“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
Today let's talk about less fitness and more mind. As someone who has experienced anxiety and depression in the past – and sometimes still does – I'm convinced that taking care of your mental well being is as important as taking care of your body.
Taking care of your body and mind sometimes means getting out from your nice and safe comfort zone.
I am not exactly sure where this is coming from, but I have always been pretty introverted person. My sister used to have a million friends and I still remember my Mom making pancakes for the whole army of kids that my sister used to bring over.
I, on the other hand, had one really good friend and when I didn't hang out with her, I was sitting at home and reading a book. I loved to be on my own or only with people I felt really comfortable with. And I still do.
I really, truly enjoy being with like-minded, similar-to-me people, but there are not too many of them, especially now when I moved to a new country. The problem is: If I'm staying home, hanging out alone, then how am I supposed to meet them?
It's extremely hard for me to get out there and meet people. The thoughts are racing through my mind:
What if I have nothing in common with them?
What if there's nothing to talk about, and the situation gets embarrassing?
What if they don't like me at all?
What if everybody else knows each other, and I will be a total outsider?
What if I embarrass myself somehow?
The list goes on.
But I have learnt that if I do want to meet new people, find new hobbies, live more adventurous life, even get better professionally, I need to get over my fears and take action. There is no other way.
Last weekend it happened again. As said, I'm to my area and know basically nobody here. The Bay area is full of various meetup groups that make finding like-minded people much easier.
I did some research and found a running group that had a run on Sunday morning, not too far from my house. It looked perfect. I knew I had to go, but as usual, I started to find excuses for not showing up.
They will probably run too far.
My running shape is not good enough to run with others.
The weather will be bad on Sunday.
It's too early.
Plus the above mentioned list: What if...
Now, if you are very outgoing person who has never even thought about those things, you may think that I'm crazy.
As I was sitting here and talking to my husband about my I-should-I-should-not debate inside me, he asked: Do you really want to meet new people? Do you like running? What was the last time you slept longer than until 7? What is the one way you could embarrass yourself?
He was right. I did want to meet new people, I love running, I rarely ever sleep any longer than until 7. There are a million ways to embarrass myself, but why am I even preparing myself for that to happen?
So I RSVP-d and was up bright and early next morning, ready to run.
And you know, I had so much fun. All the ladies were incredibly friendly and welcoming. Most of them knew each other before, but that was okay, because I never felt like an outsider. We had a lot to talk about. Runners understand each other so well and there's always something to discuss.
There were several groups of runners, some of them going to run longer, some shorter distance. I had planned to run 60 minutes. The group that I went with was going to do 9 miles and since it was an out and back course, so I figured that I can always turn back earlier.
At 3.5 miles I felt perfect and kept running. I didn't even care about not so nice weather and wind, because I really enjoyed the company of those incredibly nice people. We did our 9 miles and while having some post run tea made plans for the next run together.
Needless to say, I was thrilled that I went. I had fantastic 1.5 hours.
And I learnt some pretty valuable things. Things that I knew already before, but had to tell myself again.
If you want something to change, you need to change yourself. The conditions or other people will probably not change, so it's you who has to change.
You need to step out of your comfort zone. I actually decided to intentionally start putting myself into uncomfortable situations as often as I can, ideally every day. It can be saying something nice to a stranger or going out to meet new people. I believe that to grow as a person, you need to challenge yourself once in a while.
Take responsibility. If you fail, it's the result of your own actions. It's easy to make excuses or even worse, blame others for your problems, but as you take responsibility, you will work harder not to disappoint yourself.
Remember how good it felt when you succeeded the last time. Remember the last time when you made yourself to go out? Did you find like-minded people or a new hobby? It wouldn't have happened if you hadn't taken action.
What about you:
Do you ever find social situations hard?
What do you do to get over them?