A few weeks ago I met Angela for coffee with my friend Michelle. We chatted about life and business, and what we all have going on. Although I have "known" Angela from events we have attended, or through social media, I had never had the opportunity to sit down and chat in person. Through our conversation that morning, I shared with her how much I enjoyed attending Work Of Heart, an event she founded and created a few years back. Over the course of the conversation, I expressed how for "someone like me", the event can be overly exhausting, mentally, emotionally and physically, and I had not prepared for that. This exhaustion is not a bad thing at all, it was simply unexpected and I wanted Angela to know it prevented me from figuring out how I would attend last year.
Fast forward to last week, after reflecting on the conversation we had, I sent Angela an email. An email of my feelings and a peek into my brain, with ways on how I plan to better cope and how she may be able to prepare others for what will unfold during the day at Work Of Heart.
The reality of my situation is that anxiety heightens everything, my self doubt, my emotions, my nerves, sights, sounds....everything. Just getting out to an event is hard, then feeling out of place (pretty much anywhere), and at emotionally driven events, that stirs up a sense of being out of control, all contributing to the underlying social anxiety.
I took so much good away from my first experience at Work Of Heart 2 years ago, meeting people I would not have met otherwise, feeling the emotions I had held so tightly to for so long (although scary to let go, also felt amazing afterwards), by the end of the day feeling like I belonged in that room of strangers, and an all over sense of relief and empowerment... But it drained me, and scared me, and I could not make myself go last year because I was still afraid of how I would cope. This year, I am sharing why I am attending, and some things I am doing to make this the amazing day for me, that everyone else (without anxiety) experiences.
Below I am sharing what works for me, to help ease the anxiety and helps me cope. What do you do to help in these situations? Share in the comments. I would love to have more coping strategies (I am not a doctor or counselor, these are just things I have figured out on my own, that work for me)
Here are a few things I will do different for myself:
- Wear clothing I feel super comfy and/or confident in.
- Bring a water bottle, cut back on caffeine (who needs more jitters?)
- Arrive early to get situated and be in the space. I anticipate the layout and everything ahead, especially annoying when I have never been to a venue, and I envision something I could never possibly know ahead of time. Arriving early allows me to see and feel the space before I am committed to grabbing a seat in a certain spot.
- Sit to the side or back of the room, and maybe even alone at first.
- If there are tables, sit at a table, so I feel I have a barrier between me and other people, but I am still visible.
- Bring or find a friend who understands these anxieties and can have my back. (even if I choose to sit alone)
- Give myself permission to leave and not mingle after, or take a break away from the crowd at lunch, if I need to.
What can you do, when attending an event, to help your friend who deals with anxiety?
We need our friends to understand and accept our feelings in the moment and leading up to getting out there. I could get there and be perfectly fine and no one would ever know I am anxious, or I may seem solitary and rude if you think I am ignoring you, I promise I am not, I am just trying to deal with me.
Here are a few things that you can do to encourage a friend with anxiety to take that leap, and attend an event or simply to go out in public with you.
- I need encouragement to come, even if I try to back out last minute.
- REMIND ME that it is okay to zone out or go out in the hall for a break if I need it.
- If we are at an emotional, self development event, do not expect me to do all the activities, or express my emotions in ways I am not comfortable with.
- Please, if we are asked to talk to the stranger sitting close by, BE MY STRANGER! I can mingle at break if I am comfortable talking at that time, but sharing or making chit chat on Q is hard and exhausting when I am already experiencing an emotional day.
(when I say emotional, that is good, bad, exciting, etc...emotions of any sort, in a crowd are overly exhausting)
Here is my chat with Angela Harris, founder of Work Of Heart!
We share what Work Of Heart Is and explain how Angela brings such a diverse community together each year for this exceptional day of self discovery and community building.
Because Work Of Heart is all about sharing stories, being part of a community and reflecting on ones feelings, I think the day is beneficial for everyone, regardless of our mindset going into the day.
Knowing I am going into a potentially emotional day of self realization and reflection adds more stress and anxiety on me to participate. Having some of the unknowns shared ahead as we did in the video above, makes a world of difference for me.
If you are like me, remember IT FEELS SO DAMN GOOD TO GO & COME OUT AT THE END OF THE DAY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT WALL OF ANXIETY! Remember, it is okay to need space and time to recover. I tell myself almost weekly that I need time to recover from People...that just means away from the crowd, or tucked away in my comfort zone for a bit.
Find out all about Work Of Heart here.
Get your tickets today!
FEBRUARY 23, 2019 | DIEPPE | NEW BRUNSWICK
Do you ever feel like you want to do more but just don’t know what to do next?
Are you looking for happiness and purpose but get tired, stressed and overwhelmed?
Ready for a reset and some inspiration to follow your heart?
Join me on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 from 9:00am - 4:00pm.
Let me know if you are attending, come up and say Hi, because I may not walk up to you 🙂 .