COVID-19 and Lockdown; Ways of Management and the Next Day

COVID-19 and Lockdown; Ways of Management and the Next Day

Pandemic is a crisis, which affects all people regardless of the field in which they are involved, and therefore in sports. Let’s start by describing the daily reality that we have been experiencing for a year now in Greece as well.

What we live in is an asymmetric threat, an evil that exists within and around us. Persecution anxiety, very archaic and difficult to manage, is mobilized: “People are around me and are chasing me”, as stated by psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and author Mr. Nikos Sideris. The restriction is mandatory, so it creates guilt and we do not thank him as much as we would enjoy isolation and coexistence with loved ones of our choice.

Many conspiracy theories have emerged, a reaction of people who deny reality and deny the obvious; that we have lost our omnipotence as a species. The coronavirus epidemic started in China, spread around the world, and brought about the globalization of emotions, as described by another psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and author, Savvas Savvopoulos.

It is now almost a year since this story began. We have experienced the feeling of unprecedented, fear and anxiety, anger, love, solidarity, and sadness. Now in winter, as every year in the corresponding season, social interaction has decreased, there is exhaustion and despair, sleep problems, a feeling of fatigue in the body, and a general sense of loss of meaning in many of the things we do, for which we no longer there is a clear purpose or perspective. It is difficult for us to imagine the future, the post-covid era, we deny the present and wish that nothing had happened and return to the pre-covid era. This is another defense we use against the loss that overwhelms us.

To all this are added the great losses in lives, jobs, ties, monetary gains. And at the social level, there is an increased social crisis with more and more isolated or even excluded people, distrust of leaders, rejection of vague and contradictory measures, and exhaustion from the constant changes that keep us in a constant standby.

Especially in sports, quarantine, long-term abstinence from games or even training, even empty stadiums have completely deregulated the triptych of operation of all sports: Revenue – Sustainability – Support. The first two factors are influenced by the third: the massive presence of people in the stadiums. Only if there are people on the field, it becomes attractive to investors, beneficiaries (ie athletes young and old, coaches, executives), media, sponsors, advertisers.

So what are the solutions? Let’s list some basic supplies that we can have at our disposal as coaches but also as athletes:

1) Stay in touch: Recognize that we are an important part of others’ lives and maybe one of the few people whom others trust and are willing to talk about their feelings, insecurities, worries, and general mental state.

2) Recognize the extent to which the situation has affected others: Some of our athletes, coaches, co-workers, or co-workers and their families will not feel affected, while others may have been greatly affected by their health, their financial situation, access to food or other essentials in this time of crisis. Also, the coronavirus pandemic can affect other aspects of their lives, such as their motivation for exercising, which may have decreased.

3) Stay available: Based on needs, we provide information on alternative forms of training either at home, online, or outdoors, as well as healthy eating programs. You can also maintain their interest in football by sending for example football knowledge questions that they should explore, read books.

4) We remain neutral and realistic: We keep the pandemic debate in the right dimensions to help others understand and rationalize, to mentally process any injustice or frustration that may arise. Concentration and vigor are key. It is obvious that one very important issue is the readjustment of goals: we may not be able to achieve what we intended before or as we wanted, but we will not tear down what we have built, but, on the contrary, we will maintain and achieve what we can.

5) Practice and establish self-care: Examples of self-care are getting enough sleep, doing our hobbies, eating healthy foods, being physically active, keeping a diary. Give yourself space to acknowledge your feelings about managing this pandemic. Let’s rely on our support network to alleviate stress and difficulties, to share good practices, information resources, and solutions. By doing this systematically, we will help to feel that we have more control and comfort.

The pandemic and quarantine are essentially accelerating developments that would have taken place in the current postmodern era of rapid technological advancement, isolation, and individualism. What is happening to us is sadness from covid-19 and it is normal. If we feel bad for any reason and we can not manage it even with the help of our environment, we can turn to mental health professionals.

So self-knowledge, knowing what we are in and what we can achieve offers us a form of joy, strange as it may sound. We find this by asking ourselves, “What makes me sad?” and seeking the answer.

So, we must renounce nostalgia, prefer and seek communication with others by observing the protection measures, either more sparsely up close or more often through social media.

Vasilis Xernos

Psychologist-Sports Psychologist-Psychotherapist