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

The New York Times recently spoke with psychiatrist Itai Danovitch, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, about strategies for dealing with social anxiety while navigating holiday gatherings this year.

As COVID-19-related restrictions loosen and vaccination rates climb, holiday celebrations are making a comeback this season. But many people feel out of practice after a year without large get-togethers.

That discomfort is to be expected, according to the Times, which recommended coping strategies such as committing to fewer holiday events, taking breaks during gatherings, and planning to call a friend afterward to de-brief.

Other coping mechanisms suggested by Danovitch include taking time before an event to think over areas of concern, which will vary from person to person, and speaking with the event's host about those concerns early on. Having a conversation ahead of time can help determine whether or not each gathering will be a good fit.

Danovitch told the Times that it is common to be nervous before coming into a social setting, "but if you find that your anxiety is distressing and disproportionate and interferes with your daily living, and is preventing you from doing things that you would otherwise be doing, then that impact on function is an indicator that there’s a problem."

Anxiety that is persistent and recurs in multiple settings is a possible sign of anxiety disorder and should be evaluated by a medical professional, Danovitch said.

Click here to read the complete article from The New York Times.