How to cope with the stress and anxiety of the Euro 2020 final

In just a few short hours, the last match of the UEFA Euro 2020 competition will be kicking off and tensions are already running high.

With this being the first major tournament in which England men’s team have made it to the final in 55 years, it’s no wonder people are feeling the pressure.

Counselling Directory member Graham Johnston tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Watching England at major tournaments is an emotional roller coaster, win or lose.

‘The tournaments come around so infrequently, and our success is so rare, that it’s inevitable that, for many of us, the excitement shifts to nerves and anxiety.’

If your nerves are already feeling shredded waiting for the match to kick off, Graham recommends doing what you can to take your mind off of it in the run-up.

He tells us: ‘Don’t spend the whole day preparing for the match.

‘Get outside, see some friends, talk about something else entirely.’

He adds: ‘Watch the build-up, but notice how you’re feeling while you’re watching.

‘Is your excitement shifting into stress and anxiety?

‘If so, move away for a bit. Do something else, even if that’s going for a walk around the block.’ 

Alternatively, if you’re really struggling to think of anything else but the coming game, you can try channelling your energy into something constructive.

‘Get your England kit on’, he recommends. ‘Make flags with your family.’

During the game, if you feel your anxiety level rising, Graham recommends focusing on some of the details of what’s happening.

‘Breathe,’ he adds.

‘This is the bit I always forget, especially if we’re chasing the game. I’m so involved I forget to even breathe.

‘At a break in play – a throw in, a corner – check in with your body and remind yourself to breathe and relax your shoulders. 

‘Discharge some of that energy during the game.

‘Shout, laugh, move. Sing. At half-time, get out in your garden and away from the stress momentarily.

‘Try to enjoy it. We’ve already broken the semi-final hoodoo.

‘We love this team and this manager. In many ways, we’ve already won.

‘We’ll carry these memories for the rest of our lives, win or lose.’

If we lose, Graham recommends remembering how far the team has come.

He says: ‘We got a team we can love, that lived up to its potential, and they gave us hope and joy and distraction when we most needed it.

‘And give Italy a little inner congratulation as worthy champions (unless they get a dodgy last minute penalty, of course…).’

And if we win?

‘Soak it up,’ says Graham.

‘Try not to collapse into a post-game heap of exhaustion.

‘This might never happen again in your life. Stay up and embrace it – tomorrow can wait.’

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