Social Anxiety and the Holiday Season
Updated: May 17
Part 2 of a series on stress during the holidays. To read Part 1, click here.
I can speak from firsthand experience that having social anxiety can be extremely difficult this time of year. Some days are better than others. Some scenarios are easier than others to get through. We talked with Kim Conway last week about working through the holiday season while coping with grief/loss, family issues, and over commitment.
But, today I wanted to share some of what Kim had to say about navigating holiday parties and social events while dealing with social anxiety. We’re not talking just dreading having to see a certain distant relative or the awkward forced conversations with a coworker you don’t get along with. We’re talking stop you in your tracks, panic attack inducing social anxiety.
We may be catching you late in the season. Maybe you’ve already had to work through some events on your own! But the tips in this article can help you at any time of year.
When I asked Kim what her #1 tip is for people with social anxiety she suggested, “Picking and choosing the things are the most important for you to do. Being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to say no to some things that are going to cause you distress.” We already talked in Part 1 of this series about the importance of not stretching yourself to thin.
But, I think we often forget that we truly don’t have to go to every event that we are invited to. Pick and choose which events are going to truly make you happy and feed your soul ( yes, corny but you know what I mean) . I think we’ve all been there, sitting through that obligatory event, just counting down the minutes for it to be over. Be selective! You won’t regret it. Instead you may end up finding some time to tackle items on that never ending to do list.
If you do decide to go forward with the event that’s causing you anxiety, you can implement some basic actions to help get you through the evening. Conway suggests using a dab of essential oils to relax. “Using some essential oils for anxiety in the moment. That can be really helpful in taking down the anxiety.” Conway recommends Mountain Rose Herbs for essential oils that are organic and high quality.
Another option for relaxing is doing a quick meditation on your phone before the event. Other alternative methods Conway recommends are acupuncture and Reiki.
“Acupuncture, Reiki preferably before the event so you can feel a little better during it (…) Reiki energy is working on someone for a period of time whether its hours or days or even longer,” said Conway.
Social anxiety is certainly something that needs to be worked through with a mental health practitioner. You don’t have to cope with it alone and if you have it, you’re certainly not alone either!
We’ll leave you with this; the holidays are over before you know it! Conway suggests looking past the holidays and making plans that you’ll look forward to in the New Year. Book that massage or manicure. Schedule that girl’s night out (or in) for January!
Missed Part 1? Click here to read!
Kim Conway is a Licensed Social Worker, Intuitive Practitioner and founder of A Centered Self in Andover, Massachusetts. If you are local check out the A Centered Self website for the range of services Kim offers at ACenteredSelf.net