The return of Spring doesn’t just agitate your hayfever symptoms, it can also churn up a lot of feelings about gambling. It can feel like everywhere you turn, people are talking about the Spring Carnival. For some people, it’s an essential part of the Australian social calendar, but for others, it can be a confusing and alienating time especially if gambling has been a problem in the past or is a current issue. Whether you’ve already decided to change or you’re just starting to think about it, here’s some info to help you get through the season.
Take a self-assessment
The constant exposure to gambling advertisements and activities might be causing you to wonder if your gambling feelings and behaviours are ‘normal’. We offer a 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. This quiz will help you decide if you need to take a break from gambling this Spring Carnival time.
Try not to compare yourself to other people
You might have some friends who can gamble casually and have no problem knowing their limits, while you find it hard to stop when you know you should. That doesn’t mean they’re better than you. You’re just different — you might be more sensitive to the negative aspects of gambling than they are.
Think of it like an allergy: you might be able to eat a whole jar of peanut butter in one sitting with no problems, while your friend can find themselves coming out in hives if there are a few peanuts in their curry. Another friend might find that the smallest molecule of peanut dust sends them gasping and scrambling for their EpiPen. We all have different intolerances in life that we have to manage and protect ourselves against.
Just like taking an antihistamine to ease your allergy symptoms, there are steps you can take to help yourself deal with your ‘intolerance’ to gambling. Different people respond to different approaches, so get in touch with us to have a chat about what might work for you.
One simple step you might take is to self-exclude yourself from gambling venues or online gambling sites. Self-exclusion is a voluntary process where you can register 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.
Take your mind off it
It might feel like the Spring Carnival is the only thing happening right now, but it’s easy to forget that there is still so much going on that has nothing to do with the races! Check out these great events happening around the country:
- Melbourne International Dumpling Festival brings the best dumplings from around the world to Queen Vic Market on November 4, including xiao long bao, pierogis, gyoza, manti and many more!
- Game Masters: The Exhibition turns the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra into Australia’s biggest video game arcade with the world’s greatest designers, characters and 80 playable games. This is a family-friendly event appropriate for people of all ages.
- The Australia Independent Film Festival brings the best independent shorts from all over the world to Brisbane from November 1 to 3.
- Mavis’ Kitchen on Mount Warning celebrates Dia de Los Muertos with Mexican food and drinks, sugar skulls, art installations and live music. This colourful Mexican festival celebrates the life and death of our loved ones who have passed.
- Terrify yourself with Halloscream VII, Luna Park Sydney’s 5-night event with ‘unlimited rides and endless scares’. 14+ only.
Remember: You’re not alone
A lot of people find this time of year hard. You’re probably not the only person you know who would rather skip all of the fuss about the racing industry. Some people don’t want to gamble, some people are worried about the treatment of the animals, and some people just find the whole thing boring! Choose a friend and invite them to one of the other million events that are going on around the country, 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. Take advantage of the good weather and the longer days to take steps towards the changes you want to see in your life.