How Team White Dogs Stayed Motivated During COVID-19

26 Aug 2020

By The Wild Women On Top Coastrek Team in partnership with Beyond Blue

2020 has really thrown us some curveballs, hasn't it?

This year will test our resilience and our toughness, perhaps more than ever.

During these uncertain times, we need connection, community, exercise and nature more than ever.

It’s what Coastrek is all about.

Coastrek looks a little different this year. But we’re still in this together, walking with friends and proudly supporting Beyond Blue.

On Friday September 4, hundreds of women - and a few men - came together across the country to walk for mental health. On Friday October 30, our Victorian Coastrekkers will do the same.

One Coastrek team based in Brisbane have inspired us with their resilience, mental tuffness and teamwork. Celeste, Sarah, Annette, and Kim from Team White Dogs have been walked and fundraised together for months. Together, they've raised over $6,ooo for Beyond Blue! For Team White Dogs, training and raising funds for Beyond Blue has brought them closer together in the age of physical distancing.

Celeste shares how her team has stayed connected, motivated, and well during COVID-19.

What has training for Coastrek during the pandemic done for you and your team’s mental health?

Walking 30km is certainly no easy task, both physically and mentally. The economic and social challenge of COVID-19 brought a whole new dynamic. Missing out on social interactions, being confined to our homes, juggling work commitments and our children’s education, certainly created mental challenges for us all. But, having each other made it easier!

Knowing we had each other to lean on was fantastic, and we sure have! Having the common goal of Coastrek allowed us to take our minds off daily challenges and gave us an opportunity to connect regularly and deeply with each other to motivate, listen and empower. Training, even on our own, gave us time to think, reflect and create the space each of us needed to be whole and be ourselves!  

How have you managed to stay connected during a time of physical distancing?

What better time to embrace all the technology at our fingertips? We stay in touch on WhatsApp, posting training milestones as an opportunity to share achievements for motivation - to keep the momentum up. There are plenty of phone calls when we feel a team member might be going through a tough time.   

When we moved from Stage 4 into Stage 3 lockdown, and our national parks opened again, we really committed! Together we embarked on longer hikes, embracing physical distancing. We stay connected during the week and really look forward to seeing each other on weekends, where we share laughs, life experiences, and support each other through tough situations.

Do you have any tips for others to stay well during this time?

Anyone could feel overwhelmed, anxious and even fearful when the words ‘pandemic’ and ‘social distancing’ are used. While routines have changed, we can apply many things to stay physically and mentally healthy – and fight off stress which can have a significant effect on depression and anxiety.

  1. Begin your day with a sense of purpose.
  2. Get outside. Australia is blessed with an abundance of natural parks and coastlines. Go and enjoy what Mother Nature is giving us.
  3. Eat balanced meals.
  4. Stay connected. Just because you can’t be with friends and family in person, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. Set up time to connect.
  5. Finish your day with one or two thoughts of gratitude.

What was your Event Day experience like?

We embarked on our Coastrek journey with the motto that it is not a competition, it is a challenge.

Our 30km trek was through the Lamington National Park on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, known for its natural rainforests, ancient trees, waterfalls and mountain views. Not only is 30km a fair way to walk, but we wanted to embark on a trail that required us to test our determination and fitness. We wanted to honour our sponsors and family members for their incredible generosity and support during our preparation and the lead-up to Event Day. Most of all, we wanted to show, in a small way, our understanding to many individuals impacted and challenged by mental health on a daily basis.

The walk was difficult. It required us to concentrate each step of the way for 30km and involved lots of mud, water crossings, and elevation gains of over a 1000m. It involved falling down but getting up again. It required absolute trust in each other. But most importantly, it involved love, hope and companionship. We carried each other emotionally when the road became too hard and long, we motivated each other when determination was low, and we loved each other for who we are.

We embarked on a challenge and we finished it with appreciation for the beauty that surrounded us, for the love that we have for each other, and a new found respect for every individual around us that face the challenge of mental health every single day.

For information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing and mental health during isolation, visit Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service website.

If you’re feeling worried or struggling to cope, the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is available any time by calling 1800 512 348 or webchat online.