25 Oct 21

You don’t need to step out of lockdown straight into the Spring Carnival. Here are some ideas on what to do instead.

Man celebrates Diwali with sparklers | Photo by Kirstell Pauldoss on Unsplash

While we’re obviously excited for the end of lockdown and a return to more ‘normal’ life in our major cities, many of us have mixed feelings about gaining our freedom against the backdrop of the Spring Carnival. Especially if you’ve managed to refrain from gambling through lockdown or have only just realised you’re happier without access to gambling, this could be a confusing and alienating time as you try to navigate a return to normalcy without falling back on activities that caused you stress in the past.

If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Here are some ideas to help you get through the season.

1. Take a self-assessment

Constant exposure to gambling advertisements and activities might be causing you to wonder if your gambling feelings and behaviours are ‘normal’. Check out our self-assessment quiz that will help you understand where you’re at and what steps you can take if you think you might need to make some changes.

2. Sign up for self-exclusion

Support your willpower by signing up to exclude yourself from gambling venues or online gambling sites. Self-exclusion involves voluntarily registering to be temporarily blocked from visiting or using a venue or service. All Australian registered gambling providers are required to offer self-exclusion. You can also install apps or software to block international services or online ads. Learn more about how to sign up for self-exclusion.

Your bank may also be able to add additional protection by blocking gambling transactions on your cards.

3. Avoid your triggers

The advertising is all over tv and social media, so maybe it’s time to take a break from them — you might want to put your devices away altogether, or stick to ad-free services like Netflix and Stan until the spring season is over. Check out our tips to keep gambling out of your face.

4. Keep yourself busy

The Spring Carnival takes up a lot of oxygen at this time of year, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing happening right now! Local communities and businesses are working hard to recover, bringing lots of opportunities to pass the time!

  • Immerse yourself in the works of Vincent Van Gogh with this multi-sensory sound and light show, The Lume, Melbourne from 5 November.
  • The Sydney Film Festival is bringing exciting international cinema to the city from 3 to 14 November
  • Head to Capalaba for Dogfest on 14 November! Dogs and doglovers will gather to celebrate everything canine with dog shows, giveaways, and probably (if we know dogs) some unexpected chaos.
  • Join your local Diwali festivities! Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, “a celebration of good winning over evil; it is a symbol of hope, renewed friendships, religious tolerance, peace, harmony, and the joys of life”! Support your local Hindu community by joining in the celebrations, which include lighting oil lamps, dancing and great food! There are events throughout Australia including the largest event in Sydney, the Deepavali festival, and an online event streamed from Melbourne, the Victorian Festival of Diwali! Check out your local newspapers, Facebook groups and South Asian restaurants to find out what’s happening near you.
  • Scare your pants off with Dance of the Dead parties in Sydney, Brisbane, and Fremantle! Celebrate Halloween with dancing and creepy costumes.
  • Get started on your Christmas shopping. Retailers are expecting stock shortages this year, so it’s a good idea to get in early, especially with the postal delays we are experiencing right now! Check out Buy from the Bush to support rural Australian businesses.

Check out this list to find an event in your area

5. Reach out

A lot of people find this time of year hard, and a lot of people are struggling with readapting to life after lockdown. You’re probably not the only person you know who is going through a hard time right now. Choose a friend and invite them to visit a local café, have a picnic in the park, or reach out and connect with people who understand what you’re going through on the Gambling Help Online Peer Support Forums.

Spring doesn’t have to be all about the carnival, and you don’t have to go back to gambling post-lockdown if it made you unhappy. Take advantage of the good weather and the longer days to take steps towards the changes you want to see in your life.

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