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Hi! We’re Natalie and Sara from the Canadian Women’s National Field Hockey Team. COVID-19 has dramatically changed our everyday lives. As we try to establish a new ‘normal,’ we find ourselves mourning the loss of how things used to be. In talking to each other, we realized we were not alone in feeling this way. Whether it is sport, school, work, or social interaction… everyone has experienced the loss of something they love.

However, along with loss we also discovered opportunity. We are able to do so many things that we rarely have time to do, to explore other areas of our lives that so often take a back seat to sport. While we missed our teammates, we are able to reconnect with friends and loved ones who we rarely find time to speak to. We are able to slow down, meditate, relax outdoors, and enjoy our coffee a little bit more in the morning. We are also able to spend more quality time with the people in our ‘bubbles.’ In the end, most of these opportunities became pretty good coping mechanisms for the sense of loss and the emotions that we experienced as a result.

For us, coping with loss meant:

1. A change in routine No commitments and ‘what do we do now?’

As high performance athletes, we lead scheduled and busy lives. Between training, commuting, and trying to fit in school/work/friends… things are busy! Suddenly we had very little to do. This was a big change that came with emotions including anxiety, boredom, and a lack of motivation.

HOW TO COPE

  • Get outside – Take advantage of the weather while you can!
    • Meet for a picnic in the park
    • Try a new hike or go for a walk
    • Spend the day at the beach or lake
    • Go for a bike ride
    • Plan a local camping/road trip – now is an awesome time to check out all that BC has to offer (Plus a change in scenery can be very refreshing)
  • Create your own schedule!
    • We have found this particularly helpful to give structure to our day. The future is uncertain and at times that can seem very overwhelming. Simply focusing on each day and what you can control can help in a big way.

2. Loss of social connectionWe missed our teammates! 

The people we see every day at work or school are often some of our closest friends. For us, we see our teammates almost daily – whether it is catching up before or after training, having a laugh in between drills, or getting a coffee/a meal after training. Suddenly that interaction was gone. For those of us who live alone, this was an even bigger change.

HOW TO COPE

  • Find alternate ways to connect with friends and family
    • FaceTime a friend/family member – or send a quick text!
    • Online dance class/workout – there are some fun videos on YouTube or Tiktok!
    • Online video games night – Virtual trivia is always fun!
    • Online activity session – paint or bake something together
    • Online club – book club, coffee club with weekly meetings
    • Send an old school letter to someone in the mail.  New to letter writing? If you aren’t sure how to address envelopes, see this tutorial here.

3. Loss of identity and purpose – Who am I, and what am I doing with my days?

As national team athletes, our sport has been ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’ for most of our lives. Not having that sense of identity and purpose has been extremely difficult, and has come with feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. This includes not knowing when we will play an international match again. At times, it can feel as though we are not accomplishing anything, and are not towards our goals.

HOW TO COPE

  • Meditate / Journal
    • Take this time to slow down and realize what is important to you
      • Ask yourself – When I’m happy and feeling my best:
        • What am I doing?
        • Who am I with?
      • Think about what you want to accomplish during and after COVID
        • Set goals – write them down!
      • Make a bucket list – see how many things you can tick off!
  • Do all the little things that you always put off 

While the future is uncertain, we urge you to identify the positives – to see the opportunities alongside the challenges. We encourage you to plan out your days and set goals for what you hope to accomplish. Remember that YOU create your own routine, YOU decide how you spend your time, and YOU make the choice to try to take control of your emotions. Above all, remember to be kind to yourself and others during this difficult time. Whatever you are feeling – you are not alone!

 

If you need to talk to someone, there are free, confidential services available for you:

  • Foundry Virtual – Foundry is now offering virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat to young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers.
  • Find a Foundry centre in your community.
  • Find other support options on our Get Support page.

 

Find out more about Foundry.

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