How to Survive the Holidays with Social Anxiety

christmasThe holidays are hectic. While some people do enjoy being extra busy, and more social than typical, those kinds of experiences are difficult for those who have social anxiety. One cannot simply opt-out of all social gatherings. Here are some tips to help people who have social anxiety survive the holidays.

WebMD says that social anxiety disorder is also called social phobia. They describe it as “an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.” A person with social anxiety disorder is afraid that he or she will make mistakes, look bad, be embarrassed or humiliated in front of others.

Sarah Fader wrote an article for Psychology Today about how she manages to deal with her social anxiety during the holiday season. Some of her advice might help you.

Parents who have social anxiety, and who must attend a large family party, might find comfort in their children. Sarah Fader suggests that you spend time playing with your kids at the party.

Sit on the floor with them and join in. Little kids are typically “in the moment” while entertaining themselves. It doesn’t occur to them to consider what the adults are doing. Little kids don’t usually care if the fun they are having looks weird to other people.

Parents with social anxiety may find a comfortable, welcoming, place with the kids. Another bonus is that the other parents who brought their kids to the family party might be thankful that there is an adult monitoring the children and keeping them safe.

Arlin Cuncic, a board-certified physician, put together a list of advice for people who have social anxiety and who are going to a party. You can find the full list on VeryWell. He suggests that you choose when to arrive at a party – and when to leave.

According to Arlin Cuncic, it is better for people who suffer from social anxiety to arrive at a party on time or a little early, rather than to be fashionably late. Doing so lets you meet guests as they arrive and gives you time to find a person you can feel comfortable talking with (before the place becomes too crowded and loud).

Before you arrive at the party, plan out when you want to leave. This technique allows you to have control over how long you have to be out of your comfort zone. Do a mental countdown to the time when you will be leaving the party – if that helps you cope.

Related Articles on Families.com:

* Diagnostic Criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

* Coping With Politics On Thanksgiving

* Recast Anxiety: Setting the Stage for Peaceful Scenes in Your Life