Superbowl weekend in Minneapolis and Anxiety
by, Lisa Herman, PsyD, LP
It’s the most anticipated winter weekend besides the Olympics…it’s the Superbowl! AND the best (or worst) part for many Minnesotans is that it is being held right in our downtown area of Minneapolis.
Suddenly, all the celebrities, sports fanatics, and other high profile stars are flocking to our turf (and yes, pun intended). While this might seem like a dream come true to all non-Viking Minnesota fans, for many, the weekend and the Superbowl day has brought mixed emotions including:
Why you ask?
- For Vikings fans, the loss of a chance to play in the Superbowl in their hometown was devastating. So many fans were physically ill after the loss, couldn’t get out of bed to go to work or school the morning after, and are still suffering from that awful feeling of being let down, again, by an opportunity missed.
- It’s crowded. Everyone and their mother, literally, is here in Mpls. For businesses this is ideal, money is made, tv anchors are here, and celebrities strut their stuff on our streets. But for those suffering from anxiety including panic, the thought of visiting all of the downtown extravaganza events can be even more intimidating and debilitating than typical.
- Security is high. Being in the city where the biggest sporting event occurs increases the watch dogs for potential terror attacks. Paranoia is up for many who already have anxiety and this can cause increased distress, avoidance of activities that they might have enjoyed doing (with less people all – over – the – place) and an overall feeling of unease.
- It’s cold. This can make anyone angry. Minnesotans who know how to dress don’t really care. Don’t drink and go without gloves for too long outdoors. Alcohol lessens your judgement and physical feeling. Make sure to be with friends and don’t drive. It could be a terrible ending to poor choices.
The Superbowl can bring feelings of Anger, Sadness, and Anxiety
So, what do we do about this? How do we tame our anxiety, sadness, and/or anger about having the Superbowl here?
- Focus on what’s awesome! You don’t have to participate in the events to realize that having the Superbowl in our home town increases awareness of how awesome our town is. 15 minutes of fame is occurring for our lovely city.
- Do what you can to enjoy whatever part of the weekend that feels fun and comfortable for you. Be with family or friends, go to a movie instead (because nobody will be there on Sunday night!) or enjoy some good nachos or chili.
- Engage your anxiety – do what makes you anxious while engaging in some deep breathing or other coping skills to help retrain your brain to learn that crowds and big events are not life threatening and don’t need your fight/flight system triggered.
- Know that it is just for one weekend and then it’s over. Whatever the reason for your sadness, increased anxiety or anger, know that there is an end to the football season and life will resume as usual. And then it’ll start all over next fall.
- What is important is health, family, friends, and happiness.