Social Anxiety and Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or any other holiday)

When I look back at the many years that I dealt with social anxiety during the holidays (specifically, Thanksgiving) and how I dreaded the inevitable pressure to eat at the table with everyone else, I can actually say thank you to my old self.  Yes it was hard but look how far we’ve come.  Yes, it felt like I couldn’t do it but I made it through, year after year.  I used the discomfort as my motivator.  I would say, I have to work on this because I can’t live like this for the rest of my life.  It gets better.

(I feel like I repeat this often, but social anxiety is different from shyness.  I’ve dealt with both.  I am not 100% over my anxieties because a certain level of anxiety is simply just being human, but social anxiety is no longer a crippling factor for me. So I digress…) It gets better.

All those moments when I felt like I had embarrassed myself or looked stupid or didn’t say the right thing…now I can say, they are in the past and are not important.  So the way you are feeling now, it is real, it is hard, it is a mountain to climb – BUT it is okay, AND IT WON’T BE FOREVER.  This moment will pass and you can continue to get better little by little.

Find balance.  If you feel overwhelmed with the mere thought of Thanksgiving and socializing – the potlucks at work, the invites to the homes of friends and family, etc.; be sure to schedule time for self-care and time with those who you feel stress-free around.  Balance it out so you make time to regroup and recuperate. Challenge yourself to breathe and to relax your body when you are in those tense moments.  Practice taking a step back and slowing down to balance out the palpitating heart beats. If you know you get sweaty when you are nervous, dress to counteract that.  Instead of wearing a heavy piece, wear layers so you can remove some layers to let air in.  Carry a bottle of water in your purse, etc.  Be sure to take care of yourself.

You can’t snap out of it in one day, you can’t overcome it in one outing, you are a work in progress.  It is okay!!!!!  Just take care of yourself this Thanksgiving and be thankful to the trooper you are now because the future you will owe her success to how you came through today!

The you that you are now is part of the overall success story – so embrace yourself and love yourself because you are building your moxie!

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