June 1, 2017


Dear Nikki,

I’ll be going into town with my two very best friends and I can’t wait! But I’m also a little nervous because we’ll be going without parents, and it’ll be the first time I’ve ever done something like that. Will you please give me some tips on how to relax and just have fun? Thank you for your help!

City Jitters

Hi City Jitters,Ooh, that sounds fun! How cool that you get to do that with your two BFFs! Chloe, Zoey, and I might try that, too. 🙂

So, here’s the thing: if you’re nervous about it, that means you’re thinking about the various things that could happen, and that’s actually a good thing. If you were just wild and careless, a lot more things could likely go wrong. But you’re thoughtful and cautious, so everything should be fine.

Do you have a cell phone? If not, ask if you can use one of your parents’ phones. (They will probably want you to do that anyway.) Then, if anything unexpected happens, you can always call for help. It doesn’t have to be some big emergency, either. If you guys get turned around and need directions, you can call a parent. Even if you just want to say hi, you can call and do that. If this is your first time going off on your own like this, your parents might be kind of worried, too.

It might help to think through what you’re nervous about, if you can. It might just be general butterflies, which is fine. But can you be more specific? Are you worried you’ll get lost? Run out of money? Get chased by zombies (LOL, like THAT will ever happen! 🙂 )?

I don’t want to put a ton of ideas in your head, but whatever it is, think it through. If that thing happens, what will you do? Probably, in most situations, the answer will be call home and/or talk to a nearby adult. (People who are working in shops are a good choice, or older women who look like moms.) Aside from the zombies, every problem you come up with should have a solution. 🙂

So, here are a couple more things to help you keep calm:

If you’re starting to feel a little anxious, take some slow, deep breaths. It seems like a simple thing, but it’s amazing how much breathing can help.

Here’s another trick I learned from a friend who has a lot of anxiety. Wear a hairband on your wrist. It’s better if it’s one of those wide, ribbon hairbands, but a regular one will do the trick. When you’re starting to feel nervous, snap the hairband on your wrist. Not so hard you hurt yourself, but just enough to give your brain something else to focus on. Take some nice, deep breaths while you snap the band a few times, and you should feel better soon.

And finally, I have talked about the Wonder Woman pose in this column before, but it’s too good not to mention. There is actual science that says if you stand for a minute with your legs wide and your hands on your hips, chest thrust out and chin up, it boosts your confidence. For real! You can look this up! So if you need to, duck into a bathroom and summon your inner Wonder Woman before heading back out to meet your friends. Or, if they’re your BFFs, you can tell them exactly what you’re doing, and you can be a trio of kick-butt superheroes together!

I hope you have an amazing time!! 

Do you get nervous about going out without parents around? How do you handle it when you’re feeling anxious?

Next week, I’m going to give you advice on what to do if you find yourself in a REAL emergency situation!