24/7 Hotlines: Call or text 988 or text 741741

Conquering Holiday Social Anxiety: Your Comprehensive Guide

Social anxiety can be a formidable adversary during the holiday season. With an influx of social gatherings, increased expectations, and the general chaos of this time of year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

This comprehensive guide is here to arm you with practical strategies and tips to navigate through the holiday season with confidence and joy.

Understanding Social Anxiety

Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is more than shyness or a fear of public speaking. It’s a persistent fear of being observed, judged, or scrutinized by others, causing significant distress and impairing one’s ability to function in social situations.

Common Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety symptoms can be psychological and physical, varying from person to person.

Common psychological symptoms include:

  • Fear of interacting with strangers
  • Worry about others noticing your anxiety
  • Fear of physical symptoms like blushing or a shaky voice
  • Avoidance of situations where you fear embarrassment
  • Anticipation of the worst outcome in social cases.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate

A person with social anxiety may experience some or all of these symptoms, and their intensity can fluctuate based on the situation. Understanding your specific triggers and reactions can help you develop strategies to manage your anxiety.

The Impact of Holidays on Social Anxiety

The holiday season is often a time of increased social activity, which can exacerbate social anxiety symptoms. The pressure to attend large social gatherings, navigate unfamiliar social situations, and handle potential triggers can make the holidays less cheerful.

Moreover, with the COVID-19 pandemic in recent memory, many people are finding it challenging to reintegrate into social situations after extended periods of isolation. The sudden return to large gatherings and parties can trigger a spike in social anxiety symptoms.

10 Strategies to Manage Social Anxiety during the Holidays

While social anxiety can be daunting, especially during the holiday season, you can use proven strategies to manage your symptoms and enjoy the festivities. Here’s a roundup of 10 practical strategies to help you conquer holiday social anxiety.

1. Educate Yourself About Your Social Anxiety

Understanding your social anxiety is the first step towards managing it. Familiarize yourself with your specific triggers and reactions, recognize the physical and psychological symptoms, and understand how they impact your daily life.

2. Define Your Boundaries

Having clear boundaries is crucial when managing social anxiety. You don’t need to accept every invitation that comes your way. Determine which events are important to you and only commit to those.

3. Bring a Trusted Friend

Having a trusted friend or “wing(wo)man” at social events can help you feel more comfortable and less anxious. They can facilitate conversations and provide a sense of familiarity and security.

4. Request a Task

If bringing a friend is not an option, ask the host if there’s something you can do to help during the event. This can give you something to focus on, reduce feelings of being observed, and provide opportunities for easy conversation.

5. Prepare Conversation Starters

Having a few conversation starters up your sleeve can help alleviate the stress of making small talk. Think of neutral topics or current events that you can discuss.

6. Take Breaks

If you start to feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to take a break. Step outside for fresh air, take a quiet moment alone or engage in a brief mindfulness exercise to help you re-center.

7. Be Honest About Your Feelings

It’s okay to acknowledge your social anxiety. If you feel comfortable, let others know that you’re feeling anxious. More often than not, people are understanding and supportive.

The holiday season can be a challenging time for individuals with social anxiety. However, you can navigate the holiday season confidently and grace by understanding your triggers, setting boundaries, and employing effective coping strategies. Remember, asking for help and caring for your mental health is okay. After all, the holiday season is all about joy, peace, and well-being.

Written by Sarah Edwards, Project Associate of TPCT.  Want to get to know me? Say hi! https://liinks.co/setapartcompany

Disclaimer: Sarah Edwards is not a certified or licensed mental health professional—instead, someone sharing real-life experiences and findings for others to find commonality and seek actionable steps.


National Institute of Mental Health – Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness

New York Times – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Social Anxiety

Envision Wellness – 7 Ways to Manage Social Anxiety During the Holidays

Sharecare – How to Survive the Holidays When You Have Social Anxiety

How To Make Your Own Positivity Jar!

I made my first positivity jar when I was in an IOP (intensive outpatient program) for my anxiety and depression.

I wrote all of my favorite quotes at the time on my pieces of paper and now whenever I’m feeling down, I will open my jar and read one of the quotes that meant something to me.

Make your own jar to give yourself some positivity when you need it!

How To Make

Making a positivity jar is pretty simple and totally worth it! You don’t need much in terms of materials either. You probably already have everything you need on-hand!

Step 1: Get a Jar

This can be any old jar. Mine is in a mason jar, but you can use any old jar or container you have lying around! You can decorate the jar with stickers, vinyl, or glass markers. We used glass markers for ours in IOP, but if I were to decorate the one I just made, I would use vinyl because I have a Cricut!

my jar from IOP

Step 2: Prep Some Paper

You can use regular printer paper, or you can get some fun colored paper! Cut the paper into small enough pieces to fit nicely in your jar, but big enough to write on.

Step 3: Write Quotes

Lastly, you will write your favorite quotes, sayings, and encouraging words on the pieces of paper! This part can be time consuming, but it’s also a lot of fun! I spent so much time sifting through inspirational quotes to put into my first jar.

If you’re looking for some quote ideas, here are some that I included in mine:

  • Fall in love with being alive
  • Instead of thinking about saving your whole life, think about adding additional good things. Just let your pile of good things grow.
  • Darling for you to be this sad, you must’ve once felt so happy, and you will find that feeling again, and it will be beautiful.
  • Be grateful for the opportunity to experience each day.
  • I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.
  • Water your roots, so your soul can blossom.
  • Be a better you for you.
  • The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.
  • Stay close to anything that makes you glad you’re alive.
  • A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

Video Walk-Through


How to make your own positivity jar! ##mentalhealth ##mentalhealthmatters ##positivityjar ##mentalhealthcrafts ##fypシ

♬ Creative(1018683) – TimTaj

How Music Has Helped Me In My Recovery

Post written by Kailey MarcAurele

Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.

