How to Balance Pageant Prep and Daily Life

“Sorry, I can’t. It’s pageant season.”

How many of you have used that excuse before, either for going out for ice cream with your friends, going to a party or concert, or even missing out on an event because it’s a pageant weekend?

For many contestants, the year is divided into pageant seasons. There’s local season, where they are trying to earn a local title. Then suddenly it’s time to bump up the preparation for the state pageant. Then it’s state season as states across the country are holding their pageants. And before you know it, its local season again. The only time you might actually be “stress free” is a short window between the state pageant, before the local season officially begins.

But you’re never truly stress free. Use these tips to help balance life while you’re preparing, competing, or balancing a bust titleholder schedule.

Organize your Time- Get a Planner!

Service events, rehearsals, mock interviews, dress fittings, voice lessons, workshops… the list goes on. Contestants are expected to manage their time, and after the crown lands on your head those expectations only go up. You can’t rely on your phone’s calendar or worse, your parents, to manage your time.

Buy a paper bound planner and use it to manage your time. You can decorate it with glitter and stickers, and even motivational quotes. Color Code different obligations based on deadline or event. A planner will help you organize your time, keep track of events, and prevent double booking. Make sure to include personal time too! Block off family time, class time, and time for eating and sleeping. We know you’re busy, but you need to take care of yourself first.

Get Your Beauty Sleep- it’s a real thing!

Just because pageantry is no longer a “beauty contest” doesn’t mean you don’t want to look your best. Going to an event with bags under your eyes is not the way to go. A lot of girls think that a stop at Dunkin or a glitter mug filled to the brim with a red eye brew will keep you refreshed. But in fact, nothing – not concealer, not caffeine, can make up for a good night’s rest. Sleep not only improves your physical appearance, but can boost memory, increase metabolism, and improve cognition and functionality. All of this is necessary to be an effective titleholder, and hold a balanced schedule.

Remember to Eat- Eat Often, but Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is so important, during pageant season and during the off-season. With all the fad diets out there, it’s easy to put yourself on a strict diet. Even without a diet, you might find there’s “no time to eat healthy”. It might seem so much easier to stop at Taco Bell on the way home from a busy night than to go home and cook. But this is not the case, and a busy schedule should never come in the way of eating healthy.

Food is fuel, and keeps you going. When your sugar drops, so does your ability to function properly. Junk food not only doesn’t provide fuel or nutrients, but could actually impact you worse than not eating at all, and leave you bloated and sluggish.

Instead of turning down sweets or snacks at events, letting your sugar drop, then impulse buying fast food on the way home or binging on cereal when you get home, be prepared for busy days. Pre-package healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, pretzels, or nuts and keep them in your bag. Similarly, you can plan out dinner meals at the beginning of the week. Just pop them in the oven or microwave when you get home after a busy day, and enjoy.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No!

Someone famous once said “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything,” or something along those lines. Point being, it is completely the truth. You may feel like you are required to attend every event you are invited to, go to the gym and pilates classes and a run at night, and still go to class or work. Even if you’re keeping track in your planner it is easy to put too much on your plate.

Don’t be afraid to tell someone no. Ask if there is another time for you to come in and speak. Add a little more time blocked off for personal time and sleep. Feel free to limit your extracurriculars to weekends only. Limit fitness sessions to 1 hour blocks.  Schedule recreation time, like a spa day with friends or a walk in the park. Take a friend with you, and enjoy every minute of it.

Just Keep Swimming… er, Don’t Give Up. 
Swimming is great resistance training for Lifestyle & Fitness, but that isn’t going to help you balance your time. It is important that when push comes to shove and you feel overwhelmed, overworked, and wish there were more hours in the day- don’t give up. It’s easy to feel like there isn’t enough time to do everything, and maybe that is the case. Sometimes our planners need to be reevaluated.

The most important thing is that you don’t stop going. Don’t throw in the hat and retreat from your social responsibility.

Pageant season puts a lot on your plate, and time management is important. Use these tools to help balance your time and social life, and keep your pageant prep on schedule. A good plan is essential on the Road to Miss America!

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