Reasons why an Interview is Stressful for Someone with Anxiety

Hey Sweeties,

At various points in life, you will recognise that change is one the horizon and it is time to get a new job. If only one could get a job from your credentials on paper alone, eh? I have written before about my top interview tips, and five questions you could ask at interview, as well as my advice for having a career in marketing. But there has been a gap until now identifying the reasons why an interview is stressful for someone with anxiety, and about applying those tips and advice I have shared previously, to somebody with anxiety… somebody just like me.

Rightly or wrongly, I go into an interview and treat it like a performance, a display of my best self demonstrating my personality and my capability for the role I am in contention for. The fact that I am a ball of insecurity on the inside; my throat drying after every answer to each question; every part of me wishing the performance to be over with and I can escape back into the security of my car. As it happens, to my mind there is only one interview that I would say went badly and that was right back after university when I was trying to get my break. I don’t lie in an interview, my ‘performance’ is my true self, but it is certainly a struggle to keep my anxiety at bay.

Reasons why an Interview is Stressful for Someone with Anxiety

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Five Misconceptions about People with Social Anxiety

Hey Sweeties,

“Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. You could say social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. It is a pervasive disorder and causes anxiety and fear in most all areas of a person’s life.” –Social Anxiety Association.  

5 misconceptions about social anxiety

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Being Your Own Best Friend & Learning to Value Your Own Company

Hey Sweeties,

One thing I learned I’d say fairly early on in life, was how to enjoy and be in my own company, be my own best friend as it were. That’s not because I was an only child, or had a lack of friends, but I simply learnt that I haven’t always got to be with people to go somewhere, do something etc. Of course there are many times when there’s nothing nicer than having a day out with your best friend or your Mum/partner etc. but in equal measure knowing to be comfortable with yourself is important, particularly when they’re not available or around.

Being your own best friend

Five Schools, Moving Out, and Uni Life

As a child, I went to five different schools owing to my Dad’s career taking us to different areas of the country to live before settling in Devon (where they still are). Then when I was 19, I moved by myself to London to pursue dental nursing for a couple of years, and in 2009 I took myself to University in Bath. While I lived in a shared house for the first year or so, for the latter half of my degree I moved into my own little annex where I lived until moving in with Ian after graduating. It’s fair to say from this, that I had to not only be okay in my own company, but it also took a level of confidence to be able to continually move to new locations, and immerse myself within new groups of people. It has thus since been a shame that in the last few years, social anxiety has taken hold, so I now find new groups of people very intimidating. Just one of those things really that I think comes with being older but I do what I can.

Having Me Time

One of my very favourite things to do is to take myself to a coffee shop, and enjoy a cappuccino and a book; it’s my perfect me time. Every now and again, I also have the excuse to properly take myself out for the day and I don’t just mean out shopping (while that may be an element), I mean like to somewhere that gives me the opportunity and the excuse to do a number of things in my own company. Most recently this was a couple of weekends ago when I took myself into London, met Ella Woodward (of Deliciously Ella) at a book signing, and explored a part of the city I am fairly unfamiliar with; I had a blast!

Learn who You Are

I think being okay just with yourself is important, I think it’s also one of the quickest and most fulfilling ways to really learn about yourself, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how to find situations and opportunities to challenge yourself. Some people thrive in groups and others –like me- actually prefer more intimate friendships and relationships with people but it all depends on what you’re used to and like doing. One of my most recent challenges was my holiday with Trek America last October and as a result, it has become one of the best things I have ever done for myself and forced me to tackle my social anxiety head on.

Tell me about you guys, are you people that enjoy your own company or do you prefer hanging out with friends and family? What are some of your favourite things to do?

Until next time x

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National Stress Awareness Day | Coping with Social Anxiety

Hey Guys,

Today is National Stress Awareness Day and while I thought I would list for you my top five tips to tackle stress, I actually feel that it would be of more benefit, particularly for me, to tell you about my stress: Social anxiety.

LA Venice Beach

A couple of years ago, I wrote about an incident that revealed I suffer with anxiety (The Unfortunate Incident of Mr Whippy) which to be fair, the revelation was new to me too. Specifically I suffer with social anxiety, which I was only able to put a name to a couple of months ago through self-diagnosis on the internet in a bid to try and work out what the hell was going on with me.

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. Anxiety (intense nervousness) and self-consciousness arise from a fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others”.

As above.

