Please wait, the site is loading...

Health

Have you got FOGO? How to cope with social anxiety at Christmas

by Maureen Rice
Have you got FOGO? How to cope with social anxiety at Christmas
Image: Getty Images

Find out how to alleviate the fear of going out this party season. 

Do you remember last year and the grimness of lockdown Christmas? ‘Next year’, we promised ourselves, ‘we’ll celebrate like never before to make up for it!’

But with concern over Omicrom, recent government figures suggest that our longing for lockdown to end has not been matched by our behaviour. Our daily contact levels are less than half of what they were before the pandemic, while research by Relate last year found that up to 40% of us were still feeling nervous about socialising.

Is it any wonder? Researchers at Cambridge University have found that levels of anxiety during the pandemic have increased overall. As Covid continues its spread, many of us also feel confused about what is and isn’t ‘normal’ or ‘safe’ behaviour. And after over a year of restricted contacts, it’s to be expected that we might feel rusty and awkward about new social encounters. So, how are we going to handle this year’s holiday season, with its hopeful flurry of get-togethers?  How do we reconnect without feeling overwhelmed or anxious?

Dr Lynne Henderson, author of The Shyness Workbook (Robinson, £16.99), says we should remember that we are not alone. ‘We’ve all been affected, and we all feel the same.’ For her, and for mindfulness coach Nina Stephenson-Camps, this return to socialising offers us a chance for more honest, authentic relationships. This means being truthful about how we feel, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, and choosing our socialising carefully. ‘Don’t go back to normal,’ says Nina, ‘go back to better than normal.’

How to reconnect this Christmas:

1. SET BOUNDARIES

Go at your own pace, and tell people what is and isn’t comfortable for you.

2. PRACTICE RADICAL HONESTY

Being honest and vulnerable transforms social relationships.

3. INSTANT CALMER

When you feel anxious, take a deep breath in, hold for a moment, then slowly release. Repeat three times.

4. DO IT DIFFERENTLY

If you are anxious about crowds or travel, suggest alternatives. Remember that you are not responsible for everyone else’s feelings.

5. EMBRACE THE RESET

Lockdown caused many of us to reassess our lives and relationships. Focus on the connections you really value and have the courage to release the people and things that no longer serve you.

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years