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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Mental Challenges of Pandemics

Tuesday night on ESPN's SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt I was watching Scott Van Pelt and Michael Phelps talk about how the delay of the Olympics would affect athletes in terms of their mental preparation and even their mental health. And the more I watched, the more I thought this was something that also affects golfers -- and not just about dealing with their games but with their everyday lives as well.

Former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps

Of course it was too soon to find a video of the discussion, so I started looking around the Web to see if I could find something similar that might help those of us struggling to find a 'mental game' for dealing with the challenges this pandemic is throwing at us.

And I found this article on the site that seems to fill the bill.

Just as a quick intro, this is how TELL describes themselves on their mission page:
TELL is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing world-class, effective support and counseling services to Japan’s international community as well as helping to address the country’s growing mental health care needs.
Since Japan was one of the first countries needing to deal with COVID-19, this article seems especially useful.

The article is simply called Coping with a Pandemic. It was written in early March and it covers all the different strategies for dealing with the emotional backlash of a pandemic. The article says
The three primary strategies for coping with the emotional impact of a pandemic are:
  1. Education: Factual information about COVID-19 and current guidelines for prevention.
  2. Preparation: Personal and family readiness.
  3. Understanding common reactions to pandemics.
The first section covers some basic medical facts that you may or may not know.

The second section has some useful tips on how to channel those uncomfortable feelings you and your family may be struggling with.

The third section lets you know how these conflicts may manifest themselves, so you can prepare for them.

Perhaps the most useful section is at the end, simply called How to Build Resilience. It's just some tips on how to head off some of the more common problems before they become too big to handle.

I hope this article can help some of you deal with the problems we're all facing but which will probably get worse before they get better. To use a golf metaphor, I think this article can help us all get a little better at 'taking our game from the range to the course.'

And who among us can't use a little help with that?

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