One week out of 52!! 

One week out of 52!! 

This week was one busy week for me with my volunteering, but as always I loved it.

 

 On Tuesday I finished the Living Well With Arthritis course that I had been delivering for the past 6 weeks in the Connacht Hotel for Arthritis Ireland.


As I explained before on a previous blog,?this  is a self management course for anyone who is living with Arthritis or Fibromyalgia.
It helps to reduce the pain and reclaim your life from Arthritis by demonstrating and providing simple to use day to day tools that will help break the pain and fatigue cycle and also offers positive  tips about exercise, health eating, managing medications, pain distraction techniques and sleep.

It also provides good discussions around how to deal with difficult emotions and depression. As well as offering a good community base for the people who attend. This season we had participates from all over Galway and ages ranged from 25- 65. Its always great to see the transformation of the people over the 6 weeks as you can see their confidence grow and the realisation that their condition doesn’t define them. I really enjoy volunteering for this course as its not only about meeting some great people, for me it always helps put everything into perspective.

 

 This Living Well with Arthritis course is ran in most counties through Arthritis Ireland and can be booked on their website

www.arthritisireland.ie or ring 1890 252 846.

On Thursday then I attended a table quiz which was run by my day jobs sports and social. Every year, they run a table quiz for a different chosen charity and this year’s one was Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin provides excellent healthcare to children from all over Ireland every day. It is also very close to a lot of people for many different reasons and so I knew it would be a good night. Unfortunately my team didn’t win 😢 but I  did learn loads of interesting facts, like who would of thought the Unicorn is Scotland’s National Animal..FACT! (Google it).

 


You can make a donation or fundraise for the children’s hospital by visiting the Charity’s Website at The Children’s Medical & Research Foundation. www.olchc.ie/Donations/#sthash.comyyAn2.dpuf

 

On Friday night I was back at French Vanoli where you can “Buy a Brick” for Cope Galway on their wall of inspiration.  So I donated my money, put on my thinking cap and got painting.

 As you can see I couldn’t help but immortalise my home county on this Galway wall!! 🙂
Cope Galway provide many services in Galway City and county including services for  the homeless men and women, services for women and children experiencing domestic violence, services for older people etc. They do an excellent job and are always looking for new volunteers.

You can get more information on this and Cope Galway on their website www.copegalway.ie

So that was a busy week for me and charities but it was so enjoyable Id highly recommend getting involved in a charity (which ever one is important to you) and either donate your expertise, your money or your time and I promise you, both you and the charity will feel the benefit of it

 

 Stay holistic 🙂

 

Catherine

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‘Living Well with Arthritis’.. The Volunteer!! 

‘Living Well with Arthritis’.. The Volunteer!! 

Some of the most common questions I get from people when I mention that I volunteer for Arthritis Ireland is ‘What do you do for them?’ And thats when I smile and happily inform them that I facilitate a course twice a year called ‘Living Well with Arthritis. I’ve been involved since 2013 and have helped facilitate courses in Ennis, Galway city and county. ( these courses also run in most county’s by other volunteers).

The next questions they generally ask is “Why do I do it?’And then ‘What’s it all about?’.
Well I do it for a number of reasons and one is to give something back to the community.
See, I completed the course when I was first diagnosed with Osteoarthrtitis in 2010 and to say that it was a turning point in my acceptance of my Arthritis is an understatement. I was 30 and was told that I would need to have my hip replaced soon and I didn’t know anyone else (under 60) who had arthritis. If I’m honest I didn’t even know what arthritis really was and what it meant for me or what the future held. I saw an advert in the local paper and the words self management and arthritis jumped out at me and I just signed up.
It was a 6 week course and they were about 12 other people there who looked as nervous as me on that first night… Those people soon become my friends. 🙂


Throughout the evenings we shared stories about pain, fatigue, medications, dealing with emotions, coping with perceptions of the arthritis (both ours and other peoples). We also swapped tips and advice of how to continue enjoying our life’s, how to get a good nights sleep, how to mange flair ups etc..

