Cara Koenen: Why Just Survive When We Can Thrive

As well as being a Sunshine Coast Lightning shooter, Cara Koenen is a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Forensic Science student. In the first of our Player Diaries, Cara opens up about self-isolation and how she’s viewing this time as an opportunity.

COVID19 *insert dramatic music here*. The big bad wolf that huffed and puffed and… is keeping us all inside, I guess.

This is a completely unprecedented time for everyone in our community and I know that I am not the only one feeling a massive amount of stress and uncertainty about what could be around the corner.

For the last few weeks, I’ll be honest, I feel like I have been on an absolute roller coaster. I think initially I may have been in a state of denial; that surely something like this would not – could not – reach Australian shores.

Unfortunately, it all became very real when I was faced with the unsettling prospect that our netball season would have to look a little bit different in 2020. Now, I know that some people will stifle a chuckle at this statement – ‘we are living through a global pandemic, your ability to play sport is the last thing on my mind’. Fair call. Everyone is doing it tough and there are a great deal of people who are in a far worse position than me, I agree. However, as a passionate sporting nation and a country which is home to the best netball league in the world (not to mention a crucial part of my livelihood), I believe my feelings are completely justified.

I do feel like it’s so important to acknowledge these emotions BUT, in uncontrollable circumstances like these, it is also important that we do our best to control what we can. In this case, the controllable factor is our perception of these circumstances. Stay with me on this… Instead of viewing this pandemic as a negative, stressful, inconvenient event, someone told me to try and shift my mindset to view this as an opportunity. So, that’s what I am doing, and I implore you to do the same. I can’t guarantee it’ll all be butterflies and rainbows, but I believe that we shouldn’t just try to ‘survive’ during this time, when we can thrive.

It’s an opportunity to:


Create habits of connecting with the people most important to me; both on a regular basis and through whatever means I can – Zoom, House Party, Facetime, phone call, text, carrier-pigeon etc. I have been, as the kids say these days, ‘sliding into the DM’s’ of some people. No, not to improve my dating life but to genuinely check-in and start conversations about coping with life in partial lockdown.


If I’ve got the free time, I might as well use it to learn something – anything – new. That way I feel like, no matter what happens, I will come out the other side of this experience as a better human. I would suggest looking into online training courses or personal development opportunities. In addition to continuing my university studies, I have also decided to complete my Certificate III in Fitness. Honestly, I am absolutely loving it! An added bonus is that it keeps my brain busy (which has been a blessing during this stressful time).

Inspire your neighbours (or give them something to giggle at) by working out in your driveway.

Hot tip: many websites are offering discounted (or even free!) subscriptions at the moment because of the Coronavirus pandemic. If this isn’t your cup of tea, YouTube has plenty of DIY videos!


Use my imagination to keep life interesting. If I am going to be spending most of my days between my front and back yards with a makeshift gym set up in my garage, I might as well get the creative juices flowing. A little something-something that I have decided to create is, well – this. A personal blog has quickly become my ‘isolation baby’. Another suggestion might be finding some new and innovative ways to exercise. My motto is; if you’ve got a space (living room, bedroom, driveway etc.), and a good playlist/podcast, then you’ve got a gym.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated as I come up with opportunities. I am sure there are more that I am yet to discover. If you have taken nothing from this post thus far, at least know that you are not alone, even if you are technically in isolation.

Until next time,

Cara Koenen

You can read more from Cara Koenen as she continues to blog about her experiences in isolation here.