A group of friends gathering for the holiday season.

How to Relieve Social Anxiety During the Holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year but for those with anxiety, it can cause a lot of stress and discomfort. Below, we’ll talk about the coping methods that individuals with social anxiety can use to help them through social gatherings during the festive season. 

Why The Holidays Can Trigger Social Anxiety

Although it ‘tis the season to be jolly’, not everyone is going to feel like that - and that’s ok. For some people, the holiday season and the expectations around it can bring on waves of panic and anxiety. The endless Christmas parties along with an array of family gatherings can be difficult to manage and feel overwhelming. 

Social anxiety during the holidays impacts thousands each year. As a disorder, this form of anxiety makes it nearly impossible for those suffering from it to feel comfortable in communal situations such as parties. It is characterized by a feeling of intense fear that the individual will be criticized, humiliated or rejected for their words and actions. 

Common culprits of social anxiety around this time of year are office Christmas parties, having to eat in front of others, and those annual family gatherings. After all, nobody likes being put on the spot by their relatives having to answer the “Are you dating anyone?” questions. 

Best Coping Tips for Dealing with Social Anxiety

While the holidays can cause feelings of dread and trepidation, there are simple social anxiety management tips which you can use to help enjoy the holiday cheer this year. Let’s have a look at these below.

Plan Ahead

If you have anxiety, sometimes the worst part about going to holiday gatherings is thinking about them beforehand. This is when your mind can go into overdrive and imagine scenarios that may not even happen. 

However, with the right preparation you can remove that fear of the unknown. For example, if you are going to a holiday party at your office, think of some conversation starters. Asking others directed questions that encourage them to talk about their lives can help to take the focus off you. 

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Another great tip for managing social anxiety during the holidays is to learn relaxation techniques. Feeling anxious can bring with it many phsycial symptoms such as tight muscles, headaches and hyperventilation. Having these physcial sensations in the lead up to social events can make them harder.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed on the day of a family or friends gathering, practice these two relaxation techniques:

  • Deep breathing: When we feel anxious, our breathing rate becomes faster and we take shallow breaths. Deep breathing, on the other hand, helps you to focus on taking big breaths that fill your belly. By breathing into your stomach, you regulate your breathing rate and relax your nervous system. 
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Another way to relieve anxious tension in your body is through muscle relaxation. Start by tensing all the muscles in your feet and then relaxing them. As you repeat this while moving up your body, you’ll notice a decrease in your stress and tension levels. 
  • Repeating these techniques in the hours leading up to social gatherings can help you to feel more relaxed and control any tension in your body. 

    Offer To Help the Host

    One of the best ways to take your mind off anxious sensations is to preoccupy yourself. If you are at a family gathering, offer to help with the host by setting the dinner table or preparing the desserts. This can help you to avoid any unwanted conversations while also giving you a sense of involvement. 

    Those with social anxiety often feel tremendous pressure attending large gatherings. By volunteering to help the host, you can keep yourself busy in a way that feels right for you. 

    Get Support From a Friend or Family Member

    One of the worst things about social anxiety during the holidays is feeling like you are alone in how you feel. If you can, confide in a friend or family member that you trust and ask them to be your support system. For example, if you have a sibling or cousin that you’re very close with, signal to them when you are feeling overwhelmed and ask them to spend time with you away from the rest of the party. 

    Focus on What You Can Control

    Unfortunately, social anxiety involves a lot of “what-if” worries. Yet, in many cases, these worries never happen. Instead of thinking about the things that might happen, turn your focus to the things that you can control. 

    For example, you can make a game plan for identifying your anxiety triggers such as drinking too much alcohol. Or, you can also set boundaries for what kind of topics you don’t want to talk about such as work or dating. By putting your attention on what you can control, it will stop you worrying about what you can’t. 

    Benefits of a Deep Breathing Tool For Social Anxiety

    A deep breathing tool such as an anxiety necklace can be the perfect companion for people with social anxiety. These tools are discreet meaning that you can easily use it during a social gathering without anyone realizing. 

    The Beam Necklace was designed to reduce anxiety and stress by assisting in deep breathing practices. It’s split-path airflow design helps uers to regulate their breathing pattern and calm the nervous system. Ideal for stressful situations, many find just wearing it can give them the comfort that they need. 

    Browse our collection of anti-anxiety jewelry today and get ready for a cheer filled holiday season. 

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