How to overcome social anxiety during the festive season? In this blog, we will explore 13 steps that will help you cope with the festive anxiety and enjoy this time of the year in your way at your own pace.
It’s almost time for the festive season to knock on your door. But, for some people, it also brings along the nervousness and anxiety of mingling with others. Because they just like to stay in their shell irrespective of the occasion. They don’t like socializing too much.
Social anxiety in the festive season is as real as the joy and happiness of festivities. It is a genuine concern. While the holiday season is a time of celebration and togetherness, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety.
Also known as social phobia, social anxiety is a condition characterized by continuous fear of social situations. It is more than just feeling shy or introverted. It can be a draining condition that continuously affects your mind or body and impacts your everyday life.
Feeling anxious and nervous during the festivals is a common experience that can make it challenging to fully enjoy the festivities. Hence, it is important to understand what social anxiety is and how it can affect people during this time of the year.
The holiday stress can cause social anxiety. It can be triggered by various factors such as attending parties, family gatherings, or even shopping in crowded stores. In today’s blog, you will learn how to overcome social anxiety during the festive season by practicing 13 simple steps.
How to Overcome Social Anxiety? 13 Ways to Survive the Festive Frenzy
Though it’s the most beautiful time of the year, for some of us it is also the most anxious time of the year.
The social obligation to attend parties and talk to people you don’t see for the rest of the year can be a lot to deal with sometimes.
So before we dive into the main steps, let’s understand the triggers from where your anxiety can stem from.
3 Common triggers of social anxiety during festive times
The holiday season is filled with events and activities that can cause social anxiety. With so many people around you, it can be very easy to get triggered. Here are 3 major ways that can force your social anxiety to show up:
1. Attending Parties
For people with social anxiety, even the thought of being in a room full of people can feel too much. The obligation to engage in small talk or meet new people can be overwhelming.
The fear of being judged or scrutinized by strangers can make social interactions incredibly intimidating.
2. Family Gatherings
While spending time with your loved ones is enjoyable, it can also be a source of stress for people with social anxiety.
Meeting toxic family members and listening to all their negativity can make it difficult to go through an event without feeling uneasy and uncomfortable.
The pressure to meet expectations, the fear of saying the wrong thing, or being the center of attention can all contribute to heightened anxiety levels.
3. Festival Shopping
Most people love shopping for new things during the festivities. But, shopping during the holiday season can also be a trigger for social anxiety.
The crowded malls, long lines, busy shops, and bustling atmosphere can be overwhelming for people dealing with social anxiety.
The fear of being in public, interacting with strangers, or feeling rushed can also make shopping a daunting experience for some people.
How Does Social Anxiety Impact Your Mental Well-Being?
Social anxiety can have a significant impact on your mental well-being, especially during the holiday season.
On one hand, the constant worry and fear of social situations can lead to increased stress levels, feelings of isolation, and a decline in self-esteem. But, on the other hand, avoiding these social events can also contribute to a sense of missing out on the joys of the holiday season.
Social anxiety can even disrupt your sleep patterns and appetite. This can lead to physical discomfort and fatigue. The continuous thoughts of worrying about upcoming social events can also affect concentration and productivity in other areas of life.
So, what next? How do you choose between saving yourself from unwanted anxiety and enjoying the festivities?
How to overcome social anxiety when you wish to be out there and celebrate your favorite festival but not at the cost of your mental well-being?
How do I Overcome Festive Anxiety? 13 Steps to Help You
If you are like me, you enjoy your company the most. You have built a strong relationship with yourself and you don’t feel the need to be out there all the time.
You prioritize your plans and goals over any other thing. But you also enjoy celebrating your favorite festival with your loved ones. You keep your circle small and you don’t like unnecessary attention.
Even the thought of being in a social event surrounded by people outside your circle makes you uncomfortable.
If this is you, then here are 13 steps to help you learn how to overcome social anxiety during the festivities and make the most of your time:
Step 1: How to overcome social anxiety?
Recognize and acknowledge your social anxiety. Understand that it is a common feeling. Know that you’re not alone in this and that many people experience it, especially during festive seasons. Thus, it’s completely normal to feel this way.
Step 2: How to overcome social anxiety?
Challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs. Your social anxiety can stem from irrational thoughts and beliefs about yourself and others. You might be making up scenarios in your head that will never come true.
This happens to me all the time, especially before a social event. You must replace these negative thoughts with positive, realistic ones. I know this is easier said than done. But, you must learn to recognize your negative self-talk and affirm yourself with more positive and practical self-talk.
Step 3: How to overcome social anxiety?
Start small. Begin by attending small gatherings or events with close friends or family members. This will help you gradually build your confidence and comfort in social situations.
My festive season usually begins with a cousin’s gathering. Since we are the most comfortable with each other. It really helps to set the tone for the rest of the festive season for all of us.
Step 4: How to overcome social anxiety?
Plan and prepare. If you have a specific event or gathering to attend, prepare yourself in advance. Plan what you will wear, practice conversations, and have a few topics in mind to discuss.
