Social Anxiety and the Gym
Social Anxiety and the Gym
So, as you may know in my 23 fun facts post, I suffer from social anxiety. I suffer from a lot of different things that I generally do not talk about… but I figured this is a safe place… right? Haha.
Social anxiety to me means that I do not like going out to public places in fear that I will have to engage in small talk. I am NOT good at small talk. Seriously… I don’t know why the weather is doing what it is doing. Yes, I am happy football season is back. Of course, I love fall. Yeah, the sun is shining. And no, I don’t know how long the weather will stay like this. (All of my small talk is revolved around weather…) So as you see, I don’t have much to talk about..
However, if someone brings up fitness, wine, cheerleading, or my kids than I could talk your ear off. That’s the OTHER thing, I cannot start a conversation with someone. I am afraid of sounding ridiculous or making things awkward. So I try to avoid social situations… as much as possible. There are certain situations I cannot avoid: birthday parties, holidays, stores, and the gym…
Why can’t I avoid the gym?
Well, I ENJOY going to the gym. The kids enjoy going to the gym. But it wasn’t always that way. When we first joined the gym, Jackson was not used to being away from me, so he would cry basically the first 10 minutes straight sometimes longer. After a month and a half of that, I was too stressed out and my personal training sessions ended and I was clueless on how to use the machines, so I decided to quit the gym…
WHAT!? Yeah, I quit the gym. Cue quitting the gym memes… Now, don’t get me wrong. I did not quit working out. I just chose to save some money and workout at home. Well, 4 months later, I WAS BORED with those workouts. (This was before I became a CPT haha) So I talked with Jacob and decided, I would join back up at the gym. I was so happy to do that and actually so were the kids. Jackson wasn’t crying when I left. Marley was having fun. And I got some quality alone time. Well, you see I didn’t really want to be “alone” but I wanted to workout. I didn’t know what to do. However, I wasn’t going to talk to someone and I had headphones on so no one talked to me.
Taking Classes is so Fun!
Well, I decided to take a class. Now, this is a huge step for me. I am SO shy and have this fear of people watching me and wanting to talk to me. But I did it. And you know what? It was fun. The music was loud and no one really chatted! Everyone just did what the instructor said. Hey, I can do this too! So I made it a weekly thing. I went to this class every Tuesday. I stood in the back but still got a great workout! And best of all, no small talk!
I was still nervous around the machines. Since I was so used to working out at home (and I don’t have machines here) and some of those machines are super intimidating. Most of all, I did not want to do the wrong thing or even worse, hurt myself. So I talked to the instructor for the class I was taking and she got me set up to walk around with a personal trainer! And it was great. He helped me with some machines and showed me some cool new workouts. Then I found out that he taught class on Thursdays so I started taking his class as well.
So How Did I Get Over My Social Anxiety?
Well the truth is, it is something I still deal with. My fitness goals are stronger than my social anxiety so I know I want to workout and I just go to the gym. I have made the gym a priority in my life. But I am still not one to make conversation with a new person. Luckily for me, there are a lot of outgoing people at the gym and they talk to me. Haha! I even have started moving a bit closer to the front of the class… Which still makes me nervous but when I am working out, I am focusing on the exercises and not what is going on around me. And its always great with the instructors or other participants tell you that you are doing great!
Steps you can take to deal with social anxiety:
- Come up with goals
- Believe in yourself
- Go for it!
- Outgoing people will find you
Ok, I know these steps are pretty simple. But for me that was all it took. My fitness goals are to stay fit and healthy for my family. I also wanted to be a part of a gym. So I joined the gym again. And I took some classes. Then I asked questions. I went to to classes and I used the machines. Sometimes I still stand in the back but I am there participating. When other participants talk to me, I talk to them. I try not to hide in the corner (I have seriously done that…). And most of all, I have FUN!
The last step is pretty funny but so true. When I started taking classes once in a while people would say a few things to me before the class. I would be friendly with them. But recently, there was a new person in class. She talked to everyone including me! Funny thing is her name is also Amanda. Now, we go to the same 3 classes a week and people call us “the Amanda’s.” If she wouldn’t have talked to me every time, I would still go to the classes. However, now they are more than just exercises, they are also a time for me to build a friendship. Who doesn’t want more friends?
The biggest take away I hope you take is to have fun, not only in fitness but in life. Life is too short to sit inside all day and hide. Although, full disclosure: I still have those days were we have “movie days” aka I am not leaving the house today! haha