Coping with loss of sports due to COVID-19 changes

Some sports fans who miss games are experiencing actual grief and bereavement, according to a D.C.-area counselor who offers advice for coping with the loss.

“The lack of sports, not being able to watch sports on the TV or play sports in our communities … has caused a huge loss and certainly some bereavement for our culture and specifically men,” said Erin VanLuven, a licensed clinical social worker with Kaiser Permanente in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

“We have typically coped with the stress of everyday life through gatherings, through getting together with loved ones, or family, or friends — going to the ballpark to watch a game or watching the Stanley Cup Finals that would be on right now,” VanLuven said.

She believes the loss is worth taking seriously.

“Mental health is one of the most important things for us to take seriously,” VanLuven said. “Total health is comprised of mind, body and spirit — they’re all interconnected.”

VanLuven also notes that it’s normal to feel anger or resentment.

“Anger in and of itself is not a bad emotion; it’s just about what you do with it,” VanLuven said.

While you may not be able to go to Nationals Park or Camden Yards to watch live baseball right now, VanLuven recommends exploring alternatives that are available.

You might, for example, watch an old World Series game on TV, play catch or corn hole in the yard with family or games online with friends.

“You can do some of the video gaming and get your competitive edge out that way,” she said.

For additional coping tips, VanLuven said there are apps that help with resilience and well-being.

She also recommends checking resources available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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