Disclaimer: This article is about my struggles and triumphs with social anxiety as a small business owner and may not be yours. If you are struggling with anxiety or any other mental health disorders, please seek a licensed professional to develop a plan that seems best for you.
Social Anxiety in the beginning
Hi Im Stephanie and I have Social Anxiety Disorder. I have struggled with anxiety since I was a teenager, My anxiety ranges from social situations to over thinking “what if” situations and all the way to staying up until 2am pondering all the stupid things I said when I was 8 years old. I remember being in kindergarten and being too scared to raise my hand just to ask to go to the restroom (this fear continued throughout my entire school life). Now here I am, a full fledged adult, with a business, too scared to reply to emails or speak about my business to others. But, here are some ways I push through my social anxiety disorder to work my businesses, work my mom life, and work my house wife life.
Find a goal buddy who doesnt have social anxiety
There’s nothing wrong with having friends who do have social anxiety, BUT the ones who are going to push you the most are the ones without it. And for your business, finding a goal buddy that doesn’t have social anxiety is key to succeed. When you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed or like a failure… or any of the other things, they can talk you down. They can tell you that your sneeze during your meeting wasn’t a big deal and no one is thinking or talking about your sneeze. Whereas, someone with SAD (like me), would probably be like, “omg,I’m having sympathetic panic attacks with you”. So, I probably am not the best buddy for you. Yes, having friends without social anxiety who just don’t get it, can be frustrating. Especially during a very triggering day. But, eventually you will find the right friends who love you and support you.
Motivation thrives from Action
As someone with more than one mental health disorder, I have always HATED being told to just do something even if you mentally feel like you can’t. BUT, even as someone who hates it, it is the truth. . Long term motivation requires making things habitual. You will not wake up one day and be like “let’s go! let’s get life!” and that be how it is forever. So, you have to develop habits. You have to make a list of things to accomplish DAILY and then follow your list. EVERY. DAY. Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish tomorrow. Wake up tomorrow and get started on that list. Hold yourself accountable. At the end of the day, make yourself a new list for the next day. Eventually you will develop a habit and those habits will turn into motivation to keep going.
As much as I would like to say “make a big goal and achieve it today!” Start small. If you struggle with talking to new people, give yourself the goal to meet someone new online. Then, take the next step. Your next goal can be to meet someone new in person. This is where having those friends without Social Anxiety Disorder comes in handy. If your goal to make it to a business event, ask a friend to go with you.
Don’t hide who you are
Overactive Amygdalas cause anxiety disorders. You cannot control your amygdala. That things is an overworking overachiever that you have no control over. If you are uncomfortable being fully open about your social anxiety disorder, confide in friends. But, once you start saying “I have social anxiety disorder”, you will feel better that you no longer have to hide that part of you.
Be proud of small accomplishments
Did you push through and make that business call? go shopping alone? attend a networking event? YAY YOU! Celebrate that! Doing anything involving people is hard with Social Anxiety Disorder and if you got up and got out of your house today, celebrate that! Reward yourself!
Speak to a Therapist
There are so many factors that lead up to people with SAD to not make that phone call.
We have to:
- talk to people on the phone and we dont like that
- actually go somewhere and sit near people while waiting for our appt
- have to tell someone how we feel.
All of these reasons can lead up to someone with SAD not seeking help. And I get it, it is scary. I HATE talking on the phone. But the best way for you to work on a goal list, is to seek a therapist who can help you set those goals.
Attend support groups
There are many mental health support groups in our area that are free for you to attend. If you are looking for a Christ Centered program, a very popular one (and one I love), is Celebrate Recovery. You can click here to find a CR group near you. There are also a local online facebook group called “Indy Moms depression/anxiety support. You can also be connect to support group specifically for Anxiety and SAD via your therapists.
Take the naps
You went out and met people, made phone calls, and you also answered emails. Your brain works harder than any non SAD persons brain does in every social situation you are in. So take that nap, you earned it!
To sum it up, these are just some of the many ways I cope with Social Anxiety Disorder as a small business owner. Some days are super hard and some are fairly easy. It really just depends where my brain is at for that day. Also, I would love to connect with other small business owners who battle social anxiety disorder! You can email me at any time to connect via firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
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