• How to Avoid Letdown After the Performance, Frank Healy, LPC

    Have you ever been in an activity where you gave it all you have and then felt disappointed, depressed or let down when it ended? It could be a show that you were in, a championship game if you were in sports, or maybe you were the organizer of the office holiday party, which kept you busy and excited for two months.

    In order to understand what I am speaking of, I have divided these types of events into three stages. Stage one is the preparation stage, the performance stage and then the aftermath.

    When you are in the preparation stage you prepare for the event. You can experience excitement, nervousness, anxiousness, determination and drive. Often, you devote so much time to practice and organizing your task at hand that other things in your life sometimes become neglected. However, it is during this stage that you have a sense of purpose in your life. For example, if you are in a show your purpose is to give everyone the best performance that you can. If it is a championship game you want to beat the opposition and bring honor to your school, town or family. Both the actor and the athlete look forward to the applause.

    However, you may also hear a voice in your head that keeps you company. The voice reminds you that it’s time to practice or that you need to improve something in your game or presentation. It guides you through the preparation phase and helps you to stay motivated. Anxiety and excitement are closely related emotions. Many actors and athletes have shared that when they were ready to take the field or the stage they felt nervous. This nervousness can come from fear of making a mistake, but it is also contained excitement that the big moment is imminent.

    During the actual performance stage whether this is participating in some game or event the performer often becomes ecstatic and energy is high. All sense of time goes away and the individual has no awareness of anything outside of what they are doing. It is a great feeling.

    After the performance, the performer continues to feel good for the rest of the day or night but for some, a moment of accomplishment and excitement can often feel like a letdown after the event is over and this can happen as early as the next morning. It is at this time that a person who one day previous was feeling upbeat, excited and accomplished, now all of a sudden feels dread and depression can take over. Newlywed brides have sometimes described a feeling of letdown after their wedding that has lasted from a week to several months, in some cases. For one day, all of the attention is focused on them and then it’s over. For performers, the goal has been obtained and now there is nothing to strive for and the voice inside one’s head is alive and keeping company and then there is nothing to look forward to anymore.

    What do you do to avoid the letdown? Well, hopefully, someone attended your event that was able to take pictures of you and afterwards it can be helpful to take the time and spend it with family and friends who supported you during the event. It can be a time to share pictures and reminisce. You may also want to include people that were involved in the event such as teammates or colleagues. If you do this often for the first few days you will find that you need to do it less as the days go by. Call old friends whom you may not have seen for a while, spend time with your family if you neglected them leading up to your event and do activities that make you feel good. You will realize that you have many ways to feel good and one event does not need to be your only source for validation.

    This article is a great recourse for people who perform in shows, play sports, or tend to get so involved in an activity that a blah feeling may seem inevitable once it is over. Some of what I spoke of are good practical tips for helping yourself to avoid the letdown. Most important though is to remember your hard work and what you were able to accomplish!

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