Lockdown means no sport with an increased risk of mental health issues.  How can you cope?

July 10, 2020

With the lockdown of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire until the 19th of August at the earliest, sport is once again off the table and the impact will be significant for a lot of adolescents and young adults.  The risk of increased mental health problems is real.

David Burt, founder of Sport and Life Training (SALT), works with young adults utilizing the strength of sporting clubs and teams to unearth and then resolve issues such as depression, drug and alcohol dependence etc.  He is very concerned that this lockdown, coming so quickly on the heels of a period of optimism – a belief that we were through the worst – is going to impact hard on people.

What tools can individuals use to get through these challenging times?

  • Look after yourself physically. Set up good daily routines that involve exercise, plenty of sleep and good nutrition
  • Keep connected to your circle of friends, your teammates. By phone, text, social media and video platforms where you can just talk or enjoy shared games.
  • Have two or three close connections where you feel you can honestly discuss how you feel – your frustrations, your disappointment, even your uncertainty over the future.
  • Focus on what’s good in your life. It’s easy to get distracted by everything that’s going on – especially the media interpretation – but keeping a journal where every day you write down three good things that happened that day is a powerful way of re-evaluating what’s happening to you.
  • Focus on next year and next season. What shape will you come back in?  Talk it through with your teammates – set goals, get motivated to come back better and stronger.
  • Keep perspective. This is just one season out of many.  Many sports people lose a season of sport to injury.  A year off can really freshen up your body and feed your desire to excel.
  • Look for other interests and activities. There are lots of free online courses available at the moment – maybe now’s the time to find out more about something that was of interest in the past but you had no time to explore it.
  • Talk about how your feel – express your grief. Then let it go and focus on the good things that you can control.
  • Avoid using alcohol, gambling or other short-term distractions to get you through.
  • If you are struggling, talk to a friend, a coach, a trusted adult. If you don’t want to talk to anyone you know call Lifeline or Beyond Blue but do talk to someone.
  • Everyone in your household is suffering because of this lockdown. It’s important to not be too self-focused and to understand what they are going through and to try and be supportive.

Finally, think about how you will tell your kids in years to come about 2020 and what you had to go through. It will be a great story and you will come out of it better and stronger for having gone through it.

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