Christmas Party Survival Guide
Digital team's blog
Christmas is fast approaching and we’ve all most likely been bombarded with Christmas party event invites from each one of our social groups. For me and many others who suffer from mental illness, this time of year can become very difficult - with keeping up appearances and trying our hardest to get into the festive spirit, just surviving a Christmas party alone can spark up unwanted feelings of stress, anxiety, and paranoia.
It is important to remember that you are not alone and Christmas parties are generally awkward for everyone involved, but if you're finding yourself in a situation where the thought of attending a Christmas dinner/party is unbearable, then fear not; I have accumulated a Christmas Party Survival Guide that I hope you find helpful.
1. Arrive Early
To prevent attracting attention on arrival, turning up early is key and also a good way to warm up and get your mingle on before everyone else arrives. Arriving early also gives you a pass if you chose to leave early - which is always a plus and will hopefully make you feel less guilty about doing so.
2. You’ve Done Enough By Just Attending
Always remember, your Mental Health comes first; if you genuinely feel like you don’t want to be there, give yourself permission to leave and don’t feel bad about it! If I'm at an event I don't feel comfortable at, I always promise myself to stay at least 30 minutes before shooting off - this enables some time to settle, or have a change of mind if need be. In these situations where you decide to shoot off early, I'm sure the host(s) will most likely be more grateful that you came rather than not coming at all.
3. Bring A Friend
If you can, bring a friend - not only does this take the edge off things, but having someone around that you know will make you feel comfortable and will hopefully make the night go by quicker. If, for whatever reason you can’t bring a friend then arrange to meet one of the other guests beforehand - that way you’ll feel less alone at the party and arriving with someone is always better than arriving alone. If all else fails, my final advice would be to make a friend - find a fellow introvert and stick with them!
4. Be Prepared
Be prepared for the small talk and prep your ice-breakers, it’ll make the night less awkward and much easier for you to mingle. Remember not to put too much pressure on yourself when engaging in conversation, you’re not being tested or expected to have the perfect answer for everything. Don’t be put under the false impression that you need worldly knowledge or opinions on current politics - just keep it short and sweet, be honest and don’t forget your conversation prompters.
5. Take Time Out
If you’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed, take a break. Being around groups of people can be very overwhelming so I find going outside for some fresh air or even hiding in the toilet for a while (not to long!) always help gather my thoughts and give me a little re-charge to deal with human interaction again.
6. Remember, You’re Not The Only One
It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one suffering from the stress and anxiety at social events, but the more you open up, the more you start to realise these feelings are completely normal for everyone involved; it’s just how we deal with it or in some cases, how we cover it up. It is important to remember to stay present and conscious; focus on your thoughts and your breathing - even if it looks like everyone is having a great time, remember not to compare your inside to their outside!
Christmas is a cheerful time and should be spent accordingly, you do not owe anyone the compromisation of your health - treat your Mental Health as a priority and remember, you don’t have to accept every invite, chose the ones you’d be most comfortable with, and feel free to leave on your own account. This Christmas, be mindful, and be happy!
To read more about mental health from Janet, you can take a look at her blog and Facebook page. Or follow her on Twitter and Instagram for regular updates.