I've been living with social anxiety for quite awhile now, and ff we're being totally honest, it almost got in the way of me crossing the 5k zombie run off of my bucket list this year. But I took a chance, signed up and started training. My original plan included me driving up to Orlando with my friend and running the race with another friend who happens to live up there. So when both friends bailed on me within days of the race, I bossed up and went through with it anyways, even though doing it alone was WAY out of my comfort zone. 

Step 1 : Preparation is Key

Although I did not train as much as I should have for this run, I  made sure I was mentally prepared in other ways. To avoid getting overwhelmed, I made lists of just about everything, from my pre-run breakfast options to the clothes I would bring for the race.I also made sure to have all my anxiety breathing exercises and mantras saved on my phone along with all of my favorite songs to keep me calm and collected as I ran

Step 2 : Bring Comforting Items

To keep my anxiety level under control, I made sure to have lots and lots of chamomile tea to drink before and after the race. I made sure my drive up to Orlando and my short stay in the hotel as comfortable as possible by packing some Epsom salt, a few changes of comfortable clothes, and my lucky socks

Step 3 : Yoga and Breathing Exercises

If I could feel myself getting too worked up over the idea that I would have to go to this very, very public area by myself, I would pull myself back in with simple breathing exercises. When I got to my hotel the night before the race, I did some yoga and made sure to get a decent night of sleep before the big day. 

Step 4:  Keep Yourself Busy!

Even with the help of yoga and the breathing exercises, I could still feel my social anxiety pushing me to run back to the car and start the drive home. Instead, I decided to reach out to family and friends who encouraged me to be brave and do what I'd come to do. When it came time to actually start the race, I put in my headphones and played some of my favorite songs and got in my zone.

Step 5:  Positive Self-Talk!

20 minutes into the race I could feel myself sinking back into my "Negative Nancy" mode, thinking that I could just run back to the car or the nearest bathroom and just wait the whole race out. But then i reminded myself that "I ain't no Punk," and I worked hard for this. I pushed back my inner negative Nancy with some positive self-talk: "You can do this! " "Just Keep Running" "F*ck Everything, just do it!

Step 6 : Get Out Of Your Own Head

One of the things that made me feel extra self-conscious was the fact that I might have been the only loser who showed up without a running buddy. But again, that was just inner negativity trying to pull me down, so I applied some logic to the situation and looked around. Plenty of other people were there alone, and plenty of others were there with friends and family. Regardless, everybody there was there for a purpose- to run away from zombies and get a medal for doing it.

The person next to me was too busy running for his life to even notice that I was there alone. No one was pointing and laughing at the big girl running a marathon- everything was in my head. So I stopped worrying about what others might be thinking and just worried about getting my medal. 

So if you are planning on going on an adventure or trying to check things off of your bucket list, don't let the fact that you have no one to go with stop you from doing something you want to do. Be your own cheerleader and just freaking do it!