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World Mental Health Day with Shona McCallin
We are well over halfway through 2020. COVID-19 has well and truly taken over and got its’ grip on the world. Life is not as we know it anymore, and from what we are hearing on the news, it won’t be for a while. Now more than ever, it's time to reflect, adapt and overcome this new way of life.
How have I personally reflected, adapted and overcome the challenges COVID-19 has thrown at me in order to look after my mental and physical wellbeing? I have learned to focus on the important things and adapt my life to make sure I was connecting, accepting, and exercising as much as possible.
With not being able to see people, the enforced lockdown in the UK taught me the importance of physical connections. I missed things I realise now I took for granted. I missed going to a coffee shop with friends and having a chat. I missed seeing teammates and having a laugh. I missed being able to see and hug my Gran. The virtual world is great at keeping people connected but nothing, in my view, beats face-to-face interaction.
I now really make the most of the time I have with my friends and family. I make a conscious effort to put my phone away and properly engage with the people I am with. I’m making the most of being able to have face-to-face contact with people again.
I’ve had to learn and accept that not everything is going to be how I want it to be at the moment. And that's okay. I’m a big planner in life, like to have things in the diary to look forward too and love things to run like clockwork. At the moment this isn’t possible. Even as I write this now, 6 months after the initial UK lockdown, I can’t plan – nobody can. I’ve had to change my mindset and accept that I can only take each week as it comes. I’ve had to accept there’s so much unknown at the moment and be comfortable with not knowing what the future holds.
Something that has always been a big part of my life and always will be. When Tokyo 2020 was postponed, disappointment and relief were 2 strong emotions that ran through me. It felt as though the work that had been put in over the past year has been a waste: the fitness sessions, the hours spent on the pitch, the hours spent watching video, the hours in the gym.
During the height of lockdown, athletes around the world were trying to train at 100% with the prospect of an Olympic Games in a few months. Once Tokyo 2020 was postponed, relief did take over me a bit.
The pressure of having to be in peak mental and physical condition during a worldwide pandemic was tricky. Exercise helped me through this time, and I'm sure it did with a lot of people. Going for a quick 30-minute cycle or walk really helped my mindset and clear my head if needed. I’d often put headphones in and listen to a podcast whilst I was out. My favourites this year are The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Don’t Tell Me The Score. Both very insightful and amazing learning opportunities from the sporting industries very best.
2020 has certainly shifted priorities in life. The goalposts have moved. Life is not as we know it. It's about taking one day at a time. Adapt and overcome. Don't change the goal, change the plan.