Sport | Columnists
Sean Van Staden
Throughout history the world has gone through turmoil. Humans have had to endure world wars, natural disasters, political instability, genocide or even the Spanish pandemic flu in 1918 which was estimated in killing 20 to 50 million people and affected close to 500 million people.
Countries have to protect themselves, hence the drastic lockdown measures in place because there are simply not enough beds, ventilators or doctors available to deal with a mass of patient and fatalities.
Every person that is forced to stay home during lockdown is going through some form of internal stress, anxiety and even depression. If the situation worsens, we can expect these feeling to hit new levels.
As a parent, don’t ignore or push aside some of the emotions your children are going through during this time because they too might be feeling the same.
A good portion of our athletes were scheduled to participate in overseas tournaments, attending trials abroad and competing in prestigious age specific and exclusive tournaments.
For some athletes this might have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
On the bigger scale of things, sure, an overseas scouting trip is not as big as one’s health or putting food on the table.
But remember, at your child’s age, that might be the biggest thing in their eyes which means they can go through the five stages of grief just the same as you potentially losing your job.
Look out for these signs and if you feel you or your child needs help, reach out to a counsellor or psychologist to help with the transition back to positive actions.
First Stage – Denial
You are in shock and don’t believe this is happening to you and carry on like nothing has happened. You try to convince yourself it is not as bad or the situation will miraculous just sort itself out.
Second Stage – Anger
During this stage you will find yourself angry with the person that fired you, angry at the situation you find yourself in and even angry at yourself for not seeing this coming or not preparing for the worst. You may at this time feel that you will not get another opportunity like this again, anytime soon.
Third Stage – Bargaining
At this point you will often bargain with God and promise to be a better person or promise to do more or change. Bargaining happens to try and see if what was lost can be returned. This could mean telling your employer that put you in retrenchment that you will work twice as hard for half the pay.
Fourth Stage – Depression
At this stage you can find yourself not eating or sleeping properly and may have sudden unexplained aches and pains all over your body. The mental stress can manifest into the physical and even leaving you feeling tired and exhausted. This is a very difficult time and you may feel like the world is conspiring against you and that there is no way out of the dark tunnel.
Fifth Stage – Acceptance
According to Dr Kubler-Ross this is the last stage of grief. You come to terms with the loss of losing your job, loss of the opportunity to go on trials overseas. You are done with bargaining since you realised this proved to be a fruitless exercise. You are now ready to move forward with rebuilding your life and committed to working hard again for the next opportunity. You might still feel sad and angry at this stage, but you have accepted “what is, shall be”, and there is nothing you can do, but to move on.
I have related this article to people taking serious financial strain during this time and for athletes missing out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Both seem like massive setbacks in the eyes of the beholder but one thing you need to keep on mind.
No matter how difficult the current situation is, there will always be more opportunities.
It’s all about your attitude and your drive to keep moving forward. When time are tough, put in the gum guard, head down and do what it takes to get back on track and be better.
Sean van Staden is a sport scientist. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanVStaden or visit advancedsp.co.za.
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