If you have social anxiety the holidays can be the most stressful time of the year. Holiday parties can cause high levels of anxiety. While many of us think of the delicious food, the time with friends and family, and the presents, people with social anxiety are worrying about how handle it. We have got you covered! Here are 4 tips for managing your social anxiety at a holiday party (or any party):
1. Prepare yourself
Decide what you want to wear, if you will eat beforehand and anything else that may increase your anxiety before the party. Planning ahead of time will help you feel more relaxed when actually going to the party.
2. Prepare a few conversation starters
Will there be food at the party, if so it’s a great way to start talking to a stranger. Try opening with “Have you tried this food?" and continue the conversation by introducing yourself. Once you have a strategy for talking to new people you will find you are less worried about having no one to talk to. Being prepared is a great way to manage social anxiety.
3. Bring a friend/date
This will only work if it’s acceptable for the party, but if you are invited with a +1 use it! It doesn’t have to be a significant other, bring a friend who will help you feel more secure. Your friends or a significant other will be able to tell if your anxiety is becoming overwhelming and get you out of that situation.
4. Set a time limit and exit strategy
Setting an end time for the party in your head can help it seem more manageable if you have social anxiety. If you are having a great time, no need to leave but by setting an end time you will avoid mentally exhausting yourself.