Social anxiety is a common struggle for many people and the holidays do not make it any easier. Between work and family, this time of year always seems busy with festive gatherings which are tough for people with social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is the intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social situation.
Based off the Anxiety and Depression Association of America approximately 15 million Americans suffer from social anxiety. With this many people struggling with social anxiety disorder, let’s look at some possible ways to reduce social anxiety during this festive time of year.
Talk To Someone
Making a psychiatric appointment alone can be daunting, but keep in mind that they want to help you grow mentally and emotionally, not make you feel rejected or more uncomfortable. When speaking with your local psychiatrist you can learn stress reduction skills, identify the situations that are creating the social anxiety and role play some possible scenarios you may encounter during the holidays to gain a level comfortability should it arise.
Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
Alcohol is everywhere during the holidays and even though it seems helpful in social situations it can actually be quite damaging. Alcohol is a depressant and although it may provide temporary relief of some social anxiety symptoms, it leads to an increase in anxiety symptoms after just a few hours. Caffeinated beverages are another thing that is common year round but can be amplified during the holidays as many shops have seasonal specials. Caffeine is a stimulant and this can trigger our “fight or flight” response which can lead to exacerbated anxiety and even anxiety attacks. If you want a beverage try getting something non-alcoholic and caffeine free.
Stick To A Schedule
People are creatures of habit and a schedule reduces stress and anxiety of not knowing what’s next. Try to incorporate healthy activities into your routine. This includes things like getting exercise daily, eating healthy meals and getting consistent sleep. This can go for holiday gatherings as well, start with a time frame for attending the event and from there schedule out what you want to do during the party. This way you can be prepared for social interactions and reduce some social anxiety.
These are just a few things that can be practiced to help reduce social anxiety. Remember working through social anxiety is a long journey so stay patient, keep growing and get excited for the holidays not anxious.