Solving Social Anxiety at the End of the Year

journal mindfulness Dec 19, 2023

Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and the time in between are sold to us as a beautiful time, but in reality it can cause a lot of social anxiety for some of us. There are Christmas parties to attend with friends or co-workers, there are family get-togethers, dinners with the inlaws, and catch-ups with old friends. 

For some people, this is the best time of the year and for some of us, it causes stress. I’ve experienced more and more social anxiety as I’ve gotten older. Even with close friends and family. I’ll come out of dinners believing that I said or did stupid things. I will wonder if they will still like me. Or I’ll be in the moment, stressed because I don’t know if I’m doing ok with my social skills. 

Writing it out makes it all sound a little silly, but it’s just how the brain works sometimes and I know I am not the only one. So how do we solve this?

Number 1: Remind yourself how hyper-focused we are on ourselves. We replay everything that WE did or said in our minds. We wonder about OUR behavior. Etc. Chances are very high that the people you were with think the same. So they will probably not be thinking about what you did or said but what they did or said.

Number 2: Remember that it is a two-way street. This is especially important if you are a people pleaser like I am. It doesn’t always have to be about if others like you. Ask yourself what you think of them. What was their behavior like? Did they put in an effort? Did they make you feel comfortable? Did YOU have fun?

Number 3: Practice self-acceptance. Ask yourself if you are okay with who you are. Are you happy with your behavior and how you treated others? Are you being true to yourself and what you believe in? Are you sticking to your values?

If this is not the case, you might want to do some work. Write down what you want to change. 

Example 1: If you feel like you didn’t stick to your values, maybe it’s time to refresh your mind about what they are. I think writing them down, especially using pen and paper, will remind you what’s important to you and what you can change to make sure you are living by these values. Pick 3 to 5. This might also be a good time to think about who you are spending most of your time with. Do these people share your values?

Example 2: Did you talk badly about someone else who wasn’t present and feel hungover about it the next day? Or you might even be worried that the person will find out you said these things. If you are reflecting on this you are on the right path. Think of ways you can catch yourself in the moment. Maybe a partner can help you and give you a secret sign. Figure out what might be triggering you. Maybe something particular happened that day. Is it a possibility to journal about it before meeting others to get it out of your system?

Finally, if you ever truly don’t want to go somewhere or be with certain people, allow yourself the freedom to cancel. You are not lying if you say you are busy so that you can get out of an event. You will be busy taking care of yourself and your mental health. And we must put ourselves first to enable us to be there for others.


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