If the thought of an office Christmas party fills you with dread then you need a plan to get through unscathed. Here are five ways to deal with party anxiety
It’s that time of year when those who love to mix are in their element and those of us who like to spend time alone start feeling a little anxious. While it goes without saying that you should never do something you don’t want to do, sometimes family and work obligations render your control a little lax. So, what can you do if you’re anxious in large groups of people but want to socialize or know you need to make an appearance at an office party? Develop a strategy to deal with party anxiety. Or let us suggest one.
Think about when you’ll arrive and what time you’ll leave. Think about what you’ll wear, how you’ll get there and what gifts you’ll bring if that’s needed. By taking back some control of the night, you’ll start to feel a little less anxious.
Talk to a friend
If you can, confide in a friend or colleague that you’re feeling a little anxious about an upcoming event and ask them to meet you beforehand for a drink. To travel together or even to make sure and keep you a seat. Knowing somebody is keeping an eye out for you always helps.
Choose your people
If there’s one colleague or one friend who sets you on edge, think ahead of time how you can avoid them. While it’s always important to be flexible and allow plans to bend, deciding that if you see X approach you’ll turn and talk to Y is a strategy to help you enjoy your night out.
Find things to do
We know that alcohol can make anxiety worse, so instead of finding solace in a glass of mulled wine why not find something else to do? Maybe there’s board games taking place somewhere else? Or, if it’s a family party why not bring some along. If you know that there’s an activity planned it takes away the pressure of making small talk. Especially with people you don’t know that well.
Learn your triggers
Knowledge is power and knowing what’s likely to make you anxious or recognising the signs that an anxiety attack is imminent can make all the difference. If you find yourself feeling anxious while at the party take time out. Go and find a quiet corner or an outdoor area and take time to refocus on your breath.