Linda Mellerick: In uncertain times it's empowering to focus on what you can control

Lockdown is tougher this time but all we can do is look at the positives
Linda Mellerick: In uncertain times it's empowering to focus on what you can control

We'll be waiting a while before sights like this are seen at sporting venues across Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

THERE is little news on inter-county management changes and panels, with 2021 uncertain as regards league and championship fixtures.

As a manager or coach, it’s not enticing getting involved with new teams knowing your season is going to be so disrupted.

Taking over a squad, getting to know the players, and bringing your views and strategies to the table is time-consuming without the upheaval of a pandemic. Ireland had its first Covid-19 case on February 29, 2020, almost a year ago.

Little did we know how difficult the next year was going to be. The lockdown was a novelty at first and we all rowed the same boat. Not so much this time.

The season is different, too, of course. We all enjoyed the garden last March. 

We’re sick of the walls this January and February. I’m working from home and busy, but I get out every day for a run or a walk, regardless of the conditions. 

It’s an amazing lift. More often than not, I’ll get out twice, as the dogs get sick of the walls, too.

There’s a stretch in the evenings already and it’s great. Things will get easier again. It’s important to be optimistic.

This is a traumatic time, but I’m not going to talk about struggles, only the gains. We have reconnected with family. Board-game sales have risen, as people connect at home. Look at the additional time parents have with newborns.

People have had time to reflect. Some have taken early retirement.

Dr Vivek Murthy, former surgeon general of the US, in his book, Together, is a huge advocate of connecting with others to combat the loneliness of lockdown.

But he reminds us that we need to have a strong connection with ourselves first.

Ironically, he recommends solitude as a way to cope.

“One thing that helps is to spend time with ourselves and to be comfortable with solitude,” Dr Murthy says.

“Solitude and meditation are times when the mind connects the dots with what’s happening in our lives, part of processing the world.

“When we don’t have reflective time for ourselves, we bury a lot of the challenging issues and don’t deal with them. It can detract from our emotional well-being when we don’t spend enough time in solitude.”

Like sports teams, we need to focus on what we can control. 

In the first lockdown, most of us over-indulged in food; in the second, many of us have a strong exercise routine.

The transformation in some people, mentally and physically, is incredible. It’s about taking one day at a time.

We have control over building healthy habits and resilience. When so much of the coronavirus crisis is outside our control, it’s not only essential but empowering, to focus on what we can control.

INSPIRATION

Those of you who have seen the movie Erin Brockovich will know that she is a US legal clerk, consumer advocate, and environmental activist, who, despite her lack of education in the law, was instrumental in building a case against the Pacific Gas & Electric Company of California in 1993, winning millions for her clients.

When interviewed recently for her book, Superman’s Not Coming, she said that ‘stick-to-itiveness’ is a very powerful word. She said her mum taught her that everybody isn’t born with stick-to-itiveness.

We have to develop resilience and perseverance, even if we don’t want to and we’d rather give up.

She says when you get beaten down, you have to learn to pick the ball back up and run 10 yards and get slammed.

You don’t throw the ball down and walk off the field. She continued with her metaphor of the Superbowl.

Be prepared that you could get pushed back five or 10 yards, but, also, when you pick that ball up again, you could rush 30 or 40 yards.

“It’s a process, and it doesn’t happen on the first try. It took the ladies of Hannibal, Missouri, three years to get the ammonia out of their drinking water, but that dogged persistence, that loyalty to your cause, that stick-to-itiveness is a process.

“You’ll have moments when you get pushed back, but you’ll also have moments when you push ahead. And that’s what you need to remember.”

We got this.

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