The loss of a year of athletic seasons and continued uncertainty of the Spring season due to the global pandemic has created further impact on your life and wellbeing as a student-athlete at Emerson. This may have been your freshman year, your last season or a season that you were really excited about. You may sense a loss of memories with teammates and coaches and hard-fought wins on the field, track, or court. You may be missing the adversity you thought you might face and grieving the records you’ve dreamed of setting. Or you may miss using your sport as an outlet for your daily stresses. You have lost a sport that you love, a sport that brought you community and connection and a sport that has been a significant part of who you are.
Remember that you are not alone. For many of you not being able to play your beloved sport is an abrupt and painful loss. Since the onset of the pandemic most student athletes have experienced mental distress. Whether related to the loss of their seasons, anxiety and fear due to COVID-19 or isolation, many student athletes are facing challenges right now.
Honor your feelings. Some of you may feel angry, disappointed, sad or shocked. Others may feel numb, heartbroken or upset. You may have feelings that are completely different then your friends and teammates and please know that this is okay. Grief is not linear and is experienced differently by each of us. A range of feelings and emotions is completely normal while grieving loss. Below is a graphic that outlines stages of grief, which may relate to different feelings you may have or will experience:
Here are some ways to cope with the loss of your athletic season:
Reach out to teammates and coaches. You may not be able to practice and compete like you were able to, but you can still stay connected to your team. Reach out to your team members and find ways to stay connected to them. As teammates, you are able to support each other during this difficult time.
Create a daily routine. Most of you may have expected your schedules to be filled with class, practice, workouts and games. If you are used to a more structured schedule and your schedule has changed, you may have to revisit your daily routine. Use your extra time to explore new or existing hobbies, engage in self-care or workout. Create a routine that takes in the account your priorities, the rest and self-care you need and moments of joy.
Reach out for help. You may be experiencing anxiety, depression, insomnia and/or loss of appetite or you may be having challenges understanding your identity without a sport that is such an important part of your life. These are all common sentiments while grieving. If you need additional support, reach out to the Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) to speak with a therapist. ECAPS will also be holding a workshop series for student athletes this Spring with sessions in February, March, and April. This will be an open dialogue with a former student-athlete and mental health professional to discuss feelings and receive support. The first session of the workshop series will take place on February 1st at 4PM. Follow this link to sign up!