Post-World Cup depression is a common psychological condition among many football enthusiasts and athletes, which is used to describe the psychological void experienced by fans following the end of a major tournament.
Feeling frustrated? Irritated? Losing interest in things what used to make you happy? It could be post-World Cup sadness.
The World Cup in Qatar was joyful while it lasted, but after a month of celebrations, Qatar residents are now faced with the overwhelming question of: how do you move on without the World Cup?
Whether you are a football fan or not, for Doha residents the past ten years have primarily revolved around the World Cup.
Many monuments were built for the major event that did not exist before, from the construction of stadiums to Lusail city. Now that the tournament is over, it is hard to imagine life without the 1.4 million fans who flocked to the streets of Doha a few weeks ago.
“Before the World Cup, there were limited things to do in Qatar,” Maryam, a therapist at Hamad Hospital told Doha News.
“This event made people try to go to different shows, concerts, etc. It was not just football. It was fashion shows. It was concerts nearly every single day. Food stalls. Meeting new cultures every day. When that’s taken away from you suddenly, people will obviously react in a sad way,” she said, explaining why post-World Cup sadness is common after major events.
By definition, post-World Cup depression or post-tournament depression is a term that has recently gained popularity, describing the state of mind experienced by fans following the conclusion of the World Cup, which some compare to the feelings of returning to work after a long vacation.
According to experts, some of the symptoms that might occur are similar to mild symptoms of depression, which include moodiness, sadness and laziness, in which one may also find themselves avoiding work and tending to spend all their time at home surfing the internet or avoiding people.
“Post-World Cup depression is not the same as clinical depression, which is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest that can go on for six months and above,” Maryam explained; adding that although post-World Cup sadness might develop into severe depression over time, this is generally a seasonal condition when people are trying to cope and transition after a major event.
If you’re a football fan, you probably developed a routine in which you planned your day around the games. However, now that the World Cup has ended, many people are left with nothing to do or look forward to.
How to cope with post-World Cup depression
According to Trish Bedford, an art-psychotherapist based in Qatar, the first step is to acknowledge that post-World Cup depression is temporary unless you have pre-existing mental health conditions.
“For people who already had mental health issues like anxiety and severe depression before the World began, post-World cup sadness or depression is likely to affect them even more due to different reasons and should seek mental health support,” she explained.
“But if you are feeling sad suddenly because your team lost the World Cup or because you are just struggling to go back to a routine after the end of the tournament, then the process is different,” she said.
When a team you support during a tournament score a goal, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. The routine of watching high-intensity sports over a significant period of time makes your body get used to high dopamine levels, which can make you feel happy and excited.
The imminent boredom that follows the end of the tournament decreases dopamine levels, causing depressing feelings including tiredness, mood swings, lack of motivation to do daily tasks and other common symptoms, Bedford explained.
“I would recommend doing activities that can increase dopamine or make you feel happy, to avoid falling into a huge depressive episode after,” she said.
Some of activities that can increase your dopamine include, but are not limited to:
- Depending on what you like can include: watching movies or going out with friends. This will allow you to have something to look forward to.
- Create meaning in your life by planning and adopting a routine. Start with what you can do within a day, give yourself little treats or rewards after accomplishing something on your plan.
- Journal or write down how you feel.
- Try to relive some of the World Cup moments with your friends and family, depending on what you can tolerate. This includes going through photos and videos you took and creating a memory board, compiled titktok, etc. This allows you to have closure.
- Listen to your body and mind. Do you need need physical rest? If you are tired and exhausted, it is important to be kind to yourself and take the time your need.
Some Mental health resources in Qatar:
- Hamad Medical Corporation is the main provider of mental health care and treatment in Qatar. The Mental Health Service offers a range of services in the community, out-patient departments and in the Psychiatry Hospital.
- 16000 is the free Helpline that is accessed by calling 16000, selecting Arabic or English and then by selecting option 4 for the Mental Health Helpline; all calls are treated in the strictest confidence.
- Check out Doha News’ list of Mental health apps you can use.
- Flourishing Minds Consultants