After all your hard work this semester, or quarter, you deserve a break. Maybe you’re thinking about going to a classmate’s house party, or attending an outing with that club you always wanted to check out. Whatever it may be, I want to validate that sometimes going out and doing things with other people can be a little scary and uncomfortable, and that’s OK! It’s natural to feel anxious, especially in the college party scene.
When you live with anxiety, making appearances at even the most exciting and fun social events can be challenging at first. At the end of the day, taking care of yourself and knowing your personal limits when it comes to partying and socializing are extremely important. You’re not going to regret finding ways to stay in the moment when your mind is urging you to run the other way, trust me… and remember to trust your own gut. The neat thing is that there are a few easy ways to navigate your stressors, especially in the college party scene that your future self, and your brain, will thank you for later. And taking the time to identify what helps you can help you recharge your emotional energy tank each time your anxiety comes up.
- Pregame by manifesting good energy.
Skip the Borg, let’s pregame by manifesting and meditating instead. About 30 minutes before you head to the event, find a comfortable place to rest your body and sit. Close your eyes, place your hands on your knees, and envision what it would look like if the night went well, and stay there for as long as it’s comfortable. This is a way to manifest good energy for the evening, and leave those negative visualizations at home!
- Practice the “five-minute technique.”
When you head to the party, tell yourself that you only need to stay there for five minutes. After that time is up, find a moment for yourself to take three deep breath‘s in and out. Then, with your body more relaxed, tell yourself that you only have to last the next five minutes and repeat this until you forget to keep counting. Works like a charm!
- Wear the shoes.
The people who get it, get it. Let me repeat it for the people in the back, it’s time to put on the shoes. And by the shoes, I mean those comfy, yet party-appropriate, shoes that make you feel like a million bucks. Having them on will give you an automatic confidence boost and help you feel literally more grounded at the event.
- Leave perfection, and expectations, at home.
When you’re trying to cope with social anxiety, it can be really easy to make unrealistic expectations for yourself so you can be OK in a situation. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be 100% perfect. Treating yourself with compassion and understanding your limits will help you not over-exhaust yourself in the new environment.
- Have a wind-down plan waiting for you at home.
Even if you’re nervous about doing something new with different people, it can help to have something to look forward to at the end of the night. Reward yourself for going out of your comfort zone by making a plan for when the party‘s over. My plan usually includes watching Grey’s Anatomy and getting comfy in the fluffy pink slippers I got for Christmas. There’s something out there that’s going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, like those things do for me. Relax! You earned it.