Elton John

Music has always been a huge part of my life. From listening to music, to playing instruments, music has always been there for me.

I am the kind of person who ALWAYS has headphones on me. When I was in school, there were times when having music playing throughout the day was the only way I made it through the day. It’s crazy how music can make you feel so many things.

Music can make you feel happy, but it can also make you feel sad. Music can bring people together. Lyrics can literally validate your feelings.

There are so many songs where I listen to the lyrics and I’m just like holy shit, that is me, that is my life. The music these artists create come from their own struggles and music is a way for them to express themselves.

You don’t have to create music to feel the effects. Scream singing these songs can be cathartic. Listening to them can also put you at ease, even if they’re not the most uplifting songs because they make you feel understood. And because not everything is about being emo, some of these songs can make you happy and make you want to dance!

Music can be extremely beneficial for your mental health. Music can:

  • Elevate your mood and motivation
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve focus
  • Help you relax
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Boost confidence

Additionally, music can be a good way to express negative emotions in a healthy way. Music is an incredible vehicle to help us process negative emotion. Listening to “angry” music can be therapeutic when we’re dealing with stress and anger.

There have been so many times where I’ve been angry or upset and I’ve went and listened to “angry” music and it’s actually made me feel better. And when I say angry music, I do in fact mean the kind where they’re screaming. While some people might not find the screaming music comforting at all, I find comfort in it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pissed off and I’ve just gotten in my car, put on something like Sticks & Bricks by A Day To Remember and just drove to blow off steam. Being alone in my car driving with my music has always been my happy place. What’s better than being in complete control and away from everyone? Maybe that’s just the introvert in me.

A couple of months ago, I was in a very, very deep depression. Like I was in a very dark place, barely functioning, not really taking care of myself at all. I was pretty much sitting on the couch staring at the wall all day too depressed to move or do anything.

You know how I was coping then? MUSIC! I had my Machine Gun Kelly playlist on repeat because I was just being super emo. If you’ve ever listened to MGK, you’ll know what I mean. Even though the music was super depressing, it was still helpful because I was really able to connect with it and feel a little less alone.

While listening to music has been super beneficial for me, playing instruments has also been such a huge coping skill for me. I have been playing piano and the guitar since probably middle school and more recently, I’ve learned to play the ukulele (really hoping to learn to play the banjo next).

Whenever I was dealing with really intense emotions, playing piano was always my go-to. I remember my dad once telling someone that he always knew when I had a tough day because I would immediately go to the piano and start playing, sometimes for hours.

There’s just something so calming about playing the piano to me. The fact that I am able to make beautiful sounding music with my hands is really just so amazing to me. Like it really never fails to amaze me. And it’s just so incredible because my fingers always just seem to know where to go, it’s like I’m one with the piano when I’m playing. There’s seriously no better feeling than my fingers gliding across the keys creating beautiful music.


Music really helps me ease my anxiety. It’s a nice escape from reality for me. How does music help you? ##mentalhealth ##music ##anxiety ##peersupport

♬ original sound – turningpointct

While I do love the piano, playing guitar and singing is another way I like to decompress. Guitar doesn’t come as natural to me as the piano does, but it was something I’ve always been into because my grandfather used to play guitar in a band. He taught me to play when I was just a kid.

I think singing is really beneficial for me because it’s a way for me to physically release emotions. While playing the instruments also does that, it’s just an added thing because the words are coming from my own body. Even if my singing isn’t that great, the feeling of singing is intense and cathartic. Honestly, sometimes I’m like close to tears when I sing because I feel the emotions that strongly. PS, crying isn’t a bad thing, it’s a healthy way to release those negative emotions you try so desperately to keep in.


music has the ability to change my entire mood. what does music do for you? ##copingskills ##music ##mentalhealth ##mentalhealthmatters ##fypシ

♬ original sound – turningpointct

Music is really quite an amazing thing and it has been there for me through the ups and downs that is life.

How has music helped you?

“Learning to Cope When Things Get Tough”

A workshop made by/for young people in CT

COVID has been tough on all of us. A lot of people are experiencing difficulty coping for the first time and it has made pre-existing mental health conditions even harder to deal with. Your peers at TurningPointCT recognize this struggle and wanted to put together a workshop, accessible to anyone (whether you have a diagnosis or not), about how we’ve learned to cope when things get tough and to give you some tips for how you can cope too!

  • LIVE EVENT ON ZOOM / FB LIVE: July 1, 2021 2:00pm-3:30pm
    • (Can’t make the event? Don’t worry! We’ll be posting a recording right here in the media room afterwards!)
    • RSVP HERE for the Zoom link and more info.
  • LIVE EVENT ON ZOOM / FB LIVE: July 29, 2021 3:00pm-4:30pm
    • (Can’t make the event? Don’t worry! We’ll be posting a recording right here in the media room afterwards!)
    • RSVP HERE for the Zoom link and more info.
  • LIVE EVENT ON ZOOM / FB LIVE: August 18, 2021 11:00am-12:30pm
    • (Can’t make the event? Don’t worry! We’ll be posting a recording right here in the media room afterwards!)
    • RSVP HERE for the Zoom link and more info.


  • TurningPointCT staff members, Kailey & Ella, who are young adults with lived experience of what it’s like to struggle share what they do to cope when life gets hard to deal with!
  • Learn about Kailey & Ella’s recovery story, real grounding & coping skills, and how to make a Crisis Box.
  • Interact with the presenters and get your questions answered by peers who get it.

Interested in attending? RSVP HERE for the Zoom link and more info.

Want Kailey & Ella to hold a live workshop for your organization or school? Email Ella (emoore@positivedirections.org )