A List of Self-Care Ideas for Social Anxiety
It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable writing about a self-care checklist for social anxiety. Quite honestly, I’m not totally comfortable with the self-care craze. Candles, baths, incense… it all seems self-indulgent when you’re constantly on the go raising a family, working a full-time job, or whatever else you’ve got going on.
But what I’ve learned is that self-care really means being “fair” to yourself. It means you don’t always have to be pushing yourself… sometimes you can take a step back and just “be.” This is very aligned with the idea of mindfulness, and that’s something I can absolutely get behind.
So, let’s consider what a self-care checklist for social anxiety might look like. I’ve given you a variety of options below that you can incorporate (or not) depending on how you are feeling.
You might not immediately think of exercise as self-care, but it really is! Moving your body is good for your mind and your self-confidence. It boosts your endorphins, which makes you feel better. I know if I’m not feeling good mentally, getting some exercise always helps.
My favorite workouts are running, yoga (I like the Youtube channel Yoga with Adriene), HIIT workouts (I like the ones at Fitness Blender), . . . and my newest obsession: dance! I just started an 8-week home workout dance program designed to work your core and it’s so much fun. You can learn more at Figure 8 fitness.
Eat Healthy Food
It’s not secret that what you eat has an effect on how you feel. A self-care checklist for social anxiety should definitely include foods that will boost your mood and reduce your anxiety. I’ve got a whole list for you in my article on foods to eat for social anxiety. And if you’d like to learn about what vitamins can reduce your social anxiety, I’ve written about that too. For a quick start, I suggest focusing on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, brown rice, lentils, etc.
The Figure 8 fitness program that I am following includes a meal plan that suggests you drink 3 litres of water a day. I know, I know… that’s a lot! What I do is keep refilling a disposable 500 ml bottle (about 16 oz) until I’ve drunk 6 of them. I don’t usually actually get to the point of drinking 6, but I figure even if I drink half that I’m probably ahead of most people. If you feel tired a lot of the time, you could be dehydrated: water can help. And best of all, it’s free and readily available. You don’t even have to go to the store.
Take a Bath
Yes, I know this is horribly cliche, but hear me out. Taking a bath will help to relieve tension. If you used an essential oil such as lavender it will also help to relieve anxiety. Bathing in magnesium salts could help to boost your magnesium, which is linked to reduced anxiety. Plus, taking a luxurious bath will help you to slow down and be present in the moment.
Watch a Movie
What’s your favorite movie? There are some I’ve probably watched 20 times and never get tired of them. I find watching the same movie again comforting: you don’t have to pay as close of attention because you already know what’s going to happen. Make sure to choose a movie with characters who inspire you or with a storyline that makes you feel good.
Use an App
I’m a big fan of apps for all sorts of things. If I notice I’m having a strong negative emotional reaction to something, I find the Woebot app very helpful for identifying negative thinking patterns that contribute to depression and anxiety. You can also use apps to meditate or even exercise (yes, I use an app for Figure 8!).
Listen to a Podcast
I don’t mean an educational or personal development podcast. On your self-care checklist, you should have a few favorite podcasts that are just totally guilty pleasures. For me, that means True Crime Garage. I love being swept away into someone else’s story and forgetting about what’s going on in my life. See if you can find a podcast that does the same for you.
Turn Off Your Phone
I mean it. Turn it off. Try to go a weekend without mindlessly checking your social media or whatever else you tend to do on your phone. You might not even realize how addicted you are until you try to stop. This has the added benefit that you’ll be forced to find other things to do; you might even pick up a new hobby!
That’s it! If you want to create a self-care checklist for social anxiety, I suggest you include exercise, healthy food, water, a bath or spa treatment, movie-watching, app use, podcasts, and finally turning off your phone. Now go make your own list and plan for a weekend of rejuvenation.