Jana Orlova

Can you be a content creator if you have social anxiety?

Literārā publicistika Sleja

I am a marketing video producer and I have social anxiety. It’s not easy to admit and even now, writing this, it’s scary. What will people think of me and what will be the reaction? Those who have anxiety will know what I am talking about, and those who don’t – the eternal worry about the future. That is probably the shortest explanation.

The joke is that I only found out last year that I had social anxiety. Was I surprised? Yes! Because I had never heard anyone tell me that. It was always “she’s shy” or “she’s introverted”. I always thought that what I feel is normal and everyone feels like this. Oh boy, I was sooo wrong.

I recently found a tweet on Twitter/X that said “Secondary school was too funny. They will see an introvert with social anxiety and give them “best behaved” and I don’t know what else would describe me better. My childhood, my school years, my student years. But it doesn’t explain why I work in marketing, where you have to deal with people every day. Isn’t it strange that you create content where so many people are involved, where you have to organise and communicate with them, but you are afraid of them and in the end the result of the project itself and how will people judge your work? Oh god, it’s already chaotic and there are so many questions. It’s time to get anxious!

But what helps me?

There is no right answer in the creative field.

My math teacher went to study math because she liked that there are usually one or two answers. That’s why she always knew she wouldn’t study anything creative, because there are so many opinions, versions and clearly no clear answer in arts. (But to be honest, all creatives know there are also only two answers – like or dislike)

That’s why I TRY not to take it personally if someone doesn’t like my work, because there are different people, different opinions, and ultimately different tastes. Of course, it doesn’t always work out. So, if you’re not sure about yourself, remember that you can always ask your closest colleagues, friends, family for help (because, you know, there are two answers: like or don’t.)

You don’t always have to be brave.

Don’t listen to “Nike” – don’t “just do it”. I do things like in sport – I warm up my body, do a warm-up exercise and then do my exercises. The key to all this is preparation. So do the same! So if you know you’re going to be speaking in front of several people, start preparing and practicing early so you can be more confident. Even freestyle rappers and actors in impro theatres are doing exercises!

Eliminate your thoughts.

Of course, everyone has their own methods if anxiety is off the roof, but personally for me, content (I wonder why 🙂) like films, TV shows, social networks, music, and breathing exercises are helpful.

I recommend these breathing exercises. Please note, I am not a doctor, and I am just sharing what helps me. Maybe for you it won’t.

Stomach breathing or diaphragmatic breathing:

I usually lie on the bed (but sometimes I do it standing up) and breathe through my nostrils, trying to fill my belly instead of my lungs and I exhale it out slowly thru mouth. My goal is to lower my breathing speed.

Pursed Lips Breathing:

Breathe in through the nose and exhale with your lips together as if you were trying to blow out a candle. And that’s it!

We’re all just human.

I won’t even say that it’s human to make mistakes. It is natural, period. My grandmother always said to me, ‘If you feel bad, you better look at how much worse other people are doing’. Awful advice, I know, but it helps. Sorry.

You can do the same with mistakes. Look at the shit others do. But that doesn’t automatically mean you have to think and put yourself in a better position than others.

It’s very easy to say that your job should be a hobby so you will never actually work, but what if your “hobby” brings you joy AND stress? What would you do?

Knowing that I am shy and introvert-ed has not stopped me from expressing myself creatively and there is a very simple explanation – I like, and I am interested in what I do. Yes, it’s my hobby and job. And yes, it brings me joy and stress. Yes, sometimes because I got scared and wasn’t confident, I have not got what I wanted. And?

And as McDonald’s slogan said – I’m lovin’ it. Still.


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