With the holidays upon us, it means our schedules are busier, and our free time becomes more limited. Many of us enjoy the holidays, but it does become a time when social anxiety can become ruthless.
What's it like to have social anxiety?
Speaking from a personal perspective, social anxiety is a fear of talking to others, disappointing people, or just overwhelmed by all the social gatherings.
*Hint: if you are introverted, like me, then you probably also have social anxiety or have had it int the past.
During the holidays, our commitments are a lot bigger, so social anxiety can rear its ugly head a lot more frequently.
What do the experts say about social anxiety and the holidays?
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers a few great tips to de-stress during the holidays by not setting your expectations too high. With that, not biting off more than you can chew (metaphorically, of course).
Also, avoid alcohol during these stressful times as it can actually make your anxiety worse.
Specific tips I use to manage my social anxiety during the holidays
- Saying no. If you don't want to go to a party, say no. Especially if you already have a jam-packed week of parties and social gatherings.
- Avoid certain topics like religion and politics, unless you are comfortable with the person you are talking to.
- You don't have to be a social butterfly. Find a few people to talk to that you share similar interests with. Mingling with everyone at a party just isn't my cup of tea.
- Find a time to de-stress. If you are going to your parents' house for the holidays and your boyfriend's parents' house, make sure you give yourself enough of a break before each party. This might mean showing up late, but better late than about to go into a full-blown panic attack.
- Don't worry about impressing everyone. It's too much work and leaves you feeling drained and unhappy.
- If your anxiety is really getting the best of you, excuse yourself and go outside. A nice little walk or just some fresh air can do wonders!
- One last tip involves parking. Find a parking spot that you won't get blocked in. This helps in case you need to make a quick getaway. The last thing you want to do is have to ask someone to move their car while you are on the verge of a meltdown.
Wishing all my introverted friends out there a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays for those of you who are celebrating a different holiday. We will get through this, remember to take deep breaths and know you are not alone!