How Dining at My Favorite Arizona Restaurants Help Ease My Anxiety
For some of us, dining out is a great experience. For some of us, it causes a lot of anxiety. I've developed a hack that helps me deal with my personal stress when I eat at a restaurant in Arizona.
The Anxiety is Born
I'm almost ashamed to admit that I have a certain level of anxiety when I eat at a restaurant. When I was a child, our family at out so rarely that getting together at restaurant was an event.
But there were rules. One of the reasons we didn't eat out very often was simple: finances. My parents both worked hard, and we always had food, but extras were not always in the budget. And eating out was just too expensive for our family.
When the happy occasion did come around, there were RULES. First, we were constrained to the kid's menu for a ridiculously long time.
Even as we started to approach that fuzzy line between childhood and adulthood - that period where we should have graduated to the adult menu - our parents would look us in the eye and tell us we were six. Or eleven. Or whatever the age cutoff was at that particular establishment.
Stressing Out the Overstressed Waitstaff
The conversation always took place between parents and kids before the overworked waitress arrived to take our order.
"Look, if you're 6, your sister is 9 and you're 11," Dad would say, dashing my hopes of the ordering the butterfly shrimp and steak I was eyeing on the adult menu.
From time to time the waitress would side-eye the obvious pre-teen in front of her. The one scowling at the paper kids' menu, crayons inches away and untouched, as she tried to assess if she had the strength to challenge my parents' assertion this child before here was still under 12 years old.
Usually, they path of least resistance won out, and my sisters ended up with chicken nuggets and fries, dipped in ketchup. No way were my parents about to pay extra for a side of ranch!
And you better be absolutely sure you want the chicken nuggets, they'd admonish, because no matter what the waitress brought to the table, we were not allowed to send it back. That would have been too embarrassing.
The Anxiety is Reinforced
As the oldest child, I graduated from the kids' menu first. There was still a budget to consider, so I couldn't just order the surf and turf, no matter how much I wanted it.
I find these thoughts living rent free in my brain, and it still stresses me out when I order at a restaurant. The budget versus what I would really like to eat, versus the possibility it might be wrong still causes me great anxiety.
Finding Your Restaurant Home in Arizona
Which is why I find myself eating in the same homey restaurants whenever we venture out for a meal. My grown-up family has fewer kids and a slightly broader budget, so we can afford to eat out more often, but I still have some of those same programs running through my brain.
My Hack: Going to the same restaurants again and again. Because I'm familiar with the menu, on the way to the restaurant, I find myself "preordering" in my head, deciding what I'm going to get before I even walk in the door.
Do You Suffer from Deipnophobia?
It turns out, I'm not alone. There's an actual name for this social anxiety. According to the website aboutsocialanxiety.com,
"The fear of eating in public is called deipnophobia. Deipnophobia is an intense fear or phobia of eating in public places, especially in front of others."
While I wouldn't call my phobia intense, it is uncomfortable. AboutSocialAnxiety.com has a list of hacks to help overcome this feeling, but I try to stick to the same Arizona restaurants in order to ease some of my stress.
My favorite places to eat in Sierra Vista are Pit Stop Gourmet Burgers, Angelika's German Imports, Indochine, La Casita Restaurant and Cantina, and The Country House. I have a few more on my list, but these are my top go-to's. I have favorite orders at each of these restaurants, I know most of the staff, and I always feel welcome.
This is how I deal with my anxiety. Do you have this problem? What are your go-to hacks and favorite places to eat? Download our app and send me a chat with your favorite hacks!
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