The Beautiful Game

Hi readers. How are you all doing? I wish you all good mental health. Today, I’m going to talk to you about one of the hobbies I love doing, though because of my anxiety, I don’t do it very often now. I also want to encourage people to take just 5 or 10 minutes out of an hour, ground themselves and recharge their batteries for the upcoming week. It doesn’t matter how long you take, really, as long as you can make some time for yourself.

One of my hobbies is going to watch my local football team with my grandad. I was first introduced to them when I was around 15-16 years old, and I loved it from the first day I went to see them. I was behind the goal, and all the fans were singing and chanting at the away team and their fans, as well as the referee when he made a questionable decision. On the way home after the game, I felt good and relaxed. When I went again, I came away feeling good about myself, even if we lost or drew, but I didn’t really think about it because I was young.

I’ve been going to the football club now for 10+ years, and I still get this feeling of being relaxed, as well as being in a feel good mood afterwards after chanting and singing along with fellow fans. When I met my partner, we were talking about how men go to football matches to release the stress of the past week by having a sing-song and a laugh, and she said that nothing matters to me in those 90 minutes except that feeling of belonging and release. I told her I could relate to what she was saying, and realised that going to the football was my way of grounding myself. If I didn’t go, my anger and anxiety might have built up to the point where I needed another people’s nurse. In my weekly football ritual, I felt safe because I was practicing self-care for my mental health.

Since I had my psychotic episode in 2017-18, I’ve not really gone back to the football club because of my anxiety. I didn’t want to go there and pay money to get in, only to have a massive panic attack and have to come away, because I’d feel stupid that I couldn’t calm myself down. I also didn’t want other people seeing me in that state, so I stayed away. I didn’t feel left out, because I kept an eye on all the social media platforms too see how my team were doing. My aim will be to go back one day, but I won’t go behind the goal because there’s too many people now; I’ll sit in the stand with my grandad and just enjoy the game. I think this is going to be a hard thing for me to do, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take on when I’m in a better place.

I have a question for you: Have you got any hobbies the you can relax with?

Thank you for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog. I wish you all good mental health and remember – take some time for yourself.

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