Invaluable advice from Gary Bloom

Gary Bloom is a leading psychotherapist working with Oxford United football club, a journalist and host of the award-winning therapy show ‘On the sporting couch’ on talkSPORT.

Gary took to social media this week to support freelancers and is also working with the Football Writers’ Association to pass on his advice to our industry and especially freelancers facing worrying times.

Below are his absolute key pieces of advice.  Please, please follow these top four religiously. 

1 DON’T PANIC! Easy to say but essential. The part of this brain which brings in the panic can guide your day, you need to take control of this and the below strategies will help.

2 TALK, via phone, via facetime whichever way. Vocally talking through your problems directly links to your brain and well being. It’s incredibly DANGEROUS not to talk to people and air your concerns.

3 LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH and well-being. Movement, diet, routine, staying hydrated, engaging with friends are all invaluable.

4 REMEMBER you are talented and good at what you do. You work in one of the most competitive industries. Congratulations! You are at the top of your game and this means your skills are TRANSFERABLE. There will be a lot of news to cover in the coming months. You are writers, broadcasters and journalists and you are not limited to writing solely about sport.

Please all read over the below points.

Important! If you are feeling severe depression or anxiety and fear the worst please contact the Calm helpline 0800 58 58 58 immediately or carriebrowninbox@gmail.com and I will direct you to Gary who has kindly offered his support.

1.Don’t panic. There’s an area of the brain (Limbic) that’s sounding alarm bells right now. Take a deep breath, get a notepad and think.

2. Live events have been cancelled and you can forget about them for the time being. But magazines and radio/TV stations and papers are going to have a lot of spare copy to fill. That is an opportunity for you.

3. Sport isn’t the only thing you know about. If you can write/take photos/broadcast on sport, what else could you write about/take photos of?

4 Talk to loved ones about your fears. They will diminish. Try find a counsellor near you. I’d recommend the counselling directory website.

5. Speak to your commissioning producer. He or she may know of other opportunities inside the organisation.

6. Look after yourself. Good diet, regular exercise and good sleep will go along way to reduce anxiety.

7. Use this period to review the quality of your work. Get a colleague to critique your work. Learn more about yourself and how you work. In psychotherapy this is supervision

8. Remember this is temporary. Look back at this period and say ‘actually it’s allowed me to visit parents/friends/love ones/improve the house or garden’ Do something!

9. Freelance journalists have to be bloody good or they go hungry. Remember you’re bloody good. Be in the psychological challenger state (let’s go) rather than the threat state (this is going to be awful)

Good luck and stay well


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