Providing Healing, Promoting Hope is the theme for Women’s History Month 2022. To honor the women who help us heal when we struggle, who provide hope when we need it most or who inspire us somewhere along the way, Give an Hour is featuring women, mental health and their personal journeys in a blog series this month. Please enjoy the first blog below on how to boost your mind each morning.
As Stephanie Szostak’s acting roles got bigger, so did the pressure. Fear of not being good enough, not fitting in, not pleasing others. All these things began to impact her confidence, performance and well-being. This was the catalyst for her to seek change and address her mental game. For the next few years, she sought guidance and learned new tools, which were great but the challenge became how to take all this newfound wisdom and make it stick long-term.
Enter the concept of the 180 Playbook. Stephanie’s husband came up with this idea to turn the tables (or do a “180”) on their typical morning routines by serving as a reminder of new knowledge and incorporating it into their day by being more intentional about beginning each day on the right foot with 180 seconds (three minutes) of things that really resonate with each of them.
“It’s part of my morning routine and it grounds me,” said Stephanie. “It has made a huge difference in my mindset and my life and helps set the tone for my entire day.” She admits that reviewing her 180 Playbook each morning is her mental prep for the day – before allowing in the external noise of checking texts, emails, social media, etc.
The 180 Playbook
You’re probably wondering, “What is a 180 Playbook and will it help me?” In a nutshell, it’s a collection of important personal and powerful reminders that guide you According to Stephanie, examples might include pictures and reminders of the things for which you’re grateful, the people you love or skills you may be working on in therapy. It could be practices or thoughts that are beneficial to you or messages you come across and think, “I need to remember that! I want to live by that.” Maybe there are images of people who inspire you or quotes and poems. Your 180 Playbook is made up of all the bits and pieces that make up who YOU are and that remind you of how far you’ve come and how you want to “show up” in the world.
Everyone’s mental health journey is a little different and what works for Stephanie may not work for you. And that’s the beauty of the 180 Playbook – it’s personal to you. You have the freedom to create it in whatever way works for you. Have a cell phone? Create an album in your photos to go through each morning. Need something more tangible? Create a folder or scrapbook and start collecting the ideas and lessons that speak to you and help you find your rhythm.
For Stephanie, creating several playbooks for the different areas of her life works well. She keeps them as photo albums in her cell phone and plays them as slideshows set to music.
- The first she refers to as her “mindset” playbook. She watches it every morning with a good cup of coffee.
- The second is a “golf” playbook to help her remind her about thoughts concerning her swing, along with highlights from competitive rounds that give her a confidence boost before she tees up for a new round.
- Another important playbook for Stephanie is her “acting” playbook. She watches this one every day in her trailer and said that over time it helped sharpen and strengthen her ability to focus and quiet down the negative internal chatter.
- Finally, Stephanie recently started accepting public speaking engagements. This is a new venture for her so she turned to YouTube for tips from seasoned speakers. “What we don’t practice, we forget,” she said. So she added helpful takeaways to a new playbook and made it part of her preparation before a big speech.
How to Create Your 180 Playbook
There is no right or wrong way to create a 180 Playbook. If you’re learning and growing, the most important thing to remember is to create a framework that helps you remember and incorporate newfound guidance and wisdom. Your 180 Playbook can evolve with you and be updated as often as you want or need. Have you learned a new skill that will be helpful to you each day? Add it to your playbook! Are you an athlete who needs to get fired up before each performance? Create a playbook with images or clips from your highlights, favorite pep talks or inspiring people! Has a mentor or coach imparted a nugget of wisdom that you’re sure to rely on frequently? Add it to your playbook!
Stephanie stresses that what you include in your 180 Playbook is for your eyes only and no one else’s. You do YOU! The more “YOU” it is, the greater the experience will be and the more you will WANT to come back to it day after day.
An added bonus? Creating a 180 Playbook doesn’t cost you a thing. With a little introspection and a commitment to 180 seconds of self-care every day, you can be well on your way to creating a tool that is sure to have a lasting impact on your mental health. Stephanie acknowledges that individuals respond to different tools and, for her, having a playbook has been the accessory making it possible for her to organize and consolidate all the wisdom and skills in a central location that gives her a daily practice of mental fitness benefiting retention, conditioning, learning and, ultimately, mindset changes.
As one of Give an Hour’s ambassadors, Stephanie is grateful for the opportunity and platform to bring the 180 Playbook to this community, “I hope it really impacts people’s lives in a positive way.”