Coping with anxiety on a night out

For lots of people, university is the first opportunity for going on a night out to a club. Whether or not clubbing is a new experience for you, it can still be daunting if, like me, you struggle with anxiety. Before I go any further, it’s important to remember that if going on a big night out drinking isn’t your idea of fun, then there is absolutely no pressure to do it – there are so many other ways to enjoy yourself at uni. In my case however, I wanted to be able to go out with my friends without my anxiety holding me back, and so I decided not to let it stop me from doing what I personally wanted. If I was to describe a situation where I would be most prone to panicking, it would be in a tightly packed space surrounded by lots of strangers, not knowing where my friends were, in the dark, feeling overheated, with my head spinning from alcohol. This basically describes a club. Whilst nights out are a great way to have fun, they can be stressful experiences at times. If you can in any way relate to this but want to be able to safely enjoy yourself, there are lots of things you can do to reduce your anxiety. Here are some tips which work for me:

– Go out with a group of friends and agree to stay together. Having friends around you means you can look out for each other. Make sure you have each other’s phone numbers in case you get separated.

– Tell a friend that you might feel anxious. There is no shame in doing this, and it is very comforting to know that someone knows so that they can check up on you.

– Don’t drink beyond your limits! Alcohol and anxiety is usually not a good mix. It is a lot easier to look after yourself if the room isn’t spinning, so remember not to get too carried away with drinks, and make use of the free tap water from the bar.

– Get some fresh air. If things get a bit overwhelming, go out to the smoking area for a bit for a break from the chaos inside. Take a friend with you or let them know you are going!

– Don’t force yourself to go out if you feel like it. An early night in bed watching Netflix is sometimes all you want, so don’t feel pressured to go out if you know you’re not in the mood!

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