We chatted about exercise and healthy eating. We gave each other confidence on how to deal with health professionals and manage the medications and the side effects.
During those 6 weeks they was plenty of laughter and a few tears but most importantly friendships were formed and my nerves and woes of the futures was some what replaced with the knowledge that I wasn’t the only young person to have arthritis and that these people accepted and understood me.
That was nearly 6 years ago and me and my arthritis have been through a lot together and I’m happy to say a lot of those events have been shared with those friends I made at the course. Nothing beats a conversation with someone who nods in agreement when you are trying to explain ‘your deep pain inside’ or ‘ fibro fog’ ..

(Sorry non arthritis people, they are something’s you just don’t get) 🙂
So then I trained as a facilitator to help other people with arthritis or fibromyalgia get that acceptance, to have that light bulb moment, to meet other people ‘like them’.


It’s a great course (look it up on http://www.arthritisireland.ie) and it’s for all ages both male and female and I would highly recommend it to anyone that deals with Arthritis. It won’t cure you but it will definitely help you in every other way.
Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x
Ps my new hip is 3 years old now and never been better 🙂

Three months of Massages in 1 Day!! 

Three months of Massages in 1 Day!! 

Have you ever volunteered for something and not really known what to expect?!?!:)
Well last weekend I did exactly that!
My CrossFit box (gym) were sending 2 teams to participate in The Filthy 150 competition -this is one of the biggest team fitness competitions in the country and in its 3rd year was hosting 200 teams (of 4members each) to a 2 day Crossfit competition at the National Basketball arena in Tallaght. I had purchased my spectator ticket weeks before and was all set to scream and shout at my fellow gym members.
That is until about the Thursday before when I saw that they were looking for massage therapists for behind the scenes for post ‘rub downs’. As I’m a avid fan of shouting about the benefits of post fitness massages, I thought it would be great experience for me and also a great way for athletes to see some of the benefits for themselves. Such as pain reduction, improves circulation, increased flexibility and obviously reduces tension and nerves.
I got to the venue for 8am with all the other athletes and volunteers and introduced myself to the other masseur for the day Sasha and we got to work finding a suitable area to set up our massage beds. We settled in the ‘First Aid room’ and with a little help from social media and some ‘filthy150’ hashtags we were in business.


Once the first work out (3 km run) was over, we got our first clients. Which were mainly tight calves, hamstrings and quads. But as the day went on and the work outs got more intense and diverse, we were massaging shoulders, arms, necks and lower backs. ( I blame the wall balls, pull up and Burpees!) 🙂
By midday our sign in sheets were filling up and the athletes were spreading the word back out in the arena where we were situated. A lot of them remarked that the 10/15 minutes with us was all they needed to get them back out and moving again.

 

By this stage we were flat out and we could only guess from the noise outside that the competition was going good too. The one or two times that I did leave for coffee, the floor was hopping. The place was packed and everyone was in such great form. There were 100s of supporters of all ages cheering their gyms on and the many vendors all had queues.

But alas I never stayed out of the room for long, my massages were calling me. I needed and wanted to help as many athletes as I could to continue in the competition. The buzz on the floor was definitely matched in our room. It had become a place for people to let off a different type of ‘steam’ , a place to relax and breathe and for a few minutes get away from the comeptitive edge. Myself and Sasha worked together through the sore muscles and my holistic approach and we aimed to balance mind and body and from the compliments (and repeat athletes) that we were getting it really seemed to work.
After the chest to bar pull ups work out though, it turned into a scene from ‘Rocky’ for a little while with all the bloody calluses on the hands that came through the door looking for help. A job for the actual first aiders. 🙂 the one thing I noticed here is that the guys were worse than the girls when it kept to the sight of the blood!!

Picture this, a 6 foot, 15 stone man walks in with chalky hands in front and elbows up ( as if he is going into surgery) asking if we can put a plaster or two on his hands so that he can go out again for the next work out and then tears rolling down his face when the calluses need to be cut off and there ms blood all over his hands and tshirt. Crossfitters can be funny like that! 😉


We ended the massages around 5pm, after 63 athletics come through our doors and 8 hours of volunteering and I have to say even though I was exhausted, I was delighted that I could be part of such an event and would definitely sign myself up again for next year. Roll on The Flithy150 2016.

Ps. I got to watch the second day of the competition and am so proud of my teams, they came 4th and 18th out of 93 in their category!!

 Stay holistic people!
Catherine x