DIRECT APPROACH Lianne McManamon admits the limits on social interaction due to lockdown is tough on everyone.
Name: Lianne McManamon
Occupation: Health Promotion Officer, Mayo Mental Health Association
My day usually begins just before 8am when the alarm clock sounds. Hopefully, I’ve had a good night’s sleep and I’m set for the day. I love mornings and the time I have to myself before work. When I was younger and living at home, Mam would have to pull me out of the bed and I’d be always rushing around the place, but that’s all changed now and getting up early is well worth it.
As regards breakfast, there’s nothing dramatic. Porridge and berries have been my go-to fuel for the past few years. At weekends I might go mad and have eggs, because that’s what my grandparents fed us when we stayed over as kids and it brings back great memories.
I’m at work for nine every morning. The office is just around the corner from my house, but I’m working from home now, so the commute is even shorter than usual!
I truly love my job – promoting positive mental health is really enjoyable, but it’s a very busy job and I can honestly say that no two days are the same. We have numerous projects running all the time and there’s always someone to talk to or something to arrange. I also try to keep our social media relevant and that’s forever changing. Of course, there’s often a number of fundraisers happening as well and there’s work to be done in that regard.
Throw in the fact that we would normally be out meeting schools, community groups or sports clubs and one gets some idea of a regular day in the Mayo Mental Health Association.
Sadly, that type of social interaction is off limits for the moment and I miss that so much. I miss getting in the car and going to meet new people, but the things I miss most of all are hugs. I’m a hugger and not being able to do so is such a change.
These days, I’m in front of the laptop here in the house with only emails, phone calls and Zoom meetings for company, which took a bit of getting used to, but days are still very busy. I’m very lucky to be in a position to work from home, but being surrounded by the same four walls can be challenging at times so I make sure to get up and stretch the legs every hour. I also try to get a walk or two in throughout the day which keeps me ticking over.
Prior to Lockdown, I always went home for lunch anyway, so the current restrictions don’t have an effect in that regard. I like making and eating my own food and having some down-time in the middle of the day is good before getting back to work.
Going with the flow
Similar to the morning, anything can pop up in the afternoon, so you just have to go with the flow. I’d be fairly organised and keep emails in various folders so I know where to find them. Niall (Dunne, head of the MMH) and the others in the office often tease me about this, but it’s just the way I am.
After work I love making dinner and always try to have something substantial. Mam always had good dinners for us growing up and it’s a good habit to get into.
I try to go for a run most evenings and just love being out there on my own with my thoughts. I don’t enjoy running with others and I’ve often being called a ‘lone wolf’ because of this, but I love the headspace it gives me. My sister Katie was home from Canada recently and the two of us and (our other sister) Lisa went for a few runs. It was nice, but I love running on my own.
Mam and Dad made sure that we were a very sporty family growing up and that has stood to us. Basketball was my first love and then Gaelic, while I’ve always enjoyed running. We had been in the Athletic Club as kids, so five or six years ago I started running again. I started off running from post to post and walking a bit and if I tried to run a lap around Lough Lannagh I’d be dust, so I gradually built it up.
Of course with lockdown in place, evenings aren’t madly exciting but I like to relax watching Netflix or reading – just regular things. Then, most nights before bed, I try to journal. I try to put down what happened that day – the positives, the gratitudes and what I can improve on. I’ve been doing it for a while now and really enjoy it. It helps set short-term goals and in a way I suppose it might make interesting reading for me in the future.
In conversation with Michael Gallagher
If money was no object what would you do?
Travel and help out communities in Ireland and worldwide who would need the money more than I did. I love travelling, so I’d kill two birds with the one stone.
Tell us something about you we don’t know?
I hate making phone calls. I much rather meeting people face to face.
Favourite place in the world?
The beach – any beach anywhere.
What makes you angry?
People not following through on their word.
Who are your heroes?
Nanny Gavin and Granda Mac. Nanny is an absolute trooper. She has been through so much heartbreak in her life, but just keeps powering on. Granda is 100 years-old and is so positive. If everyone had his perspective on life, the world would be a much better place
What do you miss most about being a kid?
The beauty of imagination. When we were younger we’d spend great times in Skridagh with the rest of our cousins and we’d have the best craic. One of the games we played was ‘Big Brother.’ There’s a bridge there and the older cousins would be on the top of the bridge and they’d be Davina McCall and the production team. The younger cousins would under the bridge and that would be ‘the house.’ We had some craic.
Most prized possession?
My physical and mental health.
Describe yourself in three words
Tall, kind and cringey.
What makes you nervous?
Favourite TV show?
Best advice you’ve received?
Always be yourself and value your own integrity.
How do you unwind?
Running, music and journaling.