So, the whole quarantine thing really came at a pivotal time for me in terms of my social anxiety. Four months before it happened, I made the totally rushed and nonsensical decision to go to Australia and do the whole backpacking-hostel-party-life thing.
Yes, me. In a hostel. With people. Constantly.
I’m not going to lie, I kind of hated every dread-filled, anxiety-inducing second. At the same time, it also taught me a bunch of important life-lessons and did absolute wonders for my social anxiety. I still didn’t particularly enjoy being around a bunch of people day-in-day-out with no room to breathe – but I was definitely getting used to it.
I was only supposed to be back in England for a couple of weeks. A few days after I came back, Australian borders closed, lockdown happened and I went from being around people all the time to being around nobody for months.
As you can imagine, my hard work unravelled and for a while it felt like I was back to square one.
Luckily, I managed to see it through with the help of my social anxiety challenge!
I am a big lover of personal development and growth, so I am always looking for challenges that will help me to better myself. This time, I thought I’d get a little creative and make one of my own! I got the idea from Anxious Lass, so make sure to check out her awesome social anxiety challenge too!
This 16-activity social anxiety challenge is a great little motivator and anxiety tracker, perfect to do alongside this free anxiety workbook.
When you have social anxiety, the fastest route to recovery is to face your fears and slowly push your limits. This social anxiety challenge encourages you to try activities that may be anxiety-inducing, allowing you to observe your reactions and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
This social anxiety challenge is also great for your self-awareness as it allows you to identify your most triggering situations and counterproductive reactions. It is also a great self-love tool because it encourages daily reflection and self-care.
Trust me, putting a big fat tick next to one of these anxiety-inducing activities is so bloody satisfying.
Also, pay no attention to the order that these activities are listed in. The goal is to try and attempt as many of these as you can, starting from what you think is the easiest and then working your way through to the most difficult.
Take steps to overcome your anxiety with this social anxiety challenge!
1 – Ask the cashier how their day is going – Remember, cashiers interact with hundreds of people each day (and from experience I know that many of these people can be, er, unpleasant), so I doubt your accidental stuttering is going to make much of an impact. Brighten up a cashier’s day (and yours too) by having a friendly exchange.
4 – Say yes to a social event
2 – Reconnect with an old friend – I know how it feels to lose touch with someone, especially if it was your social anxiety that pushed them away. However, it’s never too late to reconnect! Try reaching out over social media or sending them a friendly text just to let you know that you’re thinking of them.
5 – Ask someone if they want to hang out on the weekend
3 – Wear something you usually wouldn’t dare to wear – a vital part to overcoming social anxiety is learning how to stop caring so much about what others think. That includes having the confidence to rock an outfit, hairstyle or makeup look that may be a little adventurous for you.
10 – Ask someone an open-ended question
6 – Smile at a stranger
7 – Strike up a conversation with someone new – yes, I know, the terror! However, try this one if the opportunity presents itself. A lot of social anxiety sufferers get anxious at the thought of rejection, which makes starting conversations a no-go. However, try asking yourself what the worst-case result would be if you got blanked. Embarrassment definitely sucks – but is it worth always staying silent (and unhappy) for?
8 – Make a telephone takeaway order instead of an online one
16 – Complete this free anxiety workbook
9 – Practise maintaining eye-contact during a conversation
13 – Start saying hello to a familiar face – this could be a neighbour, a cashier or a colleague at work.
11 – Practise a new breathing technique for stressful social situations
12 – Talk to someone about your social anxiety – when I started opening up about my social anxiety, I found out that people are a lot more understanding than you might think. We often hold our social anxiety very close to our chests, scared to expose it to the world. Try talking to someone you trust about it – you’ll probably find it eases some of the weight off your shoulders.
14 – Speak your mind about something you’re passionate about
15 – Exercise in public – going to the gym or venturing out for a jog can be nerve-wracking even for people who don’t suffer from social anxiety. I find practising mindfulness really helps me to get through public exercise – I am a lot less conscious of what other people are doing and a lot more focused on my body sensations. Give it a try!
Let me know if you try this social anxiety challenge in the comment section down below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!