Dealing with Social Anxiety this Christmas.

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Regardless of whether you consider yourself more of a social hermit than a butterfly, Christmas is all but certain to be one of the most sociable times of the year. From work parties to family dinners, the Yuletide season tends to be a time when people come together, broadening their social circle and spending time with people they would not normally see socially.

While this can be great for some people, such as those who often feel lonely or isolated, not everyone relishes the opportunity to traipse through a dark and stormy night to spend time with relative strangers. So, if you have upcoming social engagements that have been causing you to feel anxious, here are some tips to help alleviate your anxiety and make the most of your time.

Plan Ahead

Any time you are attending an event you would rather not be at, you should know when and how you can leave. Nobody likes to be remembered as the person who was last in and first out, so if possible, ask if you can arrive early. You may be able to score some extra brownie points by helping to set up, and it will be easier to say your hellos as people gradually drift in. Once the merriment is in full swing, it will be easy for you to quietly dip out, having helped out and made your presence known. If possible, share a ride with someone else who would rather leave early. Alternatively, simply say that you need to leave earlier in case the public transport is overwhelmed.

Come Prepared

Christmas is the season of giving, so it is always nice to arrive with something in hand. What you bring is less important than the act itself; it’s the thought that counts, after all. Drinks like mulled wine or hot cider can be made in bulk relatively cheaply, add a sense of Christmas spirit, and probably won’t go to waste. Cookies, cupcakes, or brownies are easy to make, but always popular. If you are attending an event with children or gift-giving, a simple pack of batteries or a spare charger could make you the hero of the hour.

Think of the Host

Unless someone is putting a ring on your finger, you do not want to be the one everyone is talking about after a wedding. The same logic applies to most events. While they can be very anxiety-inducing, if you are at an event, remember that someone is hosting it, and their primary goal is to ensure that people leave happy. Remember that you are just one of a number of people they are trying to juggle, and their eyes will always be drawn to the troublemakers. So as long as you don’t exchange blows with a drunken uncle, drop the turkey, or break their expensive new present, odds are you will blend seamlessly into a crowd of happy attendees. When you’re feeling anxious, remember that they are too, and all you have to do to make them happy is have a good time, and allow others to do the same.

Anxiety at social events is perfectly normal, and probably a lot more common than you think. Try to remember that most people just want to enjoy themselves, and if you are not standing between them and a good time, you probably have nothing to worry about.

If you’re dealing with social anxiety, and are interested in low-cost counselling, please get in touch with us today.