Sometimes at Chromatik we can't decide what we value more about the season of thanks: spending a night with great family and (better) food, or waiting in line for two hours for a 50%-off pea coat at Old Navy. After pillaging through the aisles at every department store in the universe, we noticed that a significant portion of our Black Friday warrior techniques could apply as performance anxiety remedies. Here's some of our Black Friday skills that you can utilzie to getting over those pre-recital jitters.
1. Visualize Success
Keep your eyes on the prize, whether it that "prize" means reaching the final bars at the end of the song or getting an incredible deal on running shoes at Footlocker. Having an end goal makes it easier to focus on the task at hand so you won't fixate on potentially fumbling. When we went into Kohl's we made sure we knew exactly what we wanted, which saved us from making critical Black Friday errors like throwing down 10 dollars on fleece (we live in LA, when will we need that?) or walking through the luggage section and completely forgetting about buying anything of substance to us. It also greatly increases your patience, which is highly necessary in the Black Friday universe filled with seas of human beings and long lines. Which brings us to the next point…
2. Remember to stay relaxed.
This sounds super lame (as if you can turn off anxiety with a switch). Although keeping calm does not come so easy to most people, you can perform different tasks to help push your body towards that relaxation mindset. Take deep breaths (I always go for breathing through one nostril at a time and alternating) or do yoga in preparation for these big tests of will. Finding habits to help calm your body helps as a performance anxiety remedy both while playing at a recital and shopping during Black Friday because silencing those nerves makes these tasks much more bearable. Don't be one of those basic black Friday shoppers that gets into a UFC match with a stranger over a toy for your child, take some deep breaths and maintain some composure before going into the heart of darkness of that shopping center or stage.
3. Practice as much as possible.
Putting yourself in as many performance situations as possible might be one of the best performance anxiety remedies out there; that way, going in front of an audience becomes a rote activity. In a similar manner, the best Black Friday shoppers are the most experienced. They know the layout of the store and they research the deals beforehand. The actual process of Black Friday shopping becomes less about the experience and more about the objective. You aren't worrying about where to find the best goods and you avoid making fatal errors purchasing even more unnecessary (of your already unnecessary) loot.
4. Learn to improvise
While practicing does help make the performance process less intimidating, you still need to figure out how to adapt to obstacles. You could have entered Target looking for a good deal on a TV but found an even better deal on a sound system. In the Black Friday world, it's always best to keep an open mind and spot out better deals. In a second scenario, where do you go when the object you want is sold out? Do you throw in the towel or throw all your money to something you could never possibly need? Dealing with performance anxiety works in the same way. It's a silly aphorism, but learn to expect the unexpected. As we mentioned previously in learning how to sight read, it's best to try and go through your practice rounds without stopping so you learn how to adjust a song after making a mistake.
5. Exercise and eat healthy foods.
This is probably a universal rule of thumb, but maintaining a healthy diet and exercising work well as performance anxiety remedies and as Black Friday shopping aids. How do you expect to be the first in line at the check out if you haven't built up that calf muscle? A balanced exercise regimen builds your endurance during the endless Black Friday shopping spree and increase your chances of finding successful deals. Likewise, what you put into your body affects your stress levels during a performance. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee or Monster before performing, since they only heighten your anxiety. Also, certain foods like walnuts and avocados are known to help decrease stress levels in the body. Instead of pounding red bulls and rolling up to the Wendy's drive-thru window, make yourself an avocado walnut salad with some green tea before venturing into the spotlight. Whether that spotlight is on the stage or focused on a discounted laptop depends on the person; either way, your body will thank you greatly.
Want more? Head to Chromatik for free sheet music and tutorials.