30-day Social Anxiety Action Plan

pinapples floating in pool

photo by Unsplash

I love a good action plan. There’s something really satisfying about creating a plan and sticking to it day by day.

So today I wanted to share my very own 30 day social anxiety action plan that I am starting today.

Social anxiety is something I have struggled with my entire life.

If you’ve never experienced social anxiety it’s difficult to understand what it’s like, sometimes people think it’s made-up or you are just exaggerating being shy.

Social anxiety is not being shy, quiet or introverted.

Those are normal personality traits, that don’t affect the way you live your life.

For me, social anxiety manifests in group conversations, speaking on the phone, having one-on-one conversations with people and everyday encounters with the general public, for example talking to people in shops. It gets really bad when I realise I’m the focus of attention and that’s when I start to panic and freeze. This can happen during a standard conversation with someone and can be quite frightening, not to mention seem very strange to the other person. 

During my time at university it took control and I constantly avoided social interactions. I would spend days in my room instead of going out, even to the shops, avoid group situations, and sit on my own in lectures instead of empowering myself to make friends.

Now I will always email/text someone rather than ringing them, opt for the self-serve counter in a shop or avoid spending time with someone I don’t know very well because I’m terrified of being awkward and them thinking I’m weird.

My social anxiety has actually improved significantly over the last year. Previously, I reached a stage where I had so many negative thoughts I could barely speak to my closest friends without worrying about it. It’s a very self-involved condition, it forces you to spend the entire time concerned about what others think of you, and become consumed in a negative (and incorrect) reflection of yourself.

I mentioned in my last blog that something has happened recently that has shaken my world and turned it upside down. It’s made me realise that life is too short to be scared of things and I need to take action and resolve my issues with social anxiety. I know this won’t be easy, while I have improved this year I still have a long way to go until I stop being so ‘awkward’ in social situations (by the way, please don’t ever tell a socially anxious person that they are awkward, it really doesn’t help.)

I know a 30 day challenge won’t be enough to fix 24 years of anxiety, but I’m hoping it will be the catalyst for positive change. Feel free to follow the plan too, and alter any actions to suit your own needs!

Points to remember:

  • Face the fear and do it anyway
  • Be present in the moment
  • Temporary pain is necessary for something that you want in the future
  • Confidence is learnt


Day one: Practise good posture, head up, shoulders back, chest high. Walk slowly and purposefully.

Day two: Practise good posture, maintain eye contact with everyone you pass and smile if appropriate.

Day three: Same as above, this time smile at everyone and include a “Hi, how are you?” or other greeting. Extend pleasantries with people you usually speak to, e.g receptionist at work, maintain eye contact and don’t overly nod your head.

Day four: Continue as above

Day five: Continue as above. Plus go straight up to boss and confidently discuss work for the day. Engage in conversations with people in shops “how is your day?”

Day six: Continue posture, smiling, talking with passers-by, engaging in conversations. Answer phone (if at work) or call a company up and enquire about something (at home)

Day seven: Continue posture, smiling, talking with passers-by. Answer work phone and pass calls through, make call to journalist/publication (if at work). Call someone you know that you haven’t spoken to for a chat (bonus points if they intimidate you)

Day eight:  Continue posture, smiling, talking with passers-by. Answer work phone and pass calls through, make call to journalist/publication (if at work). Ask a stranger on the street for directions/time.

Day nine: Continue posture/smiling/answering phone. Speak confidently to boss about work. Ask stranger on street for directions/time maintain eye contact and smile.

Day 10: Continue as above.

Day 11: Continue as above.  Do a new class at the gym and talk to two people and the instructor about it.

Day 12: Continue as above (not gym) plus engage a stranger in further conversation, for example asking for recommendation for a good restaurant.

Day 13: Continue as above plus engage a stranger in further conversation, for example asking for recommendation for good hotel.

Day 14: Continue as above plus engage a stranger in further conversation, for example conversation “you look familiar, did you go to school in Leeds?”

Day 15: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Ask colleague to go for lunch with you and don’t take your phone so you have to engage in conversation.

Day 16: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Ask strangers for recommendations and engage in conversation.

Day 17: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries.  Ask strangers for recommendations and engage in conversation. Speak to three people at gym.

Day 18: Feedback ideas to boss. Stand up and maintain good posture and eye contact. Speak slowly.

Day 19: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Ask strangers for recommendations and engage in conversation. Ask an acquaintance out for lunch and engage in conversation.

Day 20: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Practise singing loudly in your room, in the shower and in the kitchen when your flatmate is in. Look at posture in mirror and practise talking with hands.

Day 21: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Make calls at work to three journalists and publications.

Day 22: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Make calls at work to three journalists and publications.

Day 23: Continue posture, eye contact,smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Ask colleague out for lunch. Make enquiries on the phone to three restaurants.

Day 24: Go to a meetup group on your own. Practise everything you have learned e.g posture, smiling, walking and speaking slowly.

Day 25: Continue posture, eye contact, smiling, exchanging pleasantries. Ask colleague out for lunch. Make enquiries on the phone to three restaurants.

Day 26: Get your nails done at a salon where you have to look at the beautician in the eye and chat for half an hour.

Day 27: Go to a coffee shop and read a book for a few hours. Speak to five people. By this time posture, eye contact etc is a given.

Day 28: Wear a bold lip colour or an outfit that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Day 29: Attend another meet up on your own.

Day 30: Go for a night out SOBER and dance and talk to people!

Hannah

  • Vicky Anderson

    Wow you’ve certainly set out quite an intense plan for yourself! I really hope it helps you. 💜 If you need any support just yell.

    V ❤

  • Emilie

    Aw Han I couldn’t do half this stuff – it’s amazing that you’re challenging yourself to do it.
    And don’t forget that no matter how this challenge pans out, you are a beautiful, strong, eloquent and clever woman – social anxiety and all!
    Love you xx