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Pageant Prep: Managing Stress and Distractions in the Final Countdown

We are right in the middle of state pageant season! If you're new here - that means that the local pageants are complete, titles have been awarded, and women across the country are in their final countdown to step on their state pageant stage and vie for their chance to represent their state at Miss America or Miss USA.

This weekend was a big one for state orientations and spring meetings across the country where all of the girls get together and size each other up while also spending quality time with each other - a weird act to balance, but somehow it works in the pageant world.

I've been stalking everyone on social media to see what everyone's wearing, any new info or intel that's being released, and making note of competition orders as I start to make my picks as the competitions get closer.

Orientation doesn't just mean that you pick your competition number and finally learn what the opening production song will be, it also means that the countdown to the competition is REAL and you're literally sitting in a room with all of your competitors as the heat gets turned up a couple of degrees with final reminders from the board, the current Miss State, and the glaring to-do list in your head of things that still need to get done before you move in.

It's safe to say that this is the time when stress gets more intense and distractions can be the ultimate pitfall. I've been around this block more than a few times, so I feel qualified to give you a few tips to manage the stress and distractions in the final countdown to the crown to help you be at your BEST by the time you move in for the pageant.

1. Mute your competition. Back in MY day... there wasn't a mute option and I straight up unfollowed everyone. I told my friends that it was nothing against them, and I would just get in my head when I saw their posts and go down a rabbit hole of comparison. But now there's this handy social media feature where you can just "mute" accounts and they'll never be the wiser, and you don't have to see your competitor's posts in your feed. Problem solved!

4. Make a to-do list, and stick to it. Start today and map out every single thing you need to get done before you move in for the competition. Assign dates to things (and call to make appointments) for your nails, hair, tan, final alterations, etc. Also do some backward planning for how long packing will take, final prep sessions with your team, and anything else that needs to get done before that last day. I find that making a plan like this removes some of the unknown and stress of when things will get done because there's a structure, a calendar, and a pretty strict deadline.

3. Stay in the gym. I don't say this because you need to lose weight, or make a final push to fit into a dress - that's not a healthy mindset for anybody. I say this because if you've made going to the gym (or any physical activity) part of your routine, it's going to serve you best mentally to stick to that routine and keep fueling your body and your brain with the good endorphins and healthy choices that you've built. Don't cut out sessions because of the to-do list mentioned above if physical activity is good for you and your brain. Make time to take care of your body and your mind - even a little bit each day - and keep the pace without exhausting yourself.

4. Plan your come-down. I know we all have a plan for what we're going to do if (when) we win, right? But do you have a plan for if you don't? That's major. Take some personal inventory and assess the very real situation that a judging panel outside of your control doesn't make the decision that ends up in your favor and make a plan for if you come back home. Take this one step further and communicate the plan with your close friends, family, and director. It can be really difficult for your close circle to know how to care for you in the come-down after the pageant, so even if it's not 100% spot on, give them a blueprint of when you may want to talk about things, if you want to isolate or have their help to distract you, and how to care for you if this is the outcome that occurs.

5. Disconnect. I know that sounds a little controversial when you feel like you're supposed to be posting and doing all the things in these final weeks, but make sure you also take breaks and disconnect. It's easy to get caught up in the pageant world and forget to take time for yourself. Try to set aside some time each day to disconnect from social media, emails, and texts, and do something that makes you happy or relaxed. Whether it's reading a book, taking a walk, or spending time with friends, make sure to prioritize self-care and give yourself some much-needed downtime before you head into pageant week. It will help you recharge and come back to your to-do list with a clear head and renewed energy.

At the end of the day - you know you best. And you know what you need in these final weeks. These are tips that helped me manage these last few weeks when things felt overwhelming. Breaking it down into a list, and then a schedule, and then scheduling time in to keep my routine and also give myself breaks was HUGE to keep my mental game strong.

Keep checking in with yourself as the countdown keeps ticking and take that mental inventory of what YOU need and communicate that to your team and your circle so that we know how to best support you in these moments, too.

We're all rooting for you - you got this, queen 🤍


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