That’s what I do when I am attending an event solely because my parents want me to join them. Instead of focusing on the overwhelming fake scenarios, I focus on things I love. For example; getting all dressed up in my favorite traditional attire.
Step 5: How to overcome social anxiety?
Deep breathing exercises. Practice deep breathing techniques to help calm your nerves and reduce anxiety. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
Step 6: How to overcome social anxiety?
Focus on the present moment. Instead of worrying about what others think of you, focus on being present in the moment. Because the past is gone and the future is a myth. All you have this moment, right here, right now. And, that’s all that should matter.
Engage in real and meaningful conversations. Listen actively, respond smartly, and enjoy the company of the people you love, the ones who truly matter.
Step 7: How to overcome social anxiety?
Face your fears. Gradually expose yourself to larger social settings. As you become more comfortable, challenge yourself by attending larger events and gatherings. Remember to take it one step at a time.
Big social events give me all the creeps thinking about how I’ll have to engage in unwanted small talk with strangers. The best way I handle such situations is to keep my mom closer to me. Especially during the family functions, you will either find me with my favorite cousins or with my mom.
Step 8: How to overcome social anxiety?
Seek support from loved ones. If socializing feels a lot to do, talk to trusted friends or family members about your social anxiety. I usually talk about such sensitive things with my cousin.
Since we are just a year apart in age, she relates to my thought process. This is why our talks really help in navigating these times. She reflects a sense of empathy towards my viewpoint of these times. This also provides encouragement, understanding, and support to make it through these social or family events, especially during the festive season.
Step 9: How to overcome social anxiety?
Practice self-care. Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, going for a walk, and getting enough sleep. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being will help you to reduce anxiety.
Step 10: How to overcome social anxiety?
Don’t overcommit. You must set clear boundaries for yourself and not overcommit to social engagements under any pressure.
Saying no to events or activities that feel overwhelming is a form of self-preservation. It’s literal self-care without any extra effort. You aren’t obliged to anybody to make it to every social event. Skip them if that’s what feels right to you.
Step 11: How to overcome social anxiety?
Seek professional help if needed. If social anxiety significantly impacts your daily life or if you feel overwhelmed, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in anxiety disorders.
Step 12: How to overcome social anxiety?
Avoid negative ways to cope. The holiday cheer also brings easy access to alcohol and other negative coping strategies. While you learn how to overcome social anxiety, refrain from giving into these negative coping strategies, mainly heavy drinking. Instead of helping, it will only lead to a bad mood and increased anxiety worsening the situation.
Excessive use of social media is another negative way to cope that adds to your social anxiety instead of lowering it. It adds to the unwanted comparison. Thus, make sure you don’t indulge in it and opt for other healthy ways to get through it as mentioned in this blog.
Step 13: How to overcome social anxiety?
Celebrate your progress. Recognize and celebrate every small win. Celebrate your achievements. Each step you take towards overcoming your social anxiety is a significant accomplishment. Be proud of your efforts and continue to challenge yourself in social situations.
These are the 13 steps in which you can learn how to overcome social anxiety during the festive season.
Now let’s consider some alternative ways for you to enjoy the festive season in your way and ditch those social events altogether.
Alternative ways to enjoy the festive season
While you learn how to overcome social anxiety during the festive season, don’t forget the alternatives. Everyone has different priorities. And if you don’t wish to step out for social events, you can choose different ways to enjoy the festivities.
You must remember that there are other ways to enjoy the holiday season without subjecting yourself to daunting social situations.
Engaging in emotional well-being activities that bring you joy and comfort. For example; watching holiday movies, baking, or taking walks in nature. My favorite is watching holiday movies, they truly keep the spirit of the festival alive even when I am all curled up in my bed away from unwanted noise and attention.
They help you by creating a sense of holiday spirit without the pressure of social interactions.
Exploring these alternative ways can be a valuable step towards finding a balance between managing social anxiety and embracing the festive season.
How to Overcome social anxiety through exposure and gradual steps?
One effective approach to overcoming social anxiety is through exposure and gradual steps.
This means you intentionally expose yourself to social situations that trigger anxiety, starting with small and manageable steps.
For example, attending a small gathering with close friends or practicing social skills with a trusted person can gradually build confidence and reduce anxiety levels.
With time, these small steps can lead to a greater sense of control and mastery over your social anxiety.
Embracing the holiday season and finding joy in small moments
Despite the challenges social anxiety may present, it is possible to embrace the holiday season and find joy in small moments.
The key is to focus on the positive aspects of the festivities, such as spending time with your loved ones or engaging in activities that bring personal fulfillment. This will help you shift the focus away from anxiety.
By focusing on the small moments of joy and practicing gratitude, people with social anxiety can create a more meaningful and fulfilling holiday experience.
Managing social anxiety during the holiday season is a journey that requires self-compassion, support, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone.
Learning how to overcome social anxiety is a process that requires you to accept yourself and gradually work towards improvement.
I hope these 13 steps will help you step out of your comfort zone and navigate through the holiday frenzy with greater ease.
You must also remember that social anxiety does not define you. You can still find joy in the small moments to make the holiday season a truly special time.
So, take a deep breath, embrace this time, and enjoy your favorite festival however you wish.