Dealing with Social Anxiety: How to Survive the Holidays

A young woman worries about attending a holiday party.

With parties and family gatherings looming, social anxiety is heightened for many people during the holidays.

Holiday party invitations are starting to fill your inbox and Christmas cheer is everywhere, but you feel anything but merry. This is what it’s like when you suffer from social anxiety, and the holidays can be one of the worst times. Family gatherings mean small talk, parties are filled with strangers, and everywhere you turn there is a crowd. The stress this brings is more than just a bit of nervousness or feeling like an introvert. People with social anxiety actually fear an event. You may feel judged or scrutinized by the people around you. There are ways to deal with your anxiety and make the holidays a little more manageable.

Stop Worrying About “What If”

People with social anxiety often worry about the “What If’s” before they get to an event or crowded location.

– What if someone wants to have a long conversation?
– What if they don’t like me?
– What if I say something silly?

Instead, focus on things that you can control. Try to have a positive attitude and go into a situation with a game plan.

Your Game Plan and Ways to Cope

  1. Identify your stressors
    Determine what it is that upsets you during the holidays. Break down your concerns. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, this can make the holidays less overwhelming and easier to tackle.
  2. Trust a confidant
    Share your fears with a close friend or family member. They can help you create a buffer for difficult interactions.
  3. Focus on the external
    Instead of internalizing your worries, offer to help your host with any prep work for the party. This can help get rid of any negative feelings that you are associating with the event.
  4. Maintain healthy eating habits
    Foods that are high in sugar, fat, caffeine and alcohol can play a role in anxiety levels. Making smart food and drink choices can help you manage your fears. In addition, don’t drink too much alcohol putting yourself in a position where you are not in control. Alcohol can also trigger panic attacks if you suffer from anxiety.
  5. Remember that no one is judging you
    No one is paying attention to how you look or talk. Often others feel the same way as you. When making conversation be sure to ask questions. This is a good strategy if you do not know someone well. Plus, most people enjoy talking about themselves so they will likely carry the conversation for you.
  6. Take small steps
    Overcoming small challenges can add up to significant progress in the long run.

Be Prepared Going into the Holidays

Consider a treatment program for social anxiety before the holidays hit in full force. While it’s difficult to reach out for help, it can lead to recovery. Treatment at Growth Extended can help you learn to manage your social anxiety through an approach tailored just for you. If you are ready to take the first step towards treatment, contact us today to learn more about your options.

Get the help you need today.

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Men and women overcome social anxiety to participate in a training seminar.A young woman feels shy and anxious about social situations