Scared Because it's New
I'm baby-sitting two children tonight that I've never really met. I know of them and the parents, but we don't really know each other so it is pretty safe to say I am a tad nervous. I mean if it wasn't for five and a half hours just like that off the bat then I'd probably be like, yeah give it to me, but I'll admit I am hesitant. No matter how wishy washy I am about it, there is the reality that it will happen and then it will pass. It will most likely pass quicker then I originally thought (playing ponies, generally does that I think), and in 24h hours I'll be wondering what all the fuss was about. But there is anxiety there none-the-less because it's not familiar, rather it's new.
I am fully aware that being cautious of the unknown is a survival instinct required to help us judge dangerous situations and live longer, but really, in everyday situations, is it truely necessary? For different people this scale varies in different ways, but for those of us prone to a little social anxiety this can be higher then the next person, and that kind of sucks. However ignoring the 'wo is me' and all that jazz, throughout this experience I have realised many things that are a necessity to helping it go as smoothly as foreseeably possible.
Firstly, telling someone about your anxiety is key. When you are anxious you tend to hold your breath and keep not only that but your concerns bottled up, you let it all build up and up so that you are somewhat hurting inside. Sound dramatic but it's true. Talk to your mum or a best friend, whoever and just get it off your chest. You don't have to go into too much detail, just say 'I don't really want to do _________' and then listen to their reassurance. This allows you to zoom out a bit and see the big picture, whilst putting some of your concerns to rest.
Secondly, think ahead and be reasonable. If you have particular concerns about a situation or an experience, then brainstorm a bit and put your concerns behind you. For me it was not looking forward to the time between when the kids have gone to bed and the parents arrive home three hours later. Even writing it makes me feel queasy. I am usually an early to-bed person so having to stay up and be the "responsible one" is a little daunting. I promise I am not daunted in other regards, so please keep an open mind about how we all have different challenges to overcome. Anyhoos, with a little brainstorm of what I can do with that time giving myself affirmation type phrases to remember, I was immediately put at ease. These being 'you are going to sleep in your own bed', 'you can always call them if it is going horribly wrong', 'playing with kids draws you to the present and passes the time quickly', 'she is making vegan pasta for you to eat so get excited!'. You get the gist.
Lastly, keeping busy on the day of whatever you are worried about is vital. I am very guilty of thinking that the day will only have "this particular experience" on it, when in reality there is many more hours in the day. But our mind doesn't focus on the rest because it knows that there is no need to worry about that, it's familiar. It's cunning and sneaky, but also necessary. When you catch yourself worrying about Thursday because of X, make the conscious decision to think equally about Y and Z. You'll realise there is no need for the stress and you'll be ready to conquer the world. Promise.