With anxiety, going out with friends to parties or other events isn't as fun for you as it is for them. Worries about saying the right things or laughing enough interrupt your ability to enjoy your time out. Despite these, it is possible to enjoy yourself at holiday parties even when you feel anxious.
Why holiday parties are especially hard
The holidays bring a stigma that you're supposed to be full of joy at all times. There's also the myth that only introverts get anxious about parties. From added financial stress to more commitments, the holidays compound anxiety that is already there. According to Teledoc, 64% of people report a stress level increase around the holidays.
Ways to cope
There are specific things you can do before, during, and after a holiday party to get through it.
Plan ahead: Ask the host what to expect in the way of food, attire, and whether you need to bring anything. Brainstorm things to chat about so you won't get anxious about running out of things to say. And recruit a friend that knows about your anxiety to be by your side.
Get to the party earlier: While it may seem counterintuitive, it can mean avoiding walking into a room full of people you don't know. This way, you're already settled and ready to mingle.
Remember to breathe: Practice your breathing when you start to feel anxious. This is one of the best calming techniques there is. Step out for some fresh air if you need to.
Practice affirmations: Affirmations can go a long way to getting you back on track. Before the party, remind yourself you are anxiety-free and ready to mingle. After you leave, tell yourself how powerful you are for overcoming your anxiousness.
Set a goal: Before you get there, set a goal of how long you plan to stay. Be okay with sticking to this goal.
You have anxiety, it doesn't have you
As cliche as that sounds, it's true. Enjoying a holiday party is possible with anxiety. So dust off those dancing shoes and take these tips out for a spin.
If these tips aren't enough
If it takes more than do-it-yourself tips to get past your anxious feelings, seeking help can be the next step to enjoying a holiday party or two. To speak to a therapist that specializes in anxiety, go to sondermind.com today.