Getting diagnosed with hypothyroidism affects many parts of your life, including your social life. It’s probably not the first thing you’ll think of when you’re diagnosed (and it really shouldn’t be), but it will come up eventually. Whether you are a social butterfly or an introvert, going out with friends or enjoying a night out on the town can be a lot of fun and a way to relax and de-stress.
But if you are a person living with hypothyroidism, it may not be as simple and carefree as it used to be. There will probably be things to consider now that were never an issue in the past. It’s just a matter of making a few extra plans.
Thinking ahead of time about issues that you may have to face while you’re out will help you to be able to relax and enjoy yourself more easily. It just may take a little more planning than in the past.
Should I Stay Home?
Before you decide to go out, you may struggle with whether you really want to or not. Sometimes you simply may not feel like going out, but fear disappointing your friends or family. Listen to your body. If you think it’s going to take more energy out of you than you feel you have, it’s okay to say no.
Friends may not understand at first but be patient with them and ask them to be patient with you. Socializing can be more difficult at times because it usually requires you to be “on” and more outgoing. It can wear on you emotionally and physically.
Good to Go
But if you have friends who are understanding, and can go with the flow, that’s a plus. If you decide you want to go, having an easy out can be helpful. Make a contingency plan for if you feel sick or tired. Have a way to get home if the others want to stay.
Also, especially early on, try to make plans that are simple and low key, and are not something that might be stressful or overwhelm you.
What Will I Eat?
Planning ahead what you will eat or what will be available to eat before you get there can keep things low stress. Many people with hypothyroidism follow special diets or avoid certain foods to maximize thyroid function. If you’re going to a party or event where there will be dinner or food served, do you know if you can eat it? If not, it’s wise to eat before you go or bring a snack or food for later.
Having a healthy snack or meal option is always a good idea whenever you go out so you can avoid making bad last-minute choices that are likely to make you feel sick or tired (or both) later.
Many people with hypothyroidism also deal with digestive issues, so supplying your own food will help you to avoid feeling sick while you are out or spending a few days afterwards recovering.
What Should I Wear?
Another issue people with hypothyroidism frequently deal with is sensitivity to cold. Being out without a sweater or jacket can ruin an evening very quickly when you start shivering and can’t get warm.
Planning an appropriate outfit for where you’re going is important. Dressing in layers can help you deal with changes in the weather or air-conditioned spaces.
It can also be helpful to keep a bag in your car with an extra sweater or even a jacket or coat in case you start to feel cold.
What Should I Talk About?
Even if you were a social butterfly before, socializing may not be as easy with hypothyroidism. Fatigue and brain fog can make it more difficult to concentrate or recall information quickly in conversations.
Taking a little time to think ahead of things you want to talk about can help you remember when the time comes. Maybe you have a message from one friend to another you want to relay or there’s something you keep forgetting to tell someone. Keep those things fresh in your mind to help you remember when the time comes.
Take It Slow
Socializing should be fun, not stressful. Try to make sure that the activities you enjoy are helping you to relax and have fun and are not creating stress or making you feel tired.
You might need to take it easy for a day or two after spending a night out, depending on your energy levels. But also, don’t give up if you have a bad outing. Getting out and having fun and connecting with other people is important for all of us.
Give yourself time to get back out there and take it slow if you need to. Keeping things low-key can help you find out what works best for you.
If you feel like your thyroid is playing an outsized role in dictating your life and socializing, it may be good to speak to a specialized thyroid doctor to help you get back out there and enjoying!