Dance fitter, anxiety sufferer and my not so little sister, Sarah McIntosh, joins me on the blog this week to share her advice on how to make it to and through a class when you are dealing with anxiety.
Anxiety sucks, big time. It can be a debilitating condition which attempts to ruin all your plans and all the things you want to do and achieve with incessant worry, stress and fear.
Let’s face it, going to any exercise class for the first time can be nerve-wracking when you don’t suffer from anxiety! Sarah has been coming to Dance Fit for years now and even though she loves it, it can still be hard for her to turn up every week.
I hear from many women who say they want to try Dance Fit but tell me they are nervous and anxious. Whilst I get to meet some of these lovely ladies, there are many others who I never see or hear from again. Dance Fit isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea but it’s sad to know there are people out there who want to give it a try but don’t.
Here are some top tips from my sis on how to get to a class if you’re being held back by anxiety.
Whilst I’m getting ready, I will put on a funny TV programme or podcast to distract my brain! So rather than thinking, “I’m getting ready to go out,” I’m thinking, “I’m watching this show” or “I’m listening to this podcast.”
Find someone to go with you. If you can’t, see if you can find someone to drop you off. As I go to class with my mum, I find I’m less likely to back out of going.
When I have a wobble about going, I tell myself it’s only an hour which is not very long at all. I know I might be biased, but the teacher is very friendly! She doesn’t bark orders at you, she’s not scary! All the other class members are welcoming too and happy to chat to anybody.
Once the class has started, it’s go time! It’s one routine after another so there’s no time to worry about anything else when you are concentrating on the routines.
If you’re nervous about going wrong, it’s OK because everyone goes wrong at some point. It’s basically a rite of passage! You just have a giggle to yourself then carry on.
If you’re worried about people looking at you, I can assure you that they aren’t. Everyone is too busy concentrating on what they’re doing.
It’s important to note, if you do have a moment where you suddenly feel overwhelmed and need to take a minute, you can. Whether that means sitting out for a routine or stepping out for some air, that’s OK. I’ve done this myself before. No one will cluster around you or fuss.
People with anxiety are constantly told that they need to exercise more. This is because exercising releases endorphins which lifts your mood leaving you feeling happier and less stressed. Whilst we hear this all the time (which can be annoying) it is true! After Dance Fit, I genuinely do feel happier. I’m proud of myself too. I realise, “I did it!” (and nothing bad happened).
You will have to push yourself to go, there’s no getting around that bit. But I can assure you that it’s so much fun that the time passes so fast. It’s over before you know it! Plus, once you getting talking to others in the class, it’s much less scary. You can think of going to the class more like going to see your friends.
Like I’ve said, you will have to take the plunge but when it’s over you’ll be so happy you did, trust me.