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Dear Katie: I’m struggling with a lot of pressure and I keep comparing myself

Dear Katie: I’m struggling with a lot of pressure and I keep comparing myself

Katie Harrington

Dear Katie,
I’m in first year and I recently tried out for a team and got in . Now that I’m in I’m seriously reconsidering my actions. Partially because of my anxiety. I am the captain, but I do extremely bad under pressure and always end up losing my matches because of the pressure on myself.
We are starting matches in less than a month and I don’t think I can pull out now. Our school has won the league the last four years in a row so we have very high expectations.
There’s also a lot going on at home. I live with my older sisters (23) and (18) and they’re both really smart. I feel under pressure all the time because they are so perfect and I’m not smart or anything. One of my sisters is unreal at Irish dancing and the other sister won the All Ireland in hockey.
I have no talent and I’m beginning to lose interest in my hobbies. I quit Irish dancing, GAA and basketball. I’m losing interest in the sport and I’m really stressed and under pressure.
Dear Reader,
First of all, congratulations on making it onto the team! I know it might not feel like it but that is a huge achievement in itself.
Try not to put so much pressure on yourself. Similar to myself, you’re probably a bit of a perfectionist, so your harshest critic is yourself. Stop doubting if you’re good enough to be on the team because you would not have been picked for the team and chosen for captain if your coaches didn’t think that you’re extremely talented.
I know as captain you might feel like it’s solely your responsibility whether you win or lose but it’s a team effort. Try having a chat with your teammates or coach about how you’re feeling and see if everyone can work as more of a team. I think your anxiety stems from the amount of pressure you put on yourself but no person alone is responsible for a team winning or losing a game. Try having a more positive outlook before playing a game because if you have it in your head that you’re going to play badly then that’s all that you will be thinking about during the game.
I have two sisters as well and the most amazing thing is we all look really alike, but our personalities are completely different. Even though you share the same genes and DNA, it doesn’t mean you’re the same, nor should you be because it would be no fun if everyone was the exact same as their siblings. Nobody is perfect and you’re only putting more pressure on yourself by comparing yourself to your sisters. You might not realise it now, but they’re probably struggling with their own problems too. Maybe try talking to your sisters about how you’re feeling because they might be able to help.
If you feel like you’re beginning to lose interest in your hobbies, don’t worry because this is completely normal. You’re growing up and changing so the activities you enjoyed as a kid may not suit you anymore. My advice is to try out some new hobbies and see if you find something you enjoy instead. This should also help you deal with your anxiety because you won’t be putting as much pressure on yourself anymore.
Check out my list of tips to relieve stress when you feel under pressure and anxious. There are also some great websites such as to get further information.
Katie x

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