While your single-parent life mainly revolves around, well, parenting, you deserve to have a grown-up night out every so often. Plenty of folks reentering the dating scene may feel the same way you do: nervous but excited. As you meet new people and make the first moves, remember these tips to calm your nerves before a first date. You got this!
Do a Workout
Distract yourself from pre-date jitters by working up a sweat. Exercising releases endorphins and gets your heart rate up; you’d be amazed how relieved you feel after you finish your workout. It’s hard to focus on your anxiety in the middle of an aerobics routine! Plus, that post-workout shower will feel amazing and get you feeling relaxed before it’s time to get ready.
Don’t Sweat Your Style
You could set your nerves on edge if you stand in front of your closet for an hour, hemming and hawing over the perfect first-date outfit. Don’t worry about it! Pick one of your favorite casual pieces and dress it up for the evening with stylish shoes and accessories. If you wear clothes that make you feel happy and comfortable, your outlook going into the date will be brighter.
If your heart is all aflutter and you feel the jitters coming on right before the date, try a breathing technique. The 4-7-8 method works wonders to reboot your nervous system and get you feeling more relaxed and mindful. With your lips closed, inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for seven seconds, then count to eight as you exhale through your mouth with a whooshing sound. Repeat as necessary.
Friendzone Your Date
Instead of putting pressure on yourself to find the love of your life right away, treat the first date like more of a hangout. Schedule the date itself to be relatively short, and don’t take it too seriously. If you avoid putting expectations on yourself or your date right away, you won’t be so worried about rejection. Make your first date a relaxing experience—if you two click, great! If not, no big deal. You can still be friends, and who knows? You might click later on.
Make It Fun
For the first date, instead of making reservations at the fanciest restaurant in town, go bowling. Or mini-golfing. Or visit a cool museum. Plan fun activities for the evening! You and your date will get to know each other in a more informal setting and feel less pressure. Asking those icebreaker questions at a paint-your-own-pottery place is more whimsical and less stressful than over candlelight and wine.
The dating scene is waiting for you; embrace it with open, jitter-free arms! Between your single-parent duties, hire a sitter, take a night for yourself, and remember these tips to calm your nerves before a first date.