I suffer from pretty bad social anxiety. It began a year after I moved to Hong Kong, and got worse during the time that I was studying. I lost a lot of confidence interacting with people socially, and people often thought I was being rude. I do have the British reserve anyway, but perhaps the level of reserve caused me to come across as aloof. A friend of mine gave me some good advice, which was to get out there a bit more. Well her exact words were, “get yourself out of the house”. So I did. I made plans with a friend to go to a yoga event in Admiralty, organised by GRANA clothing brand. A lot of people were attending but mainly I went to work out and literally get myself out of the house.
My friend bailed so I went alone. I spent an hour before I was leaving to talk myself in and out of going. I left my sleeping husband, put on my jazzy and unflattering yoga pants, which I inherited from a friend and went out the door. Once I was on the way I felt fine, because I had the mindset that I was going to sit there and do yoga. Even though I was alone, if someone noticed, they probably wouldn’t say anything. If they did, it wouldn’t matter. That’s how I tried to rationalise it.
I arrived and it was super rainy. Arriving from the new territories, I was determined to stay even though I felt uncomfortable, was looking so unstylish compared to the other queen’s of instagram sat beside me. My shyness got the better of me as I was too shy to ask for a goody bag that all of the other attendees received. Probably because of my awkward yoga ensemble, compared to the other girls who had just walked out of the Nike shop. I did later go back to get a blanket as I was freezing. So that was a small win.
I sat there as people chatted and made friends, took photos for instagram, and began stretching. I began to feel awkward but just stayed where I was. Then someone asked to sit beside me and we got chatting. She was a really cool girl, studying in Hong Kong and we had a lot of things in common. We got on well, and I felt so proud of myself for challenging myself, and moreso my ideas about going out alone and feeling awkward. Yes, it was awkward at times (someone asking me if it was my first time doing yoga, a guy chatting up my new friend whilst ignoring me, drunk Australians who came for the free champagne making fun of the yoga lesson), but it was super fun too. It was a small victory for me, but it has inspired me to keep on. Although, next time I will bring an umbrella.
Let me know if you suffer from anxiety and how you find ways to deal with it.
Thanks for reading!
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