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What is Social Anxiety? And how to cope with it during the holiday season

Does the festive season with its staff parties and Christmas meetups and meals leave you feeling anxious? Do you find yourself dreading or wanting to avoid social occasions and crowds? 


Perhaps you are experiencing social anxiety.


What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety, or social phobia, is a common pain point and struggle for many people.


It is caused by an intense fear of being judged or rejected within a social context. This could be in a situation where you do not know anyone, for example. This feeling makes many not want to go out or talk to anyone, that they would rather stay at home alone or with loved ones where they feel safest. By doing this, you avoid a variety of different social events which would normally bring joy and fun.


Social anxiety can lead to isolation and reduced confidence, with many feeling it is only them who are feeling this way. 


4 Tips for helping social anxiety

The holiday or festive season brings about many situations which could cause social anxiety symptoms to take hold, causing you to dread events or miss out on them entirely.


Here are our 4 tips for coping with social anxiety during the holiday season.


1. Go out and face your fears – it is never as bad as you think

Many find that when they are placed in a social situation which makes them anxious, distracting themselves from others with their mobile phones is the best course of action.


This only avoids addressing the situation. 


While it may feel scary at first, by facing the situation gradually you will improve your symptoms. The more you face your fears and realise that the worries you have about socialising do not unfold, the more comfortable in those situations you will become.


2. Do not drink too much alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most popular coping mechanisms for those suffering from social anxiety as it ‘dulls’ many of the symptoms. The first glass or two may appear to help with those feelings of anxiety, but drinking too much will make those symptoms worse.


3. Do something nice for someone

A fantastic way to take the worrying edge of a social situation is to distract yourself from those worries. However, rather than using your mobile phone or social media as mentioned previously, do something nice for someone else, such as give them a present, a hug, or another act of kindness. Kindness is proven to have a positive effect on moods by promoting positive perfections of a social environment.



4. Make a schedule and stick to it

We are creatures of habit and work well with plans. A great way to reduce anxiety symptoms is to know exactly what is coming next. If you are planning to attend an event, create a timeframe for the evening. What time you will be arriving? What is the plan for the rest of the event whilst you are there? This gives you control of your time and will help ease your symptoms.