Hey, guys! My name is Christine Marie Frey, also known as Christine XP. I am the founder of the new and growing youth mental health project and community, Brain XP, and I’m excited to collaborate with Discovery! You can learn more about Brain XP at the end of the video.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adjusting to new ways of gathering with our loved ones this holiday season, which can bring new anxieties to our lives. Today I will share some different tips on how you can cope with social anxiety at holiday Zoom gatherings. Let’s get started!

The first step to take that will help you overcome social anxiety at holiday Zoom gatherings is to familiarize yourself with the Zoom platform.

1. Practice using Zoom on your own.

You can download the Zoom platform to your laptop and/or phone and test out all of the features that Zoom offers.

2. Practice using Zoom with a friend or loved one.

This will help you understand how an actual Zoom meeting works—consider it a mock Zoom call.

3. Watch online tutorials about Zoom.

If you are unsure about how the features of Zoom work, you can watch tutorials online. There are many tutorials that can help you learn more about video chatting on Zoom, how to start and join Zoom meetings, and other fun features it offers!

After you are familiarized with the Zoom platform and you are ready to start attending holiday Zoom gatherings, there are some things to keep in mind that will help you cope with your social anxiety.

1. Choose whether or not you would like to use the video feature on Zoom.

If turning your camera on to video chat on Zoom bothers you or creates anxiety, simply keep your video option turned off and just use the audio feature.

2. Create a secret signal with another member at the gathering.

If you need a break or a moment to debrief, you can use your secret signal to let that member know you are okay and need a quick break.

3. Use the chat box to communicate.

If you are having trouble speaking during the Zoom meeting, you can use the chat box to message everyone in the gathering or you can message certain members at the gathering privately.

4. Schedule time to take breaks during the gathering.

If you know that you will need breaks throughout the gathering, go ahead and schedule them before you join. This way you can set a timeline for yourself, and the gathering won’t become overwhelming.

5. Set a pre-arranged time when you will join the meeting and when you will leave the meeting.

If you feel anxious when you are unsure of the length of time you will be at the gathering, set a time for when you will join and leave. This will help you feel in control of the situation.

6. Use fidget toys during the Zoom gathering.

Fidget toys are not obvious, and they can really help keep stress levels down.

Last thing to remember is communication is key. If you are able to communicate your anxieties and needs and be open with a trusted loved one, holiday Zoom gatherings will likely go much smoother.

So that’s it for this video! Again, I’m Christine XP from Brain XP (which stands for “Brain Expanded), and I’m proud to usher in a new movement that is helping change the language of mental health by focusing on positivity. Check out brainxp.org for tons of free resources, including a huge teen toolbox of coping skills, blogs, videos, music, and so much more. Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you in another video!

More from Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program