We’re now over a month into the AFL shutdown. It feels like its dragged on, but with no difference between a Tuesday and a Saturday it also seems to have gone quickly? It’s a strange time.

Even if life is looking a bit different now, it still goes on. I’ve found a few ways to keep busy to keep me sane and feel productive. Physically, I’ve been doing our training program, which is running three times a week and gymming (at home) four times a week. It’s tough getting motivated on occasion, particularly when we’re still not sure exactly when we’ll be back, but I’ve drawn on a couple of lessons from our offseason break to help get through. I find that training with someone else is great to help keep me accountable and motivated to complete the sets. Getting up early to do the sessions also really sets up my day – I get it done first thing and start the day with something productive that I feel good about.

The other physical activity that I’ve been doing is gardening. I never suspected that I’d enjoy it this much but I started poking around in the garden just before the shutdown and the extra time at home has motivated me to get outside and get some projects done. I’ve planted all my flower beds, I’m in the process of clearing out some more planting space and I’ve got a loose idea in the works of making a fire pit as well, so we’ll see how I go with that. It’s just another reason to get outside and be productive, and I get a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction out of it.

On top of this, I’m working with my family business, Willie Creek Pearls, as well as continuing my uni work. For Willie Creek I’m writing content for the website, to try attract customers and even just get people interested in pearls. I’ve written the history of the business and my family’s journey from a wheat farm to a pearl farm and there’s a few other pieces in the works. I have found that just sitting down and getting started on work can be a challenge, it’s much easier to procrastinate. Even writing this is me procrastinating! I have an essay due in a couple of days but I’ve still got plenty of time…

What this stretch has brought into focus for me is the importance of the mental side of the game. I’m watching The Test and The Last Dance at the same time at the moment. The Test is the focus of some of our footy meetings and I’m finding it fascinating looking at their journey from rock bottom to…well I’m four episodes in so I’m not sure exactly where they end up yet. And I’m watching The Last Dance because Jordan’s the G.O.A.T. Watching it, you can’t help but think “this bloke’s just a winner” and it’s because of his mindset, he’s an absolute freak.

So, in this period where there’s restrictions on the physical side of the game with training, it’s a good opportunity to work on the mental side - the concentration within games and staying focused and on task. Adam Cerra’s put me onto Headspace, a mindfulness app that guides you through meditations, so I’ve added that into my routine with a few minutes of footy mental visualisation at the end. I find that it’s a great way just to take stock of the day, and have 10 minutes or so to myself without distractions. It’s not easy, but I’m slowly getting better at it which is great.

So that’s what my shutdown is looking like. Mostly going well, but I have my flat days so trying to stay busy and productive to keep me on track. I’m trying to look on the bright side as much as possible so I’ll leave you with this, at least our government seems to be on the ball and our Prime Minister doesn’t think that injecting disinfectant is a good idea…