is also crucial to your social anxiety self care.
After a social interaction, reflect on what you wrote before. Were you proven wrong or right on your assumption?
Social anxiety, along with any anxiety, is built on past evidence.
Our body is trying to protect us from something that it has deemed dangerous from past evidence.
The more positive, not-negative evidence that we have, the more we can reprogram our thoughts to accept that the danger is not there.
Reflection after social interaction allows you to look indiscriminately at the evidence and reevaluate where you’ve assigned danger.
When you consistently do this, you’ll begin to see that social interactions are less and less anxiety-inducing.
There may still be a sense of uneasiness (which I still get too!) but as time goes on, your self care will make your social anxiety more and more manageable.
Essential oils and self care are one of the best pairs together and are weaved together so seamlessly.
Not only have essential oils been proven time and time again to promote health and wellness in a variety of ways, but it is one of the easiest ways to incorporate self care into your daily routine.
Even if you’re in the depths of a very draining day, you can seamlessly add all of the benefits of essential oils into your schedule without having to set it on your to-do list.
My favorite way to use essential oils are through a long running diffuser, I use this one almost every day.
Diffusers are so easy and a natural way to fill your home with scents that are working side by side with promoting your health and well-being.
When you’re looking for a truly low maintenance self care routine, setting up a diffuser with some of your favorite scents is one of the easiest places to start.
One of my daily blends that are always running in the background on the diffuser is the Fortify blend from Rocky Mountain Oils. This blend is an earthy scent that is as much balancing as it is energizing. Absolutely perfect for a day when you need the most support!
Just having this blend run throughout the day helps to clear out any mental blocks that I may have and help to give me a boost of motivation by encouraging me to relax and take a few breaths.
Social Anxiety Management Resources
If you’re struggling with managing your social anxiety, here are a few resources that helped me to work through my own social anxiety and develop a self care plan that fit into my lifestyle.
These resources focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is one of the best kinds of therapy that help with managing social anxiety.
Triumph Over Shyness: Conquering Social Anxiety Disorder by Murray B. Stein & John R. Walker
There has been a lot of great triumphs and achievements from those who have worked with Talkspace for their social anxiety, especially during difficult times where it’s tough to function.
If you’re struggling to work through it by yourself, Talkspace is available with plenty of support for your needs. You can work with a licensed therapist face to face or through their unlimited messaging. They give a lot of options and a lot of support when social anxiety gets tough.
Self Care Resource
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