(CNN) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the US, the future of school sports and other extracurricular activities is uncertain.
This week, the Big 10 and PAC-12 conferences announced putting off sports until the spring.
From tailgates to touchdowns, musicians and marching, in high school and college — activities and sports can become part of a person’s identity.
“So if something like COVID comes along it sweeps or takes that away, it can feel kind of jarring,” said sports psychologist Jamie Houle.
Houle, a sports psychologist with Ohio state university Wexner Medical Center says struggling students should focus on three things:
First — stay connected.
“It could look like Zoom calls, it could look like Facetiming, it could look like texting or Snapchat that kind of thing, but just try to stay connected.”
Second — stick to a routine.
“If we can try to maintain that as much as possible, that’s going to help with a sense of normalcy,” said Houle.
Finally — be mindful. Pay attention to the things you can control.
“We encourage them to catch that thought and bring it back to the present moment,” said Houle. “What am I doing right now? What activity am I working on, or who am I talking to.”
While times are hard, this can make students even stronger.
“Hopefully we look back on this time as the time that folks were able to build that really tough skin where they can go through really hard things and still keep moving forward.”
If a student is noticing significant changes in sleep, appetite or general anxiousness, reach out to a counselor for help.