What to Do If You Feel Uncomfortable Changing in P.E.

Let's face it, changing for P.E. or gym class can be super awkward.

If you feel uncomfortable putting on your athletic clothes in front of others, however, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it's totally normal to feel a bit uneasy about changing in a room full of your peers—and most people feel anxious about it in one way or another.

If changing in P.E. is totally not for you, read on for a list of tips that will make the experience way less awkward.

Get Creative

We went to high school with people who didn't love changing in front of others, so to avoid some of the awkwardness, they'd wear her gym clothes underneath their regular school clothes. That way, when it was time to change and get ready for gym, they didn't really need to undress. When it was time to change back into her school clothes, they let their extra-long gym shirt cover much of their upper body while changing their pants. This made them able to change back into their school top without taking their gym shirt off entirely. If you're really feeling anxious, try a few practice runs at home so you can find a routine that works for you.

Regina George in the Locker Room
(via Paramount Pictures)


Strike Up a Conversation

If you're worried about that awkward feeling while everyone's changing, strike up a conversation in an effort to distract from what's going on around you. Talk about that hilarious TikTok you saw, or that awesome YouTube tutorial you can't get enough of. The idea is to occupy everyone's attention so they're focused on something other than uncomfortable locker room antics.


Find a More Private Location to Change

Most locker rooms have showers or bathroom stalls—two locales that will provide you with complete privacy, should you want or need it. If you're really feeling uncomfortable about changing in such close proximity to others, grab your clothes and head to one of those more secluded spots. Chances are, no one will even notice, let alone say something—and if they do, just explain that you like changing somewhere with a tad more privacy.

(via Unsplash)


Remember That Everyone Is in the Same Boat

If your anxiety is minimal, but not overpowering, it may help to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone needs to change for P.E., and it's also likely that everyone (or almost everyone) has some anxiety about it because, let's face it, changing in front of others is awkward, especially if you're still trying to feel comfortable in your own body. Acknowledging that you're not the only one who feels uncomfortable is often a crucial step before becoming more at ease with a situation.


Talk to a Teacher or School Nurse

If your discomfort around changing for gym gets to a point where it's having a negative impact on your daily life, and changing in a bathroom either isn't an option or doesn't help, talk to your gym teacher, nurse or any other adult at school you feel comfortable confiding in and explain your situation. Chances are, this person will want to find some way to help you. No teacher wants any student to feel uncomfortable at school, and you likely aren't the first student to have this issue, meaning your teacher might already have a solution in mind.

(via Unsplash)


Looking for more advice? Click HERE for tips on how to respectfully set boundaries with a needy friend.