I am not really totally sure why social anxiety has hit me so hard now? Some of the contributors such as the fear of speaking on the phone, I can pinpoint back to my childhood but I would never have associated that with anxiety until I Googled the condition and it suddenly all makes sense. But while I am disappointed I have this disorder, it’s such a relief to know what I suffer with has a name. It affects me most at work, as while I feel secure here, I am exposed at the same time. I am still getting to know everyone but yet I avoid social nights out unless I can be sure of exactly who is going and if I know them enough to feel ok in their presence outside of the office. We have the Christmas party on the horizon and already this is making me nervous (so silly). In the office I don’t always make conversation, such as in the kitchen when I am getting a coffee, and I always eat lunch at my desk rather than with others. It only bothers me because take away the anxiety and I am actually a really friendly person that loves the company of others, but I feel my colleagues don’t see that, not yet. In a group of people I know I would actually say that I can be one of the dominant figures, which is random, right?

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The Benefits of Trying Something New

Sunday chat: doing something new

Hey Sweeties,

In light of the two previous posts Losing Myself and Seeing the Positives, I thought today I would discuss doing something new.

Depression and anxiety aside, there are so many benefits to trying something you’ve never done before, even better if it involves meeting and getting involved with a new group of people.

If you have recently moved house to a new area or maybe you have left home for the first time to go to University, there is nothing worse than feeling alone and isolated so you need to find something that gets you out and meeting people. This isn’t easy, in fact it is really hard and takes a bit of guts and some confidence to give yourself that push. So the first thing you need to do is make a list of all the things you enjoy such as your existing hobbies and interests, and maybe also a list of things you really want to try out. A quick Google of your local area will let you know what clubs, classes and social groups exist. If you’re at Uni, the Freshers Fair and your Student Union will have all this information for you and although it is nerve wracking introducing yourself to new people, there will be several hundred new students in exactly the same position. It all starts with “hi”.

For those (like me) that haven’t got a hundred people in the same boat, you need to be braver. You need to just go for it.

When I finished University (bearing in mind I had gone later than those in my year so I graduated when I was nearly 25), I upped sticks for the eleventh time in my life and moved to Hampshire to be with Ian. It took me a while before I realised I needed to find a new group of people, a group outside of work and those that weren’t Ian’s friends. I needed a group completely unique to me… this is how I ignited my love for playing hockey.

The last time I played hockey was in secondary school (about 10 years ago at the time) but I remember really enjoying it so I figured it made sense to see if this was something I could get back in my life by joining a local club. It didn’t take me long to find somewhere which is how I started playing for Yateley, I had enquired with another club but Yateley came across so much friendlier and more welcoming. Since moving  earlier this year I also now play for Windsor but I still play for Yateley when I can as they are such a great club to be a part of.

Hockey for me works on two levels 1. fitness 2. social. I don’t hate gyms, I just don’t find them particularly inspiring and it is a real effort to get myself there. This is the same for hockey training some nights as when it’s cold, dark and clearly raining who wants to leave the house? Not me but you do because you’re going to run around for an hour or so and have a laugh with some people. If I go to the gym I go to classes as a) you’ve probably booked so you’re expected to be there and B) there is a set structure to your workout C) You’re probably with some familiar faces you’re getting to know. Hockey for me is exactly the same which is why it works. It’s also outdoors which I also prefer. Hockey or anything physically active and competitive also releases me of my stresses which does me the world of good.

Hockey here is only mentioned for the sake of an example but see what is unlocked once you have that bit of confidence to go out and join a new club and meet new people! It also doesn’t just need to be sport, it can be anything! Maybe you love being crafty -perhaps there is a local arts club or maybe a theatre group that always need help with sets and costumes? Maybe you like singing -there are local choir groups everywhere! Or perhaps you just want to meet some new people to go out for dinner and/or drinks once in a while? There are groups for this too! When there is a planned activity joining new groups I think is much easier as you haven’t got to worry about thinking up new conversation, it’ll just happen and you’re all there because you enjoy the same thing!

I apologise if I make it sound easy but I think it’s important to remember I have done this all my life. I have moved house twelve times; I went to five schools (four Primary, one Secondary) and the last six moves have been my own doing (as in, not family controlled) so I have had to take the plunge and introduce myself to new people and put myself in new environments time and time again. But that doesn’t make it easier, I’m certainly not used to it. Every time I am presented with this scenario I am just the same as anyone else, I am nervous and if I didn’t have to do it I probably wouldn’t. But what does that achieve? It achieves nothing. Once the ice is broken between people it’s actually fun getting to know some new faces. Life long friendships don’t need to be made from it but at least you know that you have something in common and that for me, is the most important thing.

Be brave my Sweeties!

Until next time x

 

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