Nope, it’s not just you… Life can be overwhelming for all of us. Every day is a delicate balancing act between work, school, social life, competition and so much more. It’s only human for these things to affect us, and sometimes when they snowball they can lead to real problems. I experienced this personally, having had a lot of difficulty separating a life of competitive soccer with all the obstacles life was throwing at me. Things like feeling homesick in a new place, staring down a daunting exam looming on the horizon, or the dreaded fight with a friend or significant other inevitably affected my performance, and not for the better. It wasn’t just at game time either, even my practice suffered compounding the situation, building on the stress I already faced, creating a devastating cycle. I would be surprised if any of us couldn’t think of a time that we struggled to perform, and it didn’t remind us or make us more cognizant of other things we had going on, that’s human nature. But good news! Just because we live in a world fraught with distractions, there’s nothing that says we can’t learn to separate different aspects of our lives to find the balance if we use the proper tools.
One such tool that people often overlook when trying to find a balance is a good social support system, something important to understand and occasionally lean on. Often, people are hesitant to reach out to others for help or support, thinking incorrectly that it’s a sign of weakness. To the contrary, if you do reach out to someone, you may find yourself surprised at how much you have in common. They may have gone through something similar and be able to share some tips, offer advice, or just be a sympathetic ear because they understand how you are feeling. No matter the difficulties you are facing, you can rest assured that you are not the only one. Now that the Esports community is growing and being given a spotlight, we should be reaching out and helping one another better themselves; a rising tide raises all boats. If you aren’t comfortable reaching out to other members of the gaming community, friends and family are a great support system to rely on as well. While they may not have experiences directly akin to your own, there is a good chance they have been through something comparable, and just knowing they are there can be helpful. Talking with someone rather than bottling up or internalizing emotions can help prevent them from damaging performance, not just in gaming, but in all walks of life. Some even seek professional help if that is what is needed to help bring balance to their life.
We can also find our own ways to combat the tendency to succumb to these pitfalls. An important trick I picked up that worked for me while competing in collegiate soccer was the simple task of writing things down on a notecard. It may sound silly, but prior to practice or competition I would simply write down what was on my mind, whether something emotional or something I needed to remember to do afterwards. Leaving the note on my desk acted as a self-assurance that I would tackle those objectives after practice, allowing me to focus on the task at hand. My worries would be waiting to be picked up right where I left them but having been able to focus on my practice put me in a better mindset to handle the next task. Simply redirecting your focus can help bring balance between life and competition. If the notecard trick does not work, try planning your day the night before. Take a planner and write down all the tasks you need to do for the following day. It also helps to prioritize with the most difficult things first and then work down. Find what works for you, and you will see improvements in all facets of life!