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Mingle Bells: Tips to Manage Social Anxiety During the Holidays


The holiday season is often a time of joy and celebration, but for those who experience social anxiety, it can also be a source of stress and discomfort. Social gatherings, family events, and office parties can trigger feelings of unease in many people However, with the right strategies, you can learn to manage your social anxiety and make the most of the festive season.


Preparation is Key

  • One of the most effective ways to manage social anxiety is through preparation. Before attending an event, make a plan. Identify potential triggers to anxiety symptoms, consider coping skills that you can use in the moment, and think about how you can use effective communication skills in social settings.

Practice Mindfulness

  • When you feel anxious, you may find yourself worrying about something you said a few minutes ago, or how you might approach a conversation later during the event. Try to remain present and in the moment, and focus on enjoying the festivities. This, along with other mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, can help you stay grounded and calm during social interactions.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

  • Social anxiety can sometimes stem from negative self-talk and irrational fears. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if they are based on facts or assumptions. More often than not, you will find that your worries are unfounded. When you recognize that these thoughts are unfounded, challenge and replace them with more adaptive thoughts.

Set Realistic Expectations

  • Try not to place unrealistic expectations on yourself. Recognize your strengths and limitations, and understand that it is realistic to make mistakes during social interactions. Accepting imperfection can help alleviate anxiety. It can also help someone else who may be feeling nervous to feel more comfortable, which can foster connection.

Seek Support

  • Share your concerns with a trusted friend or family member. They can provide emotional support before social gatherings, or even accompany you to social events. Knowing that you have someone in your corner can help reduce anxiety.

Exit Strategies

  • You do not have to suffer in any social situation if you feel it is too much for you to handle in the moment. Consider ways that you can excuse yourself for a few moments if you need to take some time alone. You can also develop a plan to leave the social situation completely if it becomes too overwhelming. Remember, you are in control of your boundaries.

Professional Help

  • If your social anxiety is severe and significantly impairs your life, consider seeking professional help. If you are already working with a mental health clinician, consider scheduling booster sessions in preparation for challenging social events.


You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!


Social anxiety during the holidays is a common struggle, and it is a challenge that can be overcome with the right strategies. By preparing, practicing mindfulness, challenging negative thoughts, and using adaptive coping skills during social situations, you can make the holiday season more enjoyable. Seek support from friends and family, set realistic expectations for yourself, and have exit strategies in place to affirm your boundaries and help manage anxiety. If needed, reach out to a mental health professional for additional support. With these tips, you can manage your social anxiety and fully embrace the holiday season with confidence and joy.


At Allen Psychotherapy Services, LLC I offer HIPAA compliant telehealth services focused on the treatment of anxiety, including social anxiety, for children, adolescents, and adults. For more information, please contact me today at drallen@drbriannaallen.com or at (561) 299-1447 for a FREE 30-minute consultation!


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