When Social Anxiety Hits
Everyone begins walking down the trail. Parents are asking each other questions and swapping stories. You tell yourself you should join the conversation, get to know some of the other parents. After all, look at your child – chattering with a group of kids, becoming fast friends. But the idea of jumping in is overwhelming.
According to Jenn Granneman, author of the book The Secret Lives of Introverts, it’s common for introverts to find themselves battling some level of social anxiety. It can strike at any social gathering, big or small, and sometimes without rhyme or reason. It makes it difficult for introverts or those that suffer from more extreme cases of social anxiety, to foster a real community.
How Hike it Baby Helps Build Community
From our community-led, peer-hosted hikes to the volunteers that keep the organization running, Hike it Baby is founded on building and upholding a strong community. We support all families and empower them to get outside with confidence. Hike it Baby brings families together to create authentic connections and actively commits to diversity and inclusion in our community.
Feel ready to do this? Here are a few tips to help you build a community with Hike it Baby.
Hike it Baby is an inclusive, judgment-free community of like-minded parents and caregivers that have a shared mission of connecting their kids with nature. If you’re here for this reason, you already have something in common with everyone and a built-in conversation starter. Additionally, members are looking to create a connection with each other. We’re all in this parenting thing together, and we want to get to know the real you.
Bring a Friend
Everyone is welcome to join a Hike it Baby hike. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, or your best friend. Just ask them to sign the waiver by signing up for the free 90-day membership trial. You may feel more comfortable having your sibling, mom or dad, or buddy tag along with you. Bonus if your wingman is an extrovert and can help you strike up a conversation.
In her article, An Introvert’s Guide to Fostering Community, Amy Kessler suggests planning ahead to ease anxiety. Select a hike a few days in advance so you can plan. Try to keep your daily activity around the hike to a minimum so you don’t feel flustered or overtaxed before you get to the hike. Kessler also advises setting time limits. Know how long you can socialize before you feel drained. When you first get started with Hike it Baby, select a short hike or a park and play event so you can leave at your convenience. Learn more about Hike it Baby hike ratings here.
Talk to the Hike Host
The Hike it Baby calendar provides thorough details about each hike, including trail distance, estimated time, and difficulty rating of the trail. This certainly helps with planning, but if you want more details about the hike, reach out to the hike host. They can answer questions you may have to help ease any anxiety you are feeling about the hike. By introducing yourself ahead of time, you’ll already know one person at the hike!
Check out this video on how Maria Echaniz found her community with Hike it Baby.
Hike it Baby is a friendly and all-inclusive community. We come together to enjoy each other’s company, be healthy and expose our children to the wonders of nature. We understand bringing children on trail can bring unique challenges, so if you need to stop to change a diaper or take a break to feed, we take it together! Learn more about Hike it Baby and start your free, 90-day trial membership today!
About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Deanna Curry.
Psychology Today, The Secret Lives of Introverts, Granneman, Accessed 1/21/2020
Boundless, An Introverts Guide to Foster Community, Kessler, Accessed 1/21/2020