Surviving The Festive Season With Social Anxiety
While some people look forward to catching up with friends and family and getting in the party spirit, for those with social anxiety, this time of year can be a season to dread. When social situations feel overwhelming or distressing, it can lead people to have panic attacks or cut themselves off from the rest of the world. Social anxiety affects 10% of the UK population, so if you’re dreading events and activities, you are certainly not alone. Fortunately, there are ways you can take control of your social phobia so that you can survive and thrive this festive season.
Do you have social anxiety?
Social anxiety, or social phobia, is a condition where you have an overwhelming fear of social situations. It is something that can manifest in everyday activities which can cause issues with relationships, work and day-to-day living. It can also affect your self-esteem and confidence too.
Common signs of social anxiety include;
- Avoiding parties or group conversations
- Dreading speaking to someone on the phone
- Fear of meeting strangers or starting conversations
- Having panic attacks in social situations
- Feeling physically sick or having palpitations at the thought of an upcoming event
- Being scared of criticism, judgement and having critically low self-esteem
- Not making eye contact or interacting with others
- Being unable to do things when people are watching you
- Constantly worrying and believing you will do something embarrassing.
If you believe you have social phobia, then there is lots of help and a wide range of therapies available to help you overcome or manage your symptoms so that it doesn’t affect your quality of life. You don’t have to avoid social situations, and it certainly does not have to take over your whole life.
Managing social anxiety during the festive season
Give yourself downtime
The festive season can feel like you’re rushing from one event to the next. This, in itself, can feel overwhelming. So, if your schedule is too demanding, cut back on the events you really don’t want to go to and focus your attention on the ones you do want to attend. Before each event, make sure you give yourself a couple of hours free. This much-needed downtime can help you to relax. It also means you can get ready without rushing, so you feel prepared and in control.
A relaxing bath or an invigorating workout can help to release your feel-good endorphins so you can start the event positively.
Plan in advance
From your outfit to transport and even conversation starters or gifts, having a plan in advance of the event can help to minimise the nerves. Make sure to ask in advance about the dress code if it is not clear. Then plan an outfit that fits the brief, looks great, and you feel completely comfortable in.
It can also help to arrange meeting someone before the event so that you can arrive together. Having someone with you can help to reduce the fear of walking into a room full of people. It can also curb any concerns about transport, such as being late, if you plan your journey in advance.
You don’t have to throw yourself into every conversation and taking a step back to be an observer can really help to decrease your anxiety. Watching people dance without a care in the world or acting silly can help to lower your stress levels and reduce your own anxiety as you can see that there is nothing to worry about.
Practice breathing techniques
Having some go-to anxiety-calming tools at your disposal can really help with social situations. This is because you know you are armed with techniques that can help to lower your stress levels. Breathing techniques or tapping can both be really easy to implement. What’s more, they’re really subtle too, so you won’t feel like you are making a scene.
During my blended therapy for anxiety, I teach my clients a range of bespoke tools that they can use in social situations. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free consultation.
A host will often appreciate an offer to lend a hand. What’s more, it gives you a sense of purpose if you are feeling uncomfortable in a situation. You are still engaging and socialising, but with an action to distract you, you may find it easier to socialise and make conversation.
It is easy to use alcohol as a crutch to get through social events. However, alcohol can increase the symptoms of anxiety. It can help to set a limit of how much you will drink in advance, so you can join in with a toast if you want to but still feel in control.
There is no shame in social anxiety. In fact, if you are open about it, you may meet likeminded people at an event. This can help to reduce your own anxieties if you know other people are feeling the same way. Lots of people suffer from anxieties and the more we share to normalise, the more support there is for others who are suffering.
Hypnotherapy for social anxiety
At my Harley Street hypnotherapy practice, I offer a bespoke and blended therapy solution to help clients with social anxiety. If you need support for your anxieties, then I provide a range of effective solutions to enhance your confidence and reduce your symptoms so that you feel back in control of your life.