5 Steps to Help Cope With a Busted Bracket

by Krystal Smith, Red Cross North Texas, Regional Digital Communications Specialist

If you’re like most of us, your March Madness bracket may look like a complete disaster!

During any disaster people’s reactions appear in different ways, not only in the way someone feels, but in the way they think and what they think about; their sleeping habits, how they go about daily living; and the way they interact and get along with others. This is why the Red Cross has teams of Disaster Mental Health Specialists to help people cope and recover from the loss and trama.

To help you cope, we’ve taken our best post-disaster emotional wellness tips that we provide to disaster victims throughout the year and tailored them to help you through your tragic busted bracket.

Like other disasters, a busted March Madness bracket may leave you experiencing many different emotions like fear, anger, confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness and grief. It’s important to recognize these are all normal feelings after this type of event.

Busted Bracket_edited

Here are a few steps to help cope with such a loss:

  1. Limit exposure to replays. Stay informed, but limit exposure to media coverage of the events. No matter how many times you watch it…it won’t change the results, only upset you more.

  2. Remember the recovery process from March Madness or any disaster is a marathon not a sprint. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest. There are more games to be played. Try playing CBS’s Round-by-Round to redeem yourself.

  3. Avoid blaming yourself or others. You couldn’t have known your team was going to choke. Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety. Just remember, sometimes people or teams have an off day.



  4. Keep in mind you are not in this alone. Thousands of brackets are busted, thousands of fans upset and tons of hearts broken, but you will all survive. Stay connected with your family and other support systems. Reach out and accept help from others in learning to make better picks.

  5. Don’t forget the kiddos. Children’s emotions may be affected too. Encourage children to express their feelings and thoughts away from cameras. Reassure them about their safety and the strength of their team for next season.giphy (4)

If all becomes too much, reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

Sign-up to volunteer to help others during disasters like home fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and more by registering at redcross.org/volunteer.