The party season can often put immense pressure on all of us. Whether you end up feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff you’ve got on, or you’re anxious about something in particular, festive anxiety is increasingly common. My OCD means I’m no stranger to anxiety during the party season, but mine mainly revolves around germs. However, with loads of social events to deal with, relatives to keep happy and shed loads of stuff to do, social anxiety is often very quick to creep in on top of that. So, how can you manage your anxiety during the festive season? Over the last few years I’ve come up with a few tips to make things easier, and I’m going to share them with you today…
Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself
It’s easier said than done, but don’t place too many expectations on yourself. While you don’t want to avoid everything, putting too much pressure on yourself to do it all will get you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. If the amount of social events you have to go to looks too daunting, look at where you can cut back. While family rules and such may prevent you from skipping things all together, see if there’s the option to make compromises. If you have to make an appearance at a family party or social event, make a deal with yourself that you’ll stay for at least an hour or two. After that if you feel you want to leave, you can. That way, you’re still keeping people happy by making an appearance, but you’re not committing to the whole evening. At the same time, if you get there and feel as though even an hour or two is too much, don’t punish yourself. At the very least, you’ve tried and that’s all that matters!
Get Ready with a Buddy
Does the thought of arriving at a party on your own instantly fills you with dread? Why not make arrangements to get ready or get a lift with someone else who’s attending? I’ve always found this is a great way to ease those pre-party nerves. If there’s someone at your work that you get along well with, suggesting you get ready together is a really good way to ease those nerves. It’s also a good way to bond with your colleagues too! Getting ready before a night out is always half the fun, so doing it with a friend is one way to get the excitement going nice and early and can be really helpful at easing those pre-party nerves. At the very least, if you’re not able to get ready together with a friend, arranging to get a lift or meet for a drink beforehand is another way to make the idea of arriving on your own a lot less daunting. In the past I’ve been anxious AF over Christmas parties and such, but getting ready with my best friends and having a few glasses of fizz in the process gets me feeling much more relaxed.
Take 5 if You Need It
Social events at Christmas can be intense, even if you don’t suffer with anxiety. So you shouldn’t feel ashamed or disappointed if you need to step away for 5 minutes. If you start feeling overwhelmed, pop outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air, or even nip to the loo for some peace and quiet. Just taking a few minutes to gather your thoughts can make a whole lot of difference. However, if you’re really struggling, why not practice some breathing exercises or some distraction techniques to calm your nerves? There’s plenty of simple techniques out there that can help to reduce your anxiety, and all you need is a few minutes to yourself. Check them out here.
Have a Plan in Place
Not knowing what’s going to happen is one thing that often gets my anxiety spiking. Knowing what’s happening when it comes down to the small details can make so much difference with my anxiety. I like to know what’s happening in terms of how I’m getting there and how I’m getting home for example. Once I’ve got these things sorted I feel much calmer.
Plan Your Outfit
While we’re on the topic of planning, getting your outfit sorted beforehand is another way to ease the pre-party anxiety. Put your outfit together a few nights before, and make sure you try it on. Have a couple of back-ups too just in case! The last thing you want is to have an outfit in mind but decide you hate it once you’ve got it all on. I don’t know about you, but my anxiety always lessens when I feel as though I look good. If I’m not particularly feeling very confident about how I look, I generally don’t feel great about the whole thing. Having a back up outfit or two has you covered if you suddenly have a change of mind. Plus, it will stop you stressing about finding something else while you’re running out of time!
Don’t Take the Banter to Heart
Social events combined with alcohol can often mean that people get a bit carried away when it comes to banter. I’m sure we’ve all been at a party where a relative or friend has said something as a joke. However, it’s ended up affecting us a little bit more than it should resulting in a little drunk cry in the toilet. This is a tricky one because letting something go over your head is easier said than done. However, just remember that in 90% of these situations, these things are meant as light hearted jokes. Even if they hurt like hell at the time. Just try your best to let it wash over you. Otherwise, if it really gets to you, perhaps wait to confront them about it when everyone’s sober!
How do you manage anxiety during the Christmas season? Let me know in the comments!