Christmas time can be a challenge for sufferers of social anxiety, with the pressure to be festive and to socialise, it can be the most stressful time of the year. Those suffering with social anxiety can obsess about such issues until they prove debilitating. It is estimated that social anxiety disorder affects up to 10% of the UK's population. The NICE guidelines describe it as the "persistent fear of or anxiety about one or more social or performance situations that is out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the situation”. Most individuals struggle with their supposed social inadequacies. Alongside; paranoia, lack of confidence and low self-esteem.
If you go to the party (you are amazing and brave if you do!) here are some tips to help you through.
· Plan ahead; set a time you would like to go and like to leave by. Make sure you will feel comfortable for this duration. Stick to your exit plan.
· Limit alcohol; I know one of the easiest things to do is turn to booze, masking some of the feelings and giving yourself some Dutch courage. However, this is not going to be the most helpful. There is a strong correlation between anxiety and alcoholism. It may also perpetuate the anxiety in the future. · Plan on what you would like to talk to people about at the party. Think of topics and conversations that you enjoy and how you could integrate them in. Ask questions, most people love to talk about themselves so see if you can ask questions that may give you a common ground; sport, studies, music. Maybe avoid politics!
· Look out for those on their own; find someone who may be on their own or broken away from the group. Most people will be delighted that they have been approached and will engage in chat.
· Be kind to yourself; you are fab that you have gone in the first place. Tell yourself that! You deserve praise and admiration! Show it to yourself. Repeat after me; ‘I am amazing and brave. I am enough’.