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Social anxiety: Five ways to survive the Bank Holiday weekend.


So, it’s that time of year when spring is starting up and the bank holiday weekends are here. How do you spend yours? If you’re anything like me and J it’s a time when even just a simple walk is a huge win.


Bank holiday weekends may well be perceived as a time for extra rest, fun in the sun, days out, BBQs or just more work - but what is often not discussed is how stressful they can be for those of us with social anxiety.


A black and white photo of a man hiking through an overgrown path.
Jon avoiding the bank holiday crowds...

As with our previous blog post about Twixmas, the problem with bank holiday weekends is that for those of us with social anxiety, there is no break. Because when so many people are looking for something to do with their free time at the very same time, this means that we need to be even more creative to avoid the crowds and find quiet spaces. It can feel almost impossible, but there are some solutions.



Before we begin it is important acknowledge that for a lot of people the bank holiday is just another day. Many don't get a day off from work or their caring duties.



So, here we go, these are five of our own tried and tested bank holiday survival tips:



1. Keep an eye on social media


This first one is perhaps obvious, but honestly, it helps to be in the know. One thing people love to do on a bank holiday is to share their plans and activities on social media - after all, this stuff makes for more interesting content than reporting on an average day at work or doing the school run.


So, whenever a bank holiday weekend approaches check your social media, but the main thing (and this is key), is to go beyond your own timeline or feed. Search wider, look for people referring to the area where you are or where you plan to be over the bank holiday. Living in Pembrokeshire, it usually takes not more than an hour after someone arrives here before a picture, selfie or reel pops up.


On Twitter, you can search by hashtags or even just the name of the place or associated terms that visitors may use. If you get lots of results this is usually a sign that it’s likely to be busy. In a similar vein, also check for journalists or other high-profile accounts posting about your location. The comments on these posts can reveal a lot about how many people are interested in visiting. These high-profile accounts are influential and (unfortunately for us) often attract more visitors.


It’s not all bad though - being in the know helps to determine where is out of bounds and where is a potential option. Sometimes, this can work to our advantage as others may be inspired to visit places they’ve seen online, leaving the less popular places free to explore.


Keep an eye on social media. You will usual find a few clues about where the crowds will be.

2. Watch the weather


Most Brits are obsessed with the weather. This is especially true during a bank holiday weekend. You only need to step outside your front door and the chatty neighbour will pounce on you with the usual ‘not a bad day today’ and ‘ it should be brightening up a bit later’.


Yes, as introverts, weather talk may well exhaust us. But why not use this obsession with the wind, the sun and the rain to our advantage? After all, if most folk are planning their weekend around whatever the weatherman says, we can easily predict where they will be.


So if the forecast predicts beaming sunshine, you know it will be best to avoid the parks and beaches. Why not try a nice shaded forest or visit a museum? On the other hand, if this weekend is predicted to be a washout, get your coat and wellies on and brave the elements. You might get a bit wet, but you will get some peace and quiet too.


A black and white selfie of a man and woman wearing coats in the pouring rain. Geocaching.
Avoiding the crowds. Out geocaching in the rain.


3. Be different: Find alternative activities



What comes to mind when you think of spring bank holiday activities?


Chances are we’re both probably thinking of something similar. Images of picnics, trips to the beach, walks and family BBQs. We’re probably not thinking of what I was doing last spring - sitting in a rusty deck chair in my winter coat with a cuppa and scrolling Twitter!


That’s the thing, a lot of what people tend to do during bank holidays is what they think they should be doing because that’s what has been sold to us for so long. Media discourse is powerful stuff. Much like Christmas, we’re given an idea of what we should be doing with our bank holiday weekend, and anything outside of that makes us feel inadequate or that we’ve failed (more to come on this in the next point…).


The main point here is that you don’t have to go to the beach, plan a party, get drunk or do whatever else everyone else seems to be doing. Alternative activities are great too. They give us some space and are often quieter because they aren’t part of the ‘how-to-do a bank holiday’ discourse.


So, here are some examples of alternative (not so popular) activities for a bank holiday:


1. Indoor activities (especially if the weather is good).


This includes the usual such as reading, gaming, sorting out old clothes, drawing, listening to music and watching films. I tend to do things I wouldn’t usually do in the house as this gives the feeling of a leisure activity that is more like a break.

2. Garden time.


A word of caution with this one. Gardens are great but can be noisy during spring and summer bank holidays due to mowing, strimming, BBQs and parties. So it all depends upon this as well as whether you have access to a garden of course. If not and you know someone who’s got a good one, it might be worth seeing if you can go there depending on your relationship and how much social is involved.

3. Online activities.


A bank holiday weekend can be a great time to be online, whether this be starting a new e-learning course or finding chats and events happening on social media. For us introverts, these activities are often so much more accessible than the local bank holiday carnival - and believe it or not there are far more of us online during a bank holiday than society would like us to believe.



A photo of the table top game Star Wars X-wing.
Board games: When everyone else is at the beach, why not spend your bank holiday in a galaxy far, far away...

4. 'Bank' your holiday for another day


It is often too easy to be drawn in by all the excitement surrounding the bank holiday weekend. The television is screaming at us to get the BBQ out, the supermarket is offering us cheap party packs of beer. Everything and everyone is telling us it is time to get together, let our hair down and have a good time.


Our advice to you here is to step back and reconsider all the hype. Use your time wisely. Do you really need to be spending your precious free time just trying to survive amongst the crowds? Why not use this bank holiday as a gift to your future self?


Let me explain.


It may sound cliche, but you could use this weekend to finally catch up on those chores you've been putting off for months. Clean the house, a spot of home DIY, you could even start work on filing that tax return. It can be anything. The point is that by getting these boring tasks out of the way now, you ‘bank’ yourself some valuable time in the future. The next time you find yourself with a few hours spare on a quiet Wednesday afternoon, you will thank yourself that instead of cleaning the oven, you are out in the wilderness, all by yourself.



5. Some things aren't for sharing


So you’ve successfully avoided the crowds and managed to find a place of solitude during one of the busiest weekends of the year - a rarity but it can happen and it when it does, it’s amazing.


Our main point here is to enjoy it for yourself in the moment and try not to be tempted to share this on social media. A huge problem with many ‘quiet places’ is that they are no longer quiet because people are posting them out far and wide - sharing pictures of these places in the excitement of a rare find all to themselves. It’s so beautiful when this happens, of course, we want to tell people, but let's also share some introvert solidarity here. Let’s keep our quiet places hidden from the digital world and allow these spaces to remain peaceful, away from the trampling and noise of too many visitors.


By doing so we can preserve them for future returns and other introverts in their quest for solitude.

A screen shot of a tweet. The tweet shows a photo of a quiet beach with the text: Can't believe we got the place to ourselves. There is a red 'no' sign placed over the tweet.
Some places are not for sharing!

 

So there you have it, our top tips for surviving this and future bank holiday weekends. Whatever you end up doing, we hope you manage to get the peace, quiet and solitude you deserve. If you have any tips of your own, please let us know in the comments below or connect with us on Twitter. Have a good one and solidarity!




3 comentarios


This is such a great post!

First of all, thank you for remembering us who have caring roles that mean we don't really get a day off. It's great to feel seen!

Secondly, as a family of wheelchair users, we often try to avoid busy places too so these are great tips for us.

So glad I found your blog x

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Jon
Jon
10 abr 2023
Contestando a

Welcome to our blog and thank you so much for your kind words. It’s great to hear that our tips were helpful and we are glad you enjoyed reading. Hope you managed to find some quiet this weekend 😊

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Invitado
06 abr 2023

I really miss UK Bank Holidays as I remember how much I enjoyed them and getting out and about to see/experience some lovely things — but organizing something for this time can be a bit stressful so these tips are great! Molly | transatlanticnotes